This is a topic I don't know much about, so I'm hoping some of you will comment on it with your experiences.
Last spring, artist Rebecca Crowell wrote me, as she says, to share "an idea for any artist who is an expert at using particular products or brands and believes they are worthy products. It seems there is quite a bit that art supply companies are willing to do in return for an endorsement." Rebecca continued:
Recently my work was chosen by the Ampersand company (manufacturers of Gessobord (TM) panels that I use in all of my work) to appear on their brochure (with my website and bio), and also to be promoted as their featured online artist. They are also working on placing an article that I wrote about my process in several supply catalogues including the rather classy Daniel Smith catalogue. I've received payment and promotion as a result.
This happened as a result of my emailing them my website. I told them that all of the paintings pictured were done on their panels–and got a very enthusiastic reply back . . . things went from there.
Also, about a year ago I was asked to do a product demo at an art supply store for a particular brand of paint sticks that I like, and I received payment from the store plus two boxes of very expensive oil sticks provided to me by the company that makes them. The store owner told me that some artists make a regular practice of this kind of thing. Companies that make art supplies compensate them for giving demos at art schools, art supply stores and art organizations.
As much of this happened earlier in the year, Rebecca just sent me an update with eve better news:
Things have progressed beyond what I knew of when I sent that email . . . besides the brochure and featured artist website article being published, the same article, with my website address, is in the recent Daniel Smith art materials reference catalogue which came out in September. That article led to several contacts, including an artist in Milwaukee who has a small gallery also, and now I'm having a show there in April. Ampersand also made some posters which are pretty jazzy featuring my work (I'm not sure how widely those are distributed.)
Rebecca adds: Of course the main group of people
you reach by promoting a product are other artists (as opposed to
collectors) and so on, but networking possibilities always exist–and
besides, there are the immediate rewards of supplies and cash.
Image: Rebecca Crowell, Column #7, 2005. Oil on board, 90 x 12 inches. (c) The Artist.