Subliminal Imaging: Warming Up People to Your Art

I have a theory. I think that the more people see an image of your art, they more they warm up to it.
One client of mine sells more of the images that she puts on postcards than all other sales combined. I don't think it's a coincidence.
A couple of weeks ago, I featured one of Sherrie York‘s linocuts in the Art Marketing Action newsletter. It looked like this.

Sherrie York's work featured (lower left) in my newsletter on February 2, 2011.

I could have featured any of Sherrie's work from her site. Why did I choose this one?
Back to my theory.
This past weekend I was going through the holiday cards I had received and found this card from Sherrie.
Sherrie York's holiday card featuring her art: Longing. Reduction linocut - 10 colors - handprinted on Hosho paper, edition of 10, 12 x 16 inches. ©The Artist

This greeting was on a holiday card mobile in our home — in a prominent space where I saw it every day. When I went to select an image from Sherrie's site, I was immediately drawn to this without even thinking that I might have seen it before.
Subliminal imaging!
If you ever hesitate to use the same image in more than one self-promotion piece, remember this story. If you ever think that postcards and note cards are a waste of time, remember this story.
Familiarity can be a very good thing when you're trying to connect with people and sell your art. At least that's my theory.
Happy Valentine's Day!

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10 thoughts on “Subliminal Imaging: Warming Up People to Your Art”

  1. Great article! I agree wholeheartedly. The painting I featured on a show postcard sold before the show opened, and I had several calls about the piece. I think the same is true for new music. Sometimes it takes hearing a song a few times before I think “hey..I like that!”

  2. Thanks again for the nod, Alyson… and I can confirm your theory by letting you know the edition (which was completed right before the winter holidays) is half sold out already, and it’s never yet been exhibited outside my studio. It was on my blog as worked progressed, on my website when complete, on the card… and here!

  3. That’s kind of like the old advertising adage that a person has to experience the same advertising message seven times before it even registers.

  4. Absolutely – and these days those marketing gurus are saying as many as 15 times, because our world has become so filled with marketing messages.
    I was having this conversation with my web designer the other day. I’m in the process of doing a complete make-over of my wordpress site and he, being a designer, wanted to make me a new logo. But I told him that the logo had already established itself and had too much goodwill value. So instead of making a new one, he just freshened it up to bring it into the new decade 🙂
    I can’t wait to unveil it next month!

    1. Gosh, I’ve been saying “9 times.” Really? 15??? I believe it.
      I replaced my logo last summer and things have only gotten better.

    2. Yeah, I think it’s 15 times if it’s not warm contact – like an advertisement in print or TV or a mailing. We’re talking about your presence somewhere in their environment. I’ve found when it’s a personal interaction or a speaking engagement, sometimes only once is all you need.
      With the logo, I’ve had so many people come up to my table at conferences and say things like – I saw your logo from across the room and remembered you – so I’m sticking with the one I’ve got. But Jesse really updated the colors and the font and it pops nicely now! So, I think it’s about how strongly you’re associated with the logo that you already have.

  5. Does it have to be subliminal? How subliminal? Would promoting the same image of a work over and over again be subliminal or “hitting them over the head with it?”
    This calls for an experiment!

  6. When I come across really good artwork it leaves an instant impression . I can close my eyes and remember the artwork years later. Repeated familiarity with the image, whether it’s a visit to the gallery or seeing it online, makes me think about actually buying the piece.

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