Sunday, October 2, 2011

Greg Piazza: Finding the Right Niche for Your Art

Greg is an accountant by trade and a visual artist at heart. He doesn’t sit in the corner and wait “to be discovered.” Instead, he creates his own opportunities. He found a niche for his art in the arena of the contemporary design art. Greg also focuses on pricing his art whereas it is obtainable for young professionals and budding collectors alike: “I focus on high-end furniture retail stores as conduits for my art ... They can sell art as a whole package. They can assist a buyer with a room design and provide great options to meaningful art."

When I asked him about representation in the galleries, he said “I don’t really focus too much on being in the traditional galleries, I think the majority of my buyers do not frequent these establishments."

The first store that represented Greg’s art was Haven in Dallas. Greg told me, “One day I quit my job and that day I had one of my pieces in my car. I said to myself, ‘Look, I am going out there today and I am going to make good money off the art.’ And I just went over there, walked in the door, talked to them and I said, I noticed you guys don’t have any art work. Why not?’ And the guy said ‘We’ve never met an artist whose work we liked.’ I said, ‘I have a piece in my car. Would like to see it?’ and I showed it to him. He said, ‘I love this. Can you make 10 in the next week?’ And that was it, I made them ten pieces, and I think they sold 8 out of 10 pieces. I went through three different series with them.”

Greg’s story suggests that artists shouldn’t be afraid to knock on the doors and do some legwork. Greg told me, “I just approach stores and leave it up to them. They know their product and their customers better than anybody else. If they think it will work, I am happy to put my art in there. If they don’t think it will work, I don’t try to argue with them. Just say “Thank you and if you ever have somebody who is looking for something special, let me know.”

As for the further self-promotion, Greg said, “It seems like the word of mouth is your best friend out there. Once you get into a few good places, it’s really easy to expand your network and say, I show in these three high-end retailers and you have a lot of credibility.”

Greg’s art and photography are currently represented by the Jones Walker Home storeLofty Concepts, Nest Dallas, and Parnian in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also runs an online gallery called 7 NINE. Greg co-founded Gallery 7 NINE with his friend, Jonathan Giles. Both artists were born in 1979, and they decided to name the gallery after their year of birth. Greg’s original acrylic pieces currently range between $800 and $14,000; oil paintings are between $500 and 5,000; and prints go from $100 to $500. Greg also works with two art consulting firms who sell his art to hotels. Greg’s experience suggests that artists can have opportunities outside of the traditional gallery channels if they are willing to think outside the box.

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