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How to host a virtual studio visit to blow your clients away
Because the era of social distancing and art via laptops is far from over…
Art x Tech 14 Jul 2020

Hey artsy girl, are your eyes crying out for a day away from a laptop? Do you crave letting people into your art space IRL instead of through a screen? We completely understand, but did you ever think that’s because you’ve been showing your work all wrong? Zoom is great and all, but there’s only so much you can do with a webcam, right? Well, you may be wrong. Thanks to advice from London-based art advisor and co-chair of Masterpiece Young Collectors Daniel Malarkey, we’ve got some tips for how to blow potential buyers away with your next virtual studio visit. 

Draw Them In

Have a story prepared for when you invite your viewer “into” your studio. They’re not just there to see your work, they want to know more about you too, ENGAGE with your audience. “Ask those closest to you which stories you have told them about your career that have stuck with them the most”, says Daniel, “My mother tends to be my best guide for my biography on which stories to retell, so may yours.” As they say, mom’s always right…

Take Them On A Journey

Following the above point, make sure you have a range of work to show your audience, from the beginning of your career, right up to the present. And, speaking of movement, use your phone to take your viewers on a tour of your space, instead of holding up artworks to your laptop webcam. A walk through will really allow your audience to feel like they’re in your studio with you.

Flirt With Your Audience

Everyone loves to be buttered up, right? Making your visitors feel special is a sure way to get them on your side. “If you treat your studio visit with as much charisma as a date you will find a super engaged audience”, says Daniel.  

Be Prepared

A studio visit in today’s world is not just an ad hoc affair, people have scheduled time in their day to chain themselves in front of their laptops just to learn more about you and your art. Check that your internet connection is strong, and think about what works you want to highlight. “Always have 5-10 artists who have inspired you on the tip of the tongue, and specific paintings and galleries where you have seen work that has marked you. Being specific is better than vague on these points”, says Daniel, adding that it’s best to make sure you have an hour free ahead of time to get in the right frame of mind. “Even if only 20 to 30 people are watching, one key person could become hugely influential in your career – a collector, curator, writer, gallerist, a fellow artist, or a new friend”, he says. 

Think About Your Presentation

Speaking to an audience over the internet is different than addressing them in person. Make sure you are clear, in frame and that your energy reaches through the screen. 

Allow The Audience To Interact

Whether you’re giving a studio visit to one lone viewer or to an audience of 50, virtual studio visits can feel pretty isolating. So, allow your audience to engage and ask questions. Maybe you could even ask them questions too by asking them for their opinions. 

Get Personal

And speaking of interacting with your audience, don’t be afraid to get personal. You can do this by showing your viewers some of your favourite objects, or telling them a special anecdote, you could maybe even include a slideshow explaining your career thus far. “Think of a Zoom studio visit as a chance to allow the viewer into your whole universe, not just to have a slideshow of current works”, says Daniel, “Anything superstitious you do or think – people love. Think Rafa Nadal’s routine adjusting his shorts and moving his hands to push his hair behind his ears even if unnecessary. Your daily and weekly routines will interest people greatly.”

Watch It All Back

We all hate watching ourselves on camera, but sometimes it must be done. It’s worthwhile recording the visit so that you can send it to potential clients or post online. Once you’ve finished giving your studio visit, it’s a good idea to watch back and see what worked, and what can be better next time. But, if you really can’t bear to do so, get your bestie to do it instead. “Ask a family member, close friend or advisor to watch and advise you after to see if any content should be edited out before it is posted online as a recorded video”, explains Daniel, “It is difficult to watch oneself after and take the time to check, so it is much more time effective to have someone do this for you.”

Text Lizzy Vartanian 

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