Artist Using E-Mail to Market Landscape Paintings

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A California artist has hit upon a novel way to spread the word about his art to people who do not frequent art galleries. Rather than have art lovers seek out his paintings, he is sending his art to them -- through e-mail.


Dan Cooper of Larkspur, CA, who specializes in landscapes, sent a digital image of one of his paintings to an e-mail list each Wednesday for eight weeks, beginning March 7. The messages, which he called the "E-Painting of the Week," went to his list of nearly 500 subscribers. They contained an image of one of his landscapes and a short description of the painting.


That effort was so successful, Cooper said, that he is planning another campaign in August. The next eight paintings will come from his "Journey to the Aquitaine" series of 21 small paintings depicting scenes of southwest France.


"Most of the work I do, other than doing the art, is trying to get exposure," Cooper said. "I suddenly realized there's a lot of people working in offices in their cubicles all day that would appreciate a break."


He noted that people can print out the e-mail and tack up his art on their walls, and he encourages them to forward his messages to friends. Cooper said he does not include ads or sales pitches in his messages. He does, however, include links to his Web site, www.dancooperart.com. There, art lovers can view all his paintings, find out more information about the artist, sign up for his e-mail list and purchase paintings and prints.


Cooper uses the e-mails as a vehicle to allow his fans to vote for their favorite E-Painting of the Week. The winning entry is made into a print, which he gives free to a randomly selected subscriber.


"I am trying to find ways to market my art that bypass the usual gallery scene," Cooper said. "Galleries have a lot of good qualities, but they have not been that great for me. There's so much baloney in the marketing of the art world. I see the e-mail list as a great way to get my name out there."


Cooper said that having his list subscribers vote on their favorite painting gives him a better idea of which canvas he should turn into a print.


"The voting aspect is a great way to decide on what to spend money on in terms of producing prints," he said. "I may do voting again with the next series."


The next series will be much more thematic than his previous one, focusing exclusively on southwest France. His previous series included landscapes of Northern California, Canada and southwest France.


Cooper maintains his e-mail list himself. However, he said, if it grows too large, he may outsource its maintenance to a list management service.


"I usually only send one e-mail a week to my list," Cooper said. "I don't want to inundate them. I want to work into it slowly."


He noted that at the end of his next E-Picture of the Week campaign, which runs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 19, he probably will send a message to his list offering a discount on prints from the series.


"Buying art is a very personal thing," Cooper said. "This way you can shop without a salesperson breathing down your neck."


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