Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Jane Bell Meyer, art dealer and creator of “Where in the World is Plein Air.”
Listen as Jane Bell Meyer shares the following:
• How she started collecting art when she was 19 years old
• Quick pointers on how artists should go about getting into a gallery
• What galleries expect from an artist they represent
• What to avoid doing at an art gallery
• An important way to get seen and network
• Advice for interacting on social media, and more
Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares what “unknown” artists should do to work their way up, and how to consider where to advertise your art in this Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Jane Bell Meyer here:
– Jane Bell Meyer and Illume Gallery of Fine Art online: https://illumegalleryoffineart.com/
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.rhoads
– Sunday Coffee: https://coffeewitheric.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Plein Air Salon: https://pleinairsalon.com/
– Publisher’s Invitational: https://publishersinvitational.com/
– Value Specs for Artists: https://streamlineartvideo.com/products/paint-by-note-red-glasses
– Paint by Note: https://paintbynote.com/
– The Great Outdoor Painting Challenge TV Show: https://thegreatoutdoorpaintingchallenge.com/casting-call
– Figurative Art Convention & Expo: https://figurativeartconvention.com/
FULL TRANSCRIPT of this PleinAir Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the PleinAir Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
Eric Rhoads 0:00
This is episode number 178. Today we’re featuring the amazing art dealer Jane Bell Meyer.
This is the plein air podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of plein air magazine. In the Plein Air podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term, which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host Author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 1:04
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jim Kipping and welcome everybody to the plein air podcast summer is in full swing. And I am hearing from lots of you who have been released and are painting man I don’t know about you, but I sure appreciate it more than ever. I’ve been trying to do at least one plein air piece a day and my goal is to do it every day almost all summer, although I’ve slipped up a call it a couple of times and missed a couple but I’ve already done more paintings this summer that I’ve done all last summer, so I feel I’m making some improvements. So that’s a pretty cool thing. I would say that things have been on fire around here at streamline publishing, we announced our plenn air live global experience and we are seeing people from around the world who are painters signing up. It is a phenomenon. It’s taking place July 15 through 19th for full days with amazing painters, plus There’s a beginner’s day on the 14th. And if you’re listening and you want to learn the ropes of plein air painting, and you want to find out you know what to take outside, how you go outside, what easels, what type of demos what kind of mediums you want all the other features you need this day and you do not need to sign up for the whole event. You can just do the beginner’s day, but you’re gonna want to sign up for the entire plenn air live event because it’s historic. We’ve got some huge, huge names from around the world, like Haidee Jo summer in England and Tonan Pasenard in France, Leon Holmes in Australia, and others around the globe plus amazing us painters like Scott Christianson, what a phenomenon Gil Carver, Katherine stats Kevin MacPherson, Albert Handel, john MacDonald, and many, many, many, many, many more four days of complete complete virtual stuff. This is the first time in history in the plein air community where we have come together as one worldwide as one big family, and I wanted to do that after COVID. Because we need each other, we need to know each other, we need the embrace of one another. As a virtual community, we need our community so you do not want to miss it sign up before we reach our seat limit with technology. This is virtual so you don’t have to spend thousands on exit tickets and travel and hotels and meals and all that. And you can do it in the comfort of your own living room. So you don’t need to worry about wearing a mask. We are all ready to get out together. And this is a great way to do it and come together as a world plein air community and as I said, this is the first time in history. This has been done for the air community and a virtual global experience. It’s called plein air live, and you can learn more about it at pleinAirlive.com but do it fast because it is it’s just I’ve never seen anything like it in my career. It is just absolutely exploding. Also though, we have this globe historic event it is not a replacement for our live in person experiences like the plein air convention, which is taking place this August in Santa Fe, it looks like we’re going to be able to do it. We’ve got an amazing lineup, almost 80 instructors, incredible instructors, most of them are coming and I think we lost one, maybe two, but we’ve replaced them already. And there’s nothing quite like live because you get the experience of being together with your friends. Of course, we’re following protocols, it’s safe. It’s exciting, and it’s our first time in the summer doing a convention. That way many more can come than normal because of school teachers and people like that who can’t get off or families that have kids in school. So sign up at pleinairconvention.com and remember we have a COVID guarantee meaning if we have to reschedule or you can’t make it or it doesn’t feel safe or the state doesn’t let us do it or something at you will get 100% of your money back if you want it or we can apply it to a future event Anyway, you can sign up at pleinAirconvention.com and coming up after the interview, I’m going to be answering your art marketing questions in the art marketing minute. Now today’s interview is going to blow you away. There are lots and lots and lots of unexpected gifts treasures, Easter eggs, if you will. Things like getting into galleries from the perspective of a gallery owner and an amazing one at that. So let’s get right to our interview. Jane Bell Meyer, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Jane Bell Meyer 5:31
Jane Bell Meyer 5:32
It’s such a pleasure to have you on you know you’ve been a huge proponent and in terms of building the plein air community and doing things that bring attention to plein air and I want to talk about your annual event. And I also want to talk about the gallery business in general artists and galleries and just a number of things that what I think people will find interesting
Jane Bell Meyer 5:58
Jane Bell Meyer 6:00
Let’s go. Let’s do this. So Jane, let’s kind of back up and go to the beginning. Have you always done this art thing? Or is this something that came later in your career?
Jane Bell Meyer 6:13
Okay, I’ll give you a little background. I was raised on a ranch by Jackson, Wyoming. But it was Alta Wyoming. And I just loved art. I was the oddball in our family and I looked at art I, I wanted to go in galleries and no one else did, but I did and I tried it myself. But I was a singer, and love to sing and love to act. And in college, I took my last class in art. And I knew the professor because my mother taught at the college so I lived in that town and I knew I had done Pretty good piece. And so I was wanting to compliment. So I was reeling that in. And the professor said, Really you want to know, Jane, and I knew I was better than some of the guys in the class, not as good as the others. And she said, I’m going to tell you the truth. And I said, Well, I want it. And he said, Please, please keep singing. And so I knew that probably, art was not my thing. But I went on to be a professional actress and singer as a living. And for years did that. But I was in rock band at first and use my gig money to start buying art. And so I became a collector when I was 19 years old, and it never stopped.
Eric Rhoads 7:57
I have other questions related to what you just said. First off, what kind of things were you collecting at 19 years old?
Jane Bell Meyer 8:05
Well, I really loved and I’ve loved figurative work. I’ve always, I’ve always been drawn to it. But of course, I was surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. So I loved that as well. So I tended to like things that were more traditional. And I didn’t respond to splashes of color. And that meant nothing to me. I had to know what it what it was in order to be drawn to it. Now. Now I can appreciate it. While I still don’t want it in my home. I don’t want the abstract things. But I really love to be out in nature. And so I think most of the pieces in my house are places that that I’ve been on. Look like places that I’ve been. And I’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains and fishing and on horses and backpacking and out on the ocean. And I dive and I deep sea fish and I hike. And so I’m drawn to those things in my home and plan our work is that and so it brings it home to me all around, so I don’t have to go anywhere. It’s wonderful. And so I was drawn to planner work, like the first I didn’t know what to call it back then I just, I would buy pieces that my friends did on site, not knowing I was buying plein air pieces.
Eric Rhoads 9:45
Well, not very many people knew that term back then. They didn’t tell me tell me.
Jane Bell Meyer 9:54
I don’t really know when that term came to be. I know that. It probably came to be When the French didn’t want the Americans to call it the same thing they did.
Eric Rhoads 10:06
Well, I, you know, there’s a lot of debate I have looked through some history books and I originally thought that the term plein air came from the time of the Impressionists. And yet I have found it as references many, many years as early as 100 years before that. So, you know, of course the term plein air in French just means outdoors. I mean, if you read a plein air magazine in France, it’s like reading outdoor magazine. And so I don’t think it was necessarily intended as a as a painting style originally. So I don’t know that’s I think that’s, that’s always curious. We’ve always been kind of trying to figure out the answer to that question.
Jane Bell Meyer 10:48
Well, I’ve looked it up myself. I was hoping you have that answer for me today. When we come up with it, we’ll share it
Eric Rhoads 10:57
so I’m curious about the the entertainment side of Things just let’s touch base on that. And then we’ll talk about art. You were an actress and a singer in a rock band. Tell me a little bit about that. And what were you able to accomplish with that?
Jane Bell Meyer 11:13
Okay, I was in a rock band to make money to go to school. And so I’m using scholarships and that I got a degree in musical theater and psychology. That was it. I could have been a very rich doctor who sang for free instead, I was a poor actress who gave free advice. Anyway. So I went on to do a lot of state work, and then went into film, and I did a lot of commercials to keep, I was a single mother. And so you know, to keep my family afloat. I would. I would do the commercials. I said can I was on the side but acting and singing was my passion, especially singing. And all along the way. I was also doing interior design some really high end. And I opened a business called authentic and one of my galleries is still called that. And I would go to France and pick up beautiful architectural pieces, I would go into the countryside by myself with a big band and go through people’s barns and old chateaus that had been locked up for 100 years. And I would talk my way into those places and then my shipper would go out into the country and pick them all up for me and I would get a huge container full. And my business authentic was based as a interior design business. And also art. I’d bring back art from France as well. And while I was doing I was also still singing and acting and promoting the arts. And so whilst I was doing that I was also on the City Council for the Arts. I’ve done that quite a few times. And on the board have a lot of theatres and just promoting the arts in any way I could. And so, while I was doing all of that, I was filling my home with art from all over the world. And on every room was was tastefully packed with gorgeous art and a very eclectic look. And when I was 45, I got very ill and I came out of that illness having lots one of my vocal cords so I could no longer sing and After I aggrieved for a few months, I thought, What can I do? That would promote art, promote the spirit of art promote the light of art, because I believe that anytime a piece of art goes into a home, the spirit of that art and that artist is also there. And so if I couldn’t sing anymore, I wanted to represent someone who was still bringing light to the world. And so I changed my direction. And the Euro helped me do that because the French franc for really good going to France, but the Euro was not. And so authentic became a gallery. And and since I could no longer seeing, I put all of my efforts into this. And I feel every time I sell a painting I I hear Applause for that artists. I know what that applause feels like. I know what it feels like to to have people appreciate what you’ve done. And while mine was more vocal, and I’d love to call the artists let them know that they’re pieces of souls I, I like to put it online on social media. So all the other artists can see that their their contemporaries have sold something and celebrate and, and that art being appreciated.
Eric Rhoads 15:33
Absolutely. You know, you have first off your story is fascinating. And you have first I would call you a person who has get up and go You just don’t let anything get in the way you’ve always been. Sounds to me like the term aggressive. May or may be a little bit too much but you have a lot of initiative.
Jane Bell Meyer 15:53
…lot of assertive, assertive, assertive.
Eric Rhoads 15:56
Absolutely. And I was watching while you were telling me story I was thinking about how important those skills are for artists as well.
Jane Bell Meyer 16:07
Eric Rhoads 16:09
I mean, you have to you know, you have to have a little bit of assertiveness, aggressiveness if you will and that you have to be willing to put yourself out there and promote yourself and and you know you’ve had some your story is got a sad yet a happy ending because you you’ve been able to reinvent yourself and you just didn’t let that stop you and and I think that’s something that all artists certainly could learn from.
Jane Bell Meyer 16:36
Yeah, I’m resilient. That that’s a good word. I will go back to something that a director told me years ago, I was in a play and and it was a large play in a large city and I had a major role in it. And all of the artists were going to the newspaper that was Way back before the computer, so they were waiting at the newspaper, so that when the first newspapers came out, they could read the critique or the review of the play and, and find out how they did in that play by reading the newspaper. And so I was there and my director, went there for a little while, and he said, Jane, um, how do you think you did tonight? I said, I did well, he said, How did you feel that you connected with the audience? And I said, really well. And he said, How did you feel about your performance? And all I said, great. I felt great about it and, and he said, How did you feel about it being spontaneous? And I said, I’m very spontaneous. And he asked me more questions. And then he said, then walk away from that. newspaper, because it doesn’t matter what that reviewer thinks, or doesn’t think it only matters if you made something authentic, and if you delivered it and if you prepared it and presented it, and it was accepted, and it was really good advice. So, while maybe I cut the reviews out and put them in a drawer somewhere, I really didn’t base my talent on one person’s review. And I’m, I can really draw the attention back to art. That when the artists prepare something, when they paint something when they create something that’s authentic, that’s not being painted for a monetary reason. are not being painted over and over and over again. but rather something that springs from them that, that that is perfectly authentic to them. Then those pieces are the ones that that resonate with people, those pieces are amazing. And the artists take a chance on those. And I love it, that they take a chance not knowing if it will be accepted, but rather that it is accepted within themselves.
Eric Rhoads 19:31
You know, I think that’s a really great discussion to have, because there’s so many stories and you’ve heard them all I’m sure. You know, you will. I once had a gallery say to me, you know, that barn painting that you did sold really, really well. Could you get me about 10 more paintings of the little red barn? And I said, No, because, you know, I don’t want to do that. And the gallery owner was a little bit perturbed with me. How do you how do you walk that Fine Line as an artist between doing what you know is going to produce an income versus doing what you love and what resonates with you.
Jane Bell Meyer 20:12
Well, I’ve had a lot of discussions over the years with artists. And I believe that as long as your painting burns, and it thrills you and it that each piece is unique. Each piece has its own flavor its own life. As long as you wake up in the morning, and you are excited to paint that barn, then it’s authentic. But as soon as you get up in the morning and think, okay, I’ve got to paint a barn. And, you know, by lunchtime you’ve painted the barn and you can’t even remember between one painting and another one. Which one is which, then that’s the time to stop painting that barn
Eric Rhoads 21:01
I’m glad to hear you say that i think that you know, there’s there’s, I teach marketing and I and I know that someone can manipulate marketing and use it in their favor but I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea. Certainly there are people who who make good livings doing that, but you know, you sometimes you talk to them, it’s like, you know, I just feel like I’m going to a job every day. It’s not really enjoyable for me anymore.
Jane Bell Meyer 21:26
Right? And then it’s a commercial work and, and you’ve gone into almost making prints with your, with your paintbrush. The number that that painting, as if it’s a print, I will tell a story without, I’ll try not to, to lead on who the artist is. I was hiking in California about 10 years ago. And that was going up the coast. And there was Also the database there was a little village tiny, tiny little thing, Hamlet, and there was a big antique store. But when you go upstairs, it was the deceased California artists. And it was amazing to me I, I love that kind of thing. And so as I was looking at it, and I received Fisher paintings and and Mater Dixon’s and i and i was just loving it. I thought two pieces are across the way. And they were obviously done on this. During the same trip, they were painted the same size. They were also framed, identically. And it looked like it was a triptych. And I thought, Oh, that’s nice. And I went over to them and it was so fresh and so fabulous and I couldn’t read the signature. I was sure I didn’t read the signature. I’m sure I didn’t read it right. I couldn’t believe it. So I turned to the gallerist. And and she said yes, that who that is? And I said, oh no. When did he give up his true talents to paint storybook. And anyway, I don’t know that that he enjoyed getting up every day painting a storybook. But I know that on that day, I know that that came from his heart and that he was thrilled and that that light came down his arm through his brush and came to those strokes and and brought that seemed to life and I know the power of those two pieces. And I know that that they can enjoy getting up and painting.
Eric Rhoads 24:05
Well, and I think you know, there’s also the day, not every artist knocks it out of the park every time right so we all have we all have stories of historical works of art that people people have paid ridiculously high amounts of money for that are bad paintings just because it’s got this the Monet signature on it or something. You know, we we all we meeting artists all have stacks of stuff that we haven’t signed, or maybe we signed and regret signing, you know, we’re not letting it out in public, and then somebody dies and the family puts it out there. And if the artist has a big name it sells anyway. But just because you have a big name doesn’t mean you’re doing great pieces of art does it?
Jane Bell Meyer 24:50
That’s true. In fact, in my own home, I have one of the most unfortunate Maynard Dixon at Janus that he probably we ever did. But Robert Maynard Dixon, so yes, I totally understand.
Eric Rhoads 25:07
Well, and it’s in some of that goes back to your passion for that individual and what that individual stood for.
Jane Bell Meyer 25:14
Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. And I just saw his beautiful show in Scottsdale in the museum there a few months ago. And they had you know, 100 of his pieces. And yes, it I bought that because it was an honor to his work his life. And so I’m glad to have it. I saw that show. It was fabulous.
Eric Rhoads 25:37
Jane Bell Meyer 25:39
I had to stay there for two or three hours I could not impact the other people I was with they went on and did something else for the day I just said drop me off.
Eric Rhoads 25:51
Yeah, yeah, some some shows have that effect on us. And So talk to me a little bit about I want to learn about the where in the world plein air thing and we’ll get to that, but since we’re kind of on this subject, you know, you’re dealing with lots of artists, you’re dealing with artists who are fairly well developed at certain levels. So the biggest question I get from people and when I teach my art art marketing is, you know, it’s how do I get into a gallery? When do I know I’m ready to be in a gallery? I’d like to know your thoughts on that. What? When is somebody ready to be in a gallery? When are they not ready? What what are your expectations of them? If you decide you want to put them in?
Jane Bell Meyer 26:35
You know, I could give us a whole workshop on what you just asked. So let me try to bring it down to bullet points. When an artist has gotten to a point where they’re pieces when they’re really Really finally painted. They are not particularly ready for a gallery in order to be in a gallery or to even be out there in people’s minds and have the attention on them. They have to do work that’s outside of painting. And they have to do marketing. And they have to start marketing themselves way before they’re in a gallery or way before they get attention. So, I would have them enter shows, the little shows, I would have them enter things that are are juried. For sure, and, and maybe in in art museums in in galleries that when they’re having a separate show. But to go to these outside events. I’ve been I’ve judged Dragon’s Den. Which you promote, and a couple of times, and you know, these are those shows those plenn air shows, where they go out and they learn and then they are judged they need to put themselves out there. And, and be judged. They, they can’t just be a good painter. They can’t be a great artist and and and be known and be ready for a gallery. And I’ll worry about…
Eric Rhoads 28:34
Yes, but I want to interrupt you on that point because I want to, I want to submit that point and a little bit. There are artists who would say to me, too, in response to what you just said, they say, but that’s her job. My job is to paint. Tell them why that’s not fully your job.
Jane Bell Meyer 28:53
And it’s not fully my time in order to get into a gallery You have to prove yourself in these other ways that you have to already be known. And the galleries that that I have, are filled with artists who have done their due process, years of work, and years of going to those smaller shows. It’s also good for artists to be known by the other artists and so going to workshops is important because another artist will look at a new artist and say, Oh, your work is really good. Let me call my gallery and and I will suggest you and so I’ve gotten a few artists through the years. One Katherine stats called me and she said, Jane, you’d be a fool not to carry this new artist. Well, you know, I, I honor what Katherine stat says. And so I started following the artists and then and then help that artists along the way to get more known so that they could be in the gallery. When you’re in a gallery, especially the ones that I that I have. It’s up to me to bring in artists who are at the same level as the other artists, it would not be fair to the artists I represent to bring in someone who is not up to par to them. Also, they need to have a name behind them. And to be fair to the other artists I represent. And if I clear on…
Eric Rhoads 30:33
Matter of fact, I can tell you a story and I want to hear your story. Because you said you had an example story, but I remember an artist calling me and complaining because he went into the gallery that was representing him. His first time visiting had sent this stuff. And he was complaining that he was hanging next to a completely unknown artist who was underdeveloped and he actually pulled out of the gallery because of that, because He felt like he deserved better.
Jane Bell Meyer 31:03
That’s, that’s true. And so you need to see artists need to be in galleries, where they are, where they are with other artists that are at their level and also not just their level of painting, but their level of fame, you know, of how well known they are. It that’s really important. And so there are different levels of galleries to you know, I’m not Musee d’Orsay. Although some of my artists are really, really good. And but I, you know, I’m not, I’m not at that level. And so I will go back and I’ll tell my story too. So, I was judging with let’s see one of the other artists either based on pianos, Doug Braithwaite was the artist that you had out there for your workshop. And we were judging the show at the end. And because I’m from there, I don’t mind going up and judging that show. It’s fun. And there was a really good artist. Really good. And both of us went Who is this? Because they didn’t have the names on them. Of course, some artists we can tell because of the style who they are, but we have no idea who this was. And we, we both said, yes, they get the blue ribbon for this. And so then when we were handing them out, I said, Okay, here’s this piece right here. Who are you? Who is this? And out from the crowd came this, this young boy with his, you know, he’s really shy And, and kind of looked up, you know, through above his eyes, his eyebrows and he’s going up. It’s me. And I, and I said, How old are you? I couldn’t have said that. But I, you know, I did just came out. And I rarely have a filter anyway, so I can hold on to you. And he said, 27. I said, my goodness, this is amazing. And then I said, Do you take classes from Scott Christiansen, Matt Smith? He said, Oh, no, but I would love to. So I said, talk to me a little later. And so he gave me his story. And he had just graduated from college. He was a young father. He just had their first baby and he was delivering pizzas. And Idaho Falls, Idaho. And I said, You are so good. This had to you were born with this. And and I said you need to take from Scott Christensen because I can’t afford that. And I can’t afford Matt Smith and I can look at their pieces and be inspired by them but I really can’t afford anything. And I said well come to Salt Lake and let me let me talk with you and that’s when I added a limb gallery in Salt Lake. So he came one afternoon and we sat on the couch and I said this is how you get into a gallery. I said First of all, your website is not good. And let me show you how to do a website that will draw more people and and then you need to keep that website up. And what are you doing on social media? Well, nothing. Okay, this is what you do today and, and I said let’s get you onto Facebook right now I said you’ll have to get yourself onto Instagram because I don’t know how to do that one. But I’m better then I I said now you need to join these plein air shows. And put yourself out there and I told him the plein air shows that he needed to do. And so I was telling him all these things. And then I said and you need to take a class from calling wisdom who’s coming to do a workshop on right direction. I said you you could you could get a lot from him for like direction. And he said, Well, I can’t afford that. And I could just come to come to the class. And so I got him to come to the class Kali was on board with me they’re really kindly on board with me. And, and he took that class and took everything to heart and now on on social media whenever this person sells a piece of art Polly within is the first person that says, yay, you, that was good. And I also said you need to do all sorts of workshops and the other artists need to know you’re good. And you need to make friends with the other artists who are at your level. And then I said, One day when you have gotten a national award, then I will help you more and you can be in an art gallery. And he said, okay, and he was very humble about that. And then it came into my mind actual voice that said, Jane, you just gave him a national award, you know, with the drug 16. And so I brought him on, and, and here’s one of the only ones I’ve brought on that has not already gotten a name for themselves. And because I knew that, that where he was going, I knew that he had this talent. And you guys know it too. And it’s Kimball Geisler. And now the court is going and he needed. He needed some mentoring. I call the Anne brown and said, there’s a new artist, you’ve got to see him, you’ve got to look at him. And, and, and Brown has always called me and said, look at this artist, and I’ve called her and said look at this artist. And I said look at this artist Kimball Geisler and Plein Air magazine just gave him an award, and we need to watch him. This was five years ago. And so I hope that I’m answering your question on how to get into a gallery.
Eric Rhoads 37:44
Yeah, so what do I think so? Yes, I mean, I think the the point that that you’re making is that you really need to, you’ve got to build a national brand. You’ve got to advertise you got to be seen. I have had other guests Tell me that they watch the ads in the magazines. And they watch they say, Okay, I see somebody I think this person has potential and they keep watching them for two or three or four or five years because they want to see if they’re consistent, are they continuing to build quality I would imagine that a body of work is really critical. You want to make sure that they’re consistent that they’re not giving you one good piece I we’ve all been through we’ve judged shows where somebody put a piece in and and it did really well in the show only to find out that you know, was painted in a workshop and the instructor painted half of the painting. Those are the kinds of things that that you know, you want to avoid, you want to make sure that you’re on top of, of, you know, making sure you’ve got this body of work and making sure that people know who you are. So I think you answered it right. And now I want to ask you another question about this because all gallerist are getting approached all the time. I was sitting into New York City with a gallerist there and we were having a meeting and he said, I hope you don’t mind I’m going to catch up on my mail while we’re talking and he’s opening things making faces and throwing it in the in the garbage. I said, What are you doing? And he said, Well, these are all submissions. He said, I get 500 or 1000 of these packages a month he said I got another two 3000 emails. He said it’s it’s really a waste of time. He said, I really should have a full time person just to go through this stuff. He said, I don’t know why even bother opening it because it’s very, very rare that I find somebody what what is that like from your perspective, I know that you’re very encouraging and you want to help artists and you want to do the best you can for them but I’ve heard galleries tell me stories about you know, they’re in the middle of a meeting with somebody a collector and some artists walks in and interrupts the discussion you’re about to sell a painting and they say hey, I want to show you a painting they just walk in on announced help artists to understand your perspective on on just getting random approached
Jane Bell Meyer 40:05
I do not like it when people just walk in the door and I am I have had sales that have been ruined by that. And, and that I believe that that’s disrespectful anyway. And I wouldn’t do that myself. But it’s hard again, I do get a lot of requests online and and and they even find out my my cell phone and I do get a lot of requests and whatever what I would rather have happen is if they are good enough, if they’ll go to an artist who I know and who I respect and have that artist, introduce them to me. Then at least I know that it’s gone already through you know that process have been judged.
Eric Rhoads 41:02
That’s a lot of sense.
Jane Bell Meyer 41:03
I don’t, I don’t have time, like this other galleries to look at everyone’s work. I’m really picky about the art that I bring into our galleries. And, and about the artist. And there are other things that that I could tell you about of how I choose artists for the gallery that has nothing to do with their actual work. And I will, I think it’s important I will say that in just a moment, but if someone wants to get into a gallery enough and they friend me on Facebook, and if I look through their things when and see that they’re good enough, then I you know, press Yes, I will accept you as a friend. Then I can see their work without them at being in my face. And so that’s good.
Eric Rhoads 42:02
One guy told me that they made up a dummy name for Facebook so that they didn’t they didn’t know they were being watched. I mean one gallerist told me they made up a dummy name and unfriended different artists under that dummy name so they could watch them without knowing that they were being watched, or being approached.
Jane Bell Meyer 42:25
Oh, if I know that I have a stalker, they’re gone. At all. And I go back to what you were saying to if they are in magazines, because I love that I look at them at night. And I can see their pieces and then maybe an article is written about them. And that helps as well. Also, I really like going and have gone to the planner convention, as you know how many times and I see a lot of artists that way. And make acquaintance with the artists who I’m interested in. And so it’s good for people to go to these conventions because they’re not only learning how to paint better, but there are other people there like me, who are watching them and watching their careers. And so many of my artists came from the plein air conventions that I’ve gone to that, um, you were posted. And that was not a plug for you. It was That’s the truth.
Eric Rhoads 43:33
Thank you for the show.
Jane Bell Meyer 43:37
important that they go to those and especially what you’re, the kind of convention is the biggest one that they need to go to that everyone needs to go to that one.
Eric Rhoads 43:51
One thing that we’ve discovered is the the role of other artists is so critical because let me give you an example of Charlie Hunter came to my Adirondack event which is about 100 people. And nobody knew who Charlie Hunter was. And everybody responded to his work gave him positive feedback. And he learned the ropes of the whole plein air world, he was able to understand it a little bit more after that week. And then after doing that, these artists were all of a sudden telling other people including gallerists about him. So it you know, it’s it’s that networking that whether it’s the plein air convention or something I do or something somebody else does, it’s really important to get out there and become part of that community because you need others line you up.
Jane Bell Meyer 44:40
100% right. The one of the biggest things that I told Kimball was other artists need to know you and know your work. And you need to get out there and get known by them. And and that’s it. That’s probably the very first thing and the very most important thing that can be done is for other artists to know your work. Before I go on, do you want to talk anymore about that because I want to talk about another another thing that I look at when I’m bringing someone on please do let’s go ahead. Okay. Once I love someone to art, it usually now takes a few years for or if ever because it has to fit in to the gallery, and I have to know that I can sell it I have to love that art because if I don’t, I’m not going to be able to sell it. And so, besides loving the art, I actually follow the person and and I get to know who they are personally how they react to people and how they their relationships with other galleries, you know? How are they as being a team and working together. And so the personality is also very important to me. And it also comes through their work I mean if they’re a good person and and they’ve got all of these positive things about them that’s going to come through to their work as well. But they have to be team players and our three galleries, which are very different. You have a gallery that the mission gallery is based in plein air work and, and a handful of the very best planner artists are represented their authentic is representational with with contemporary lines and contemporary colors and, and so a little bit more loose. Then we have elim gallery that’s extremely representational. Now we have this show once a year called the new vision show. And all of the artists are invited to come to that. And they come in they actually call it a family reunion. And they think of each other as family and and they work together as they are a family. And when one of them sells something, the comments that you get on Facebook and and in other places are from their family, people in our galleries beside to other comments as well. That the camaraderie that is that is in this group of artists is amazing. And when I bring on a new artist, and we announce it, the other artists in our galleries, no matter which gallery they’re in, say to this new artists, Welcome to the family. That is important. That, that the artists are not jealous or more even envious, that of each other, but they’re rather very supportive, whether they have sold something that month or not, and they’re supportive of the artists who have. And so that also comes across when you walk into a gallery, and that feeling is already there. And so that’s really important. When I’m bringing on someone…
Eric Rhoads 48:34
I was gonna ask you.
Jane Bell Meyer 48:36
I may have a really good artist that really belongs in the gallery. But right now I’m looking at James Crandall’s work while we’re talking. And Joseph Russo, they’re both in front of me. If I if an artist came to me, and they were really good, I mean, they’re so good and they fit into everything I just said. But they look a little bit like Joseph Russo. Or they look a little bit like James Crandall. I’m not going to bring them into the gallery because I’m not going to hurt the sales of the people I already represent.
Eric Rhoads 49:17
Make sense? What, uh, what about the behavior on social media? How does that impact how you feel about an artist?
Jane Bell Meyer 49:29
I actually do watch that. And when I see positive things, when I see people who are building another artist up, and that’s what I’ve been talking about. It’s really important. That’s important. It’s important that as an art community in the world that that we support each other, that we’re not in defense lone wolf Where were this one societies of beautiful artists, you know, whatever level they are, that are just supporting each other. It’s important to me that I see supportive comments.
Eric Rhoads 50:20
How do you feel with another artist if you see an artist who’s making political statements or trashing another artist or being negative,
Jane Bell Meyer 50:29
never be in my gallery if they’re trashing another artist. One of the things that’s…this is ironclad. Artists may not speak badly about any artists, not just artists in the gallery, but any artists and all about their work. And they may not speak badly about another gallery. Because, again, we’re all doing this for hopefully the right purpose, to present art and to let the artists paint another day and to feed their families and to put art into homes that then are brightened and, and made better by it. So negativity is is like I can’t deal with negativity I can. Now as far as when you’re getting into political things, because I have my definite views. I do not put them on social media. I’m there for me there is a place for those views and and I get active in the community. But as far as online, I’m representing not only my views that I’m representing the galleries and All of the artists who I represent so I do not get into into the negative political arguments when I see them, and I, I pass them by, and I don’t read them.
Eric Rhoads 52:21
Well what I’m wondering about actually
Jane Bell Meyer 52:22
I don’t get very many.
Eric Rhoads 52:23
What I’m wondering about is when you see an artist let’s say you’re considering an artist to come into the gallery and then you see them making political negative political comments. I had just in the last month I had two different people reach out to me and for two different artists and they said, I am not going to buy a video of that artist because that artist was so negative politically and I disagreed with them and and you need to tell these people you know, keep your mouth shut because you’re you’re alienating 50% of the people. I’m you know, I don’t tell anybody what to do what not to do, but I’m just curious, from your standpoint, how it affects business, because I’m sure you have buyers on both sides of the political fence?
Jane Bell Meyer 53:10
I do I do. And I would advise that if you would like to do your art have a different Facebook page for that then and have a political one if you want. But yes, it does affect sales. It does affect that. You know, if you’re, if you’re not on one side or the other, why don’t we just leave that out?
Eric Rhoads 53:44
So I’m with you on that. Okay. So I want to talk about one other thing you’ve done this fabulous event now probably was six, seven years in a row, which is called where in the world is plein air? Will you tell us about the event, how it started and give us a little understand what’s happening with it now.
Jane Bell Meyer 54:03
Okay, well, it’s going on right now. It just went live last last Wednesday, and it’s the seventh year. And so one night, I was thinking before I went to sleep, about different ways to market the art. And I’m not a tech person at all. And I hired that out and wisely. And so I went to sleep. And in the middle of the night, I woke up with this idea that was so detailed, that I, I woke up and I wrote it, I have paper by the side of my bed and, and I wrote it in detail, and I had never seen it. It was back in the day when you did not see videos of artists online. differ seven years ago, so I had Never seen this before. But I wrote down this whole thing in detail. And I went back to sleep. And I woke up in the morning and read that and I thought, oh my goodness, I don’t even know what I’m talking about. And I took it to a technical person. And I said, I want to do this. And I need to create a website, and I need to create an excitement for this idea. And, and it was an artist who was helping me and they said, Well, do you think it’ll work? And I said, I don’t know. I think it will. I said, it sounds like a good idea. And he said, Well, isn’t it your idea? I go, kind of I wrote it down. Anyway, so I, I again, I called, I called people from plein air. I called Anne Brown. And I called one of your other associates at the time. And I got advice, and to see if they thought that this was a great idea. And what it is, is, we have artists who paint at the time they were painting, right. And I’ll tell you how that has, has changed. But they were painting live so they would paint anywhere they were in the world. They would do a 55 second video of where they were, who they are, and showing with their phone with where they were painting, and then halfway through and talk about the the painting talk about the day. And then at the end, they would do a final video, and then show the piece. And then we had a website that was created just for this. And so those videos would go up live online as the artists would get finished. They would upload To our, our website, and I had six different people taking the videos and putting them on at the time. And, and we had a few few crashes and things like that, that we had to work through. But it was a fun idea. And, in fact, I’ve appreciated that, that you Eric gave it an endorsement when we were first starting this. I appreciate it that, that you supported me. And this new idea. It’s no longer a new idea. People are online every day, you know, putting on their videos and doing that. This was just before that happened. So now, we used to do three days in a row that was really hard on the artists to do three different pieces. And it was right then and now. They only do one piece. It’s one day and This year because of the virus, and being able to get out, I said whenever you can, and difficult a few months ago, whenever you can in the next few months, do your videos, do do your one day. It’s still alive. But, you know, it was live on that day. But then they sent those videos to us. And then we put it live all together with all of the artists on June 10 last week, and you didn’t lose the excitement because they were still doing it live wherever they were in the world. But I wasn’t sure they could get out and do it because of the of the virus. And it’s done really well this year so far.
Eric Rhoads 58:49
That’s a fabulous idea. And I think it’s really done a great job of bringing artists together and exposing the whole concept of plein air and you and I both know that the more people we can Tell us about plein air painting the better world gonna be. So congratulations, you, you deserve a big round of applause. So everybody is listening clapping right now.
Jane Bell Meyer 59:12
That applied? Absolutely.
Eric Rhoads 59:15
Well, Jane, I just wanted to say, apply applause and thank you for all you do for arts community, you know, there are galleries, who are businesses who are in some regards isolated from their artists. And then there are galleries who are communities. And you’re, you’re an example of a gallery which is a community an example of a gallery, which goes way beyond what many galleries do in the sense that you care so deeply that you really honor your artists. You’re very, very supportive and and i know nobody ever has a bad thing to say about you, because that’s kind of the way you operate your life is you never say anything bad about anybody else. But you are so encouraging to all of us. And I just want to thank you for the inspiration.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:00:06
Thank you, Eric, thank you for this opportunity to talk to who knows who?
Eric Rhoads 1:00:13
Well, plein air podcast now is listened to in about 70 countries around the world.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:00:20
That’s what I thought so who knows who we’re talking with.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:23
So, just since since you’ve got a lot of opportunity, there are people out there who would love to know where to learn more about your galleries, what websites should they visit.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:00:36
If they go to any three of our websites at the bottom of each page, you can flip over into the other websites into the other galleries, but illume Gallery of fine art, Illumegalleryoffineart.com and then at the bottom of the page, you can go over it To the mixing gallery and to authentic gallery and you can push it into the where in the world is kind of our show as well.
Eric Rhoads 1:01:07
Excellent. Well, it’s been a pleasure having you on the podcast, I’ve been wanting to do it. And I’m glad that we finally got around to it. And, again, I honor you and I thank you for all you do for the player community, we wouldn’t be anywhere, like we are now, including our magazine, by the way, you’ve been very supportive of us and told people about us and so I just can’t thank you enough. And I wanted to thank you publicly because you have you’ve had such a huge impact. And you know, I wanted to talk about one other thing and I will touch on it just quickly before we go in because I think that it’s really important for artists to understand the life of owning a gallery is not an easy life. And I’ve watched threads of artists who are saying you know, the galleries are not earning their money. And we should deserve more and what are they doing and we don’t need them anymore. And and I think that most people don’t really understand what it is you have to go through you know, you have rent to pay, you have an enormous electricity bills because of all your lights. You have shipping and unpacking and employees and salespeople and advertising and all of these things that culminate into what we call as a gallery, which is the way you earn your percentage. Do you have any thoughts on that that you want to share real quickly, so people understand your perspective on this?
Jane Bell Meyer 1:02:40
Well, I appreciate that things that you did bring up. And most people will not buy an artist unless they have seen that artists work in real life. They may go online later and say, oh, I’ve seen this work. I love it. It’s consistent. I’ve been to galleries to see this. And so maybe then they’ll buy online. But they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t seen it in a gallery already. And galleries are, are important if they were not. If they were not here, the artists work with the sales would go way down. And one day someone would have enough of that artists work and they would lose. You know that that customer and there wouldn’t be any new customers to come up if there weren’t galleries. And I’m a collector as well. And I have to see the pieces in real life. And also, as you’ve mentioned that people don’t know what the life of a gallerist is, if it’s 24 hours a day. There are a few hours in the night where I’m not getting pick when everyone’s asleep in the United States. But then, you know people are up late on the West Coast they’re up or the East Coast and I will answer a call I’ll make a sale in the middle of the night I always on call that the galleries are, you know, I’m a mother first. And I’m and relationships are important to me the gallery is my big relationship anyway I I eat and drink it I I work all day long for it. And I’m on the top of ladders and hanging things every day and and making things look beautiful and making sure that they’re in the website and in our software correctly so that I could make a sale when that time comes. There are million things to do. I love it. And it’s worth it to me and also coming up and down a ladder is not too bad for keeping you in shape and so that’s good. And and I think though without galleries that most artists with careers would peter out eventually
Eric Rhoads 1:05:23
There’s a thing called resting on your laurels. And you and I both seen it. I remember being approached by an artist one time and he said, you know, Eric, I don’t understand. He said, I became a big name. I was a pretty famous guy. I was making a great living as an artist. I sold a lot of art. And now I don’t sell anything and nothing happens. And I said, Yeah, you know why? And he said, No, I don’t know. I said you’re resting on your laurels. You are you’ve been eating and living off of reputation. You built 10 or 15 years ago, and you haven’t done anything to feed that reputation in 10 or 15 years.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:06:06
That’s right. I’ll give an example. I represent Daniel Gerhardt. And yesterday, I made a big sale for us, which was great. I was willing to drive for hours and take it to their house and let them keep it for a few days. So we made the sale together. Daniel’s really good at knowing that he has to have new clients and new collectors. And the way he does that is he keeps his work in galleries. I don’t have many pieces of his at a time. But I do have some and it’s important to him and and he’s a good name to say because he could rest on his laurels.
Eric Rhoads 1:06:56
Well for a few years, but unless you know even Even guys like Richard Schmid, you know, they’re keeping their names alive by doing books, they’re keeping visible. You know, it’s, it’s very important if you have to have visibility because, you know, as I teach in my marketing 10% of your audience is going away every year and you have to replace that 10% if you have a year like this, it might be 50% or 60%. Like 2008 and so if you’re not constantly bringing new blood in, and people are going out of the market, you know, you can become forgotten in 10 years.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:07:33
You can, you can and so that’s why they need to be in cackler. Absolutely.
Eric Rhoads 1:07:44
Well, Jane, it’s been an honor having you on the Plein Air podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.
Jane Bell Meyer 1:07:49
Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.
Eric Rhoads 1:07:52
Thanks again to Jane Bell Meyer. I think she’s a very special person. She has done so much for we artists and the plein air community. She’s a rock star in my book and I have learned so much just talking to her this time around. She’s just an amazing person. So thank you Jane and I hope you guys get to know her go to her website, and so on Get to know about the gallery. So speaking of learning, are you guys ready? For some marketing ideas?
Welcome to the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller make more money selling your art proven techniques to turn your passion into profit.
Eric Rhoads 1:08:28
In the marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions and you can send them in email them to me, [email protected] And I’ll try to answer him on here. Here’s a question from Ron in St. Louis, Missouri, Missouri who says what am I getting from gallery owners is that they are dealing with known artists and someone like myself who’s not gallery promoted or known would never get seen. What should I do? Well, Ron, first off I think the interview that we just listened to probably answers that. I hope you heard the one with Jane Bell Meyer that we just did on the plein air podcast. The reality is that what galleries want is someone who will sell everything about, you know, you want everybody to sell you want and what sells is what is known. So if you can prove to them that you will sell that’s going to give them the confidence to go after you to try someone new. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes they’ll watch you for 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 years, you just never know. And it starts by taking control of your career. You have to build your marketing yourself. You have to build your brand yourself. You have to make yourself visible by entering and winning art competitions like plein air salon, getting into shows and even starting with smaller shows to build up a reputation build up a body of work and market yourself and yes, it’s kind of the old while once I don’t need them anymore. I don’t need them, but you’ll still benefit from having them. So I hope that helps you.
Eric Rhoads 1:09:56
Next question comes from James in Denmark, who’s says you’ve mentioned marketing in your magazines a couple of times and you do so consistently which makes good sets, as you say, go where the money is. I like to say, stand in the river where the money is flowing, maybe my gut feel is that the billionaire’s, amongst your readership? are reading Fine Art connoisseur rather than plein air magazine? Can you enlighten us about which is better for artists to reach collectors? Well, I cannot enlighten you completely. Because James, it kind of depends on your strategy. But first off, let me answer that question directly and then indirectly, fine art kind of serious a high end collector magazine. Yes, I built it out by targeting wealthy billionaire level multi millionaire Upper 1% people, I’ve got lots of them. I got over 300 billionaire readers. I’ve got a lot of really, really wealthy people who have second, third fourth homes they have some of them have jets and helicopters, you know a lot of people who consider themselves buyers or collectors in the type of art that we do. tend to be which is representational. And they are a fluid and they tend to like expensive paintings but you know, sometimes they buy paintings that aren’t expensive. But planner magazine, on the other hand is subscribed to by two different groups people who follow and attend and buy from plein air events. And there are many, many, many people who go around and they follow the artist around and they go to the plein air events and so on. Artists are actually substantial buyers of art these days and we’re discovering that there’s now a blended category of plein air collectors who have become artists. This was discovered originally by plein air Eastern people who had attended year after year after year buying paintings got interested in painting and became painters. yet they’re still buying paintings and there are a lot of affluent people who use plein air painting as a as a hobby as a pastime. You know, it’s big in the baby boomer category. It’s really big and a lot of categories and a lot of professionals. A lot of doctors a lot of professionals who have plenty of money are also artists. So the myth about money starving artists isn’t necessarily true. Now there are starving artists out there, there’s no question. There are some that make their living entirely from art. But there are plenty who have money in the bank money from jobs, money who are employed, and they’re spending money. So we’re finding that planner magazine actually fulfills kind of both of those groups. So it also it’s a different kind of collector. It’s more of the people who like landscapes and who, like plein air landscapes and people who really love to follow the artist around and go to the events and so on. So it kind of depends entirely on your strategy. All right, so you got to think about the strategy. There’s not a, which is better. It kind of boils down to what you’re selling, who’s your ideal customer who’s your target market, these people might be perfect for you or not in these magazines, or maybe there’s something else you should do. But first, you have to do your homework about what you really need to reach who you need to reach who buys your art now what they all have in common. Do your homework. And if you go to YouTube, and search string Online art video I’ve done tons and tons of marketing talks on my daily nude broadcasts and a lot of marketing content is there and you can listen to those and find out a lot about that. But also there’s a lot of blog material at artmarketing.com. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful for you.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com
Eric Rhoads 1:13:23
Okay, remember to sign up for the virtual plein air experience plein air live, go to pleinairlive.com. And if you can come to the plein air convention go to pleinairconvention.com and don’t forget the end of the month is your last chance to enter the plein air salon go to pleinairsalon.com now if you have not seen my blog where I talk about art, and life and lots of other things, check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at coffeewithEric.com. You know this is always fun doing the podcast. We will do it again sometime like next week. And meanwhile I’ll see you then I’m Eric Rhoads. publisher and founder of plein air magazine. It’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected] Be sure to pick up our free 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.
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