Cory Trepanier of Caledon, Ontario, Canada is an example of an artist who goes it alone. Cory has achieved remarkable success and popularity without benefit of dealers or galleries. He’s what we like to call a rugged individualist. Like most self-made folks, he has some ideas on how to make it. In his own words, here are a few:
1) Create quality art. It all begins with creating meaningful, passionate and high quality work! If it’s not meaningful to you, how can you expect it to be meaningful to anyone else?
2) Get inspired. Hunger for excellence. Continuously seek inspiration to make your work better.
3) Have a website. A personal website is vital, but it needs to change and evolve. You can learn to build one yourself or use one of the many templates widely available.
4) Use social media. A Facebook page (business, not personal), Twitter, Google Plus, etc., are great ways to grow and connect with your audience and clients. And they’re free.
5) Develop a mailing list–anyone who comes through your studio or meets you at art shows or anywhere. It’s the power of permission-based marketing. Email your latest work to the list, every month.
6) Find a business mentor. Connect with others who are successful in other lines of business. Bounce ideas off them, pick their brains. Maybe they can re-write a proposal for you.
7) Spend at least 20-30% of your time marketing. You have to pay for this either way. Either you pay a gallery to do this for you (taking an average of 50% commission), or you put your time and effort into it. Unless people see the great art you’re making, they’ll never buy it.
8) Tell a story. Tell about your processes; how you get ideas and develop your paintings. Most people view the artistic process as something of a mystery. Leverage that, and engage your prospective clients with good stories. For many, buying art is their escape from the real world. Make it entertaining and enjoyable.
From these points you can tell that Cory is a fireball. I enjoyed Cory’s full-length movie adventure, “Into the Arctic II.” It’s breathtaking.
PS: “Rather than listening to music while you paint, listen to the sort of wisdom that can help grow your career.” (Cory Trepanier)
Esoterica: In these days of in-your-face media, product placement, and the ubiquitous infomercial, self-promotion may be the new normal. The full-length movies that Cory makes of himself give credit to Tilley Endurables, Bell Canoes, Daler-Rowney, Fredrix canvas, Eureka Tents, as well as several northern airlines, the Sony video cameras that catch the drama, and a dozen other sponsors. But the advertised product you’re most likely to notice is Cory himself, the star of what anyone can see is an exemplary life with some fine art to show for it.
Telling the story
by Dan Mosheim, Dorset, VT, USA
Cory certainly seems like an interesting guy. I would say his piece of advice #8, should be closer to the top of the list, like maybe 2.5 (after quality art and get inspired). I often feel with the furniture we make that the story that goes with the object is almost as important as the object itself. In our own home, we only have one painting that is by an artist we don’t know personally. All of our art is personal, and stories to go with them.
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by Corrine Bongiovanni, Windham, ME, USA
Seeing artists like Cory Trepanier always motivates me to do more plein air work. But in response to what spurs on my creativity? In all honesty, it’s two things. Traveling around with my camera and feeling primed to capture only small references for a potential painting. By focusing on small imagery, I’m forced to automatically break down larger scenes into sections that are interesting for shape and color and which otherwise, may have gone unnoticed.
The second thing that inspires me is this website, Painter’s Keys. It has everything for new thinking and seeing. Robert, I’m glad you’re continuing to offer the breadth and depth you’ve generated.
There is 1 comment for My Inspirations by Corrine Bongiovanni
Awestruck by Cory’s bravura
by Brenda Behr, Goldsboro, NC, USA
If I could spell my own applause for Cory Trepanier, it would be a thunderous WOW! Thank you so much for sharing with us Cory’s incredible commitment to capturing in paint our wondrous world. I am awestruck by his bravura. When I went to his Facebook page, my awe was overcome by tears by all the other artists who reacted to Cory’s commitment much as I reacted. You are so right — we do belong to a worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood of like souls. Thank you a million times for sharing with us artists who wow and inspire us to seek the next level.
Sticking to the process of art
by Terri Brewer-Parmentier
If that’s what Cory wants to do, if it works for him and he enjoys it, good for him. I want nothing less than working website and social media and peddling pictures. I guess it’s one of those “different strokes” issues. I have a “day job” which I enjoy, then I spend every extra moment painting. Sometimes people sell my stuff. When I can afford to let go of my day job and paint full time, I will. In fact, if not another painting sells, and I have to rent storage space, I will. I love the process, then I let go of the result. Some people view this as a cop out, but it works for me.
The wrong vision
by Peter Brown, Oakland, CA, USA
Artists and painters should never live in the here and now. Vita brevis, ars longa. Life is short, art is long. You toss out words. Words like: “quality,” “inspired,” “mailing list,” and “social media.” I would like to say, “Screw all of that.” An artist’s job is to reveal the world unseen. The world that cannot be captured by a camera. I hate to see talented painters who only deal with their vision of the real world.
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Listening to the right stuff
by Mike Porter, Beaverton, OR, USA
Cory Trepanier’s quote at the end of your letter doesn’t make an impact with me… what is he talking about? Podcasts on philosophy? I listen to classical music when I paint to enable my creativity and set the mood for creating something beautiful. “There is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” (Richard Bach)
There are 2 comments for Listening to the right stuff by Mike Porter
by Anonymous art dealer
Your letter and illustrations confirm my lifetime of experience in the art field. Artists who spend a high percentage of their time actively engaged in marketing, promotion, dealing with clients and making over-the-top infomercials (think Thomas Kinkade) tend to produce overworked sentimental crap. Cory Trepanier’s trailer to his movie is ludicrous. The production values actually make you laugh. The better painters are discovered by both alert galleries and sophisticated collectors. They do not have to be flagrantly advertised, however cleverly, and are diminished when they are. As a serious art dealer and owner of two galleries, I do not represent this sort of self-promoter. When overbearing commercial instincts pop in through an artist’s door, integrity goes out the window.
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.
That includes Cory Trepanier of Caledon, ON, Canada, who wrote, “I would have emailed sooner but we’re having an ice storm over here and it knocked out my satellite internet connection. Thank you for the most wonderful plug today! You are a master with words. I’ve received some very nice comments, and I hope the info helps other artists out there.”
And also Anonymous who wrote, “I recommend this book for introverts: Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by Devora Zack. We don’t want become endangered species.”
And also Joel Hernandez of Taxco, Mexico, who wrote, “Mr. Genn, you kindly illustrate so much of the work of others. Is there a possibility you might show some of your work?
(RG note) Thanks, Joel and others who have asked this question. For a good idea of recent work you might take a look at the Genn page of one of my dealers.
Enjoy the past comments below for A fireball artist…