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07-26-2014, 11:54 AM   #1
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My Dentist wants me to put photos on her office walls

She's an artist in her own right, does stained glass artwork that she designs herself. Has had several commissions by folks that have hired her to design a transom over a door, glass doors for a fancy desk, etc.

We have always discussed artwork for the several years i have known her. Have brought in several pieces and shown her before my appointment, and she's always very supportive.

The problem is: i've joined a gallery and it keeps me as busy as i want to be. I don't really want to keep artwork up to date in her office and make extra duplicates to those that i make for this gallery. I've had artwork shows in a bank before for 2 months and sold nada but got compliments. I've had shows in a loft 'gallery" in a wine shop for about a year, would always sell a few pieces on art walk night, but the rest of the month - nada. I've had artwork in a restaurant for more than 2 years, and would always sell stuff. this was in a parallel to the wine shop venue. the amount of work got to be a drag after a while.

She;s very nice and supportive - i just don't expect to get any sales off the office. I also pay her a lot of money for the dentist work she does for my wife and myself. So i'm inclined to treat this as a business opportunity only. And hanging stuff in her office would probably be a nightmare - working around her office hours.

So what should i do. Would this really be good "exposure"??? Or time wasted. Conflicted on this one.

07-26-2014, 12:27 PM   #2
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Just say you're too overwhelmed to keep track of a temporary/rotating thing, but offer to sell her a couple prints outright. I've never seen anything for sale in a doctor's office...
07-26-2014, 12:44 PM   #3
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I rotate pieces at different shops, so I wouldn't view it as being a big deal. How many pieces is she interested in hanging? If its just one piece then its not worth the trouble. A friend of mine uses the little square QR codes under his so people can use their phones to hit his website.
07-26-2014, 01:30 PM   #4
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Usually in a case like this, it's mutually beneficial; the proprietor gets decoration, the photographer gets sales. But you're saying in this case, the benefits only go one way--she gets decoration, you get to pay for it.

So, I think you should offer a rental arrangement. She should pay you a monthly fee for the use of your photographs as decor, which perhaps could be deducted from future dental bills.

07-26-2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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Although not a sure thing--I would give her a few and a printed sheet w/ prices and then forget about it. She may decide to keep one and pay you, or a client of hers may ask, ... And if nothing directly comes of it, and you like using her, it is a professional courtesy. Basically you never close a door--enough doors and one of them will get a knock.

Oh--and I would put your gallery info. on the sheet; and/or give her some of your business cards, and perhaps include one on photo frame(s).

Last edited by dms; 07-26-2014 at 02:52 PM.
07-26-2014, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #6
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People appreciate your work: sounds like a good problem to have.
07-26-2014, 04:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
So what should i do. Would this really be good "exposure"??? Or time wasted. Conflicted on this one.
Phil, that's a tough one and I think it comes from living and showing in an artsy tourist town like PT. I'm a bit southeast of you in a not-quite-as-popular artsy place, and my photographer friends and I have this ongoing to be or not-to-be debate all the time.
I suggest you develop a showing strategy that allows you to cater to both tourists and townies and ease in new work. Different venues are good for different kinds of art. And include fallow periods because too much exposure is fatiguing for locals. The audience in the dentist's office is different from say the restaurant or a popular gallery.

M
07-27-2014, 08:33 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. Port Townsend is an interesting place. Out of the way and in low demand because of the lack of jobs, artists practically rescued the place. There are several galleries of various stripes, and even more wannabe shows in a dentist office, undertown, in a wine shop, a chiropractics office, restaurants, cafes, etc. Its fun to see. Like some of the posters, i've tried various places in displaying/selling pictures over the last 5 years. Its quite possible to do it and have a good time at it.

For truth sake, my dentist friend and i live in another nearby town. But art is art, and retail is retail. I know of two people who have displayed pics in a dentist office, i should check that out in PT and see if they actually sold anything - i sort of doubt it. Restaurants and retail shops are in one category, but professional service offices are a bit farther removed from conventional retail.

The only way i would display in the dentist office is if she was willing to pay a rental fee of some sort. A gallery is an entirely different experience in that you are working with other artists and thats a good experience. Customers come in expecting to see art and consider it for purchase. The friendship and suggestions from other artists are worth a lot. I've noticed that some of the high performing artists are involved in more than one gallery/location and in other shows/etc.

07-27-2014, 12:01 PM   #9
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I think it might work in a lot of other offices but I just can't see how it might benefit you in a medical office, particular a dentist's office. People in a dentist's office usually aren't relaxed. They're not going to pay very much attention to the artwork. The dentist it's still a place of dread for a lot of people, no matter how gentle the care has gotten. They're there because they're hurting. I honestly think that's the last place I'd want to try to sell my photos. Mental association-wise I would think it being a dentist's office, a place where people often experience pain, I would think it would have a negative effect on sales.
07-27-2014, 12:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I think it might work in a lot of other offices but I just can't see how it might benefit you in a medical office, particular a dentist's office. People in a dentist's office usually aren't relaxed. They're not going to pay very much attention to the artwork. The dentist it's still a place of dread for a lot of people, no matter how gentle the care has gotten. They're there because they're hurting. I honestly think that's the last place I'd want to try to sell my photos. Mental association-wise I would think it being a dentist's office, a place where people often experience pain, I would think it would have a negative effect on sales.
Very well described. Thanks.
07-27-2014, 01:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
People in a dentist's office usually aren't relaxed. They're not going to pay very much attention to the artwork.
Unless a calming landscape, printed large, is mounted on the ceiling directly above the chair.
07-31-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I think it might work in a lot of other offices but I just can't see how it might benefit you in a medical office, particular a dentist's office. People in a dentist's office usually aren't relaxed. They're not going to pay very much attention to the artwork. The dentist it's still a place of dread for a lot of people, no matter how gentle the care has gotten. They're there because they're hurting. I honestly think that's the last place I'd want to try to sell my photos. Mental association-wise I would think it being a dentist's office, a place where people often experience pain, I would think it would have a negative effect on sales.
you "experience pain" doing things like getting your teeth cleaned? wow... i'd suggest that you get a new dentist, because no dental procedure should ever be painful... uncomfortable maybe, but never painful.

when i'm sitting in my dentists office, i always check out all of the photos on the walls, in detail... but maybe that's the photog in me.

if nothing else, this is an opportunity to barter photos for dental work; why limit your thinking to just a selling opportunity.
08-01-2014, 07:03 PM   #13
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My dentist is himself an amateur photographer who likes to make images of his tropical vacations (landscapes, scuba diving). He has some of his own images on the walls as well as some similar kinds of shots he has bought from others. I find the images very pleasing (and calming) and suspect that many patients do too. I doubt that people would want to buy images off of the walls, but I bet that some would be interested in seeing a webpage with more images. If you put some up in her office, perhaps you can put up a short artist's bio, with small self-portrait, a website URL, and a stated willingness to sell images. That, and have her put out some of your business cards. If only one patient is led to your work, it still might be worth it. Let us know what you decide and how well it works out. Maybe I'll approach my dentist....
08-01-2014, 10:21 PM   #14
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When you're starting out trying to find places to show your work, you do a lot of hustling in approaching various venues. At least, my brother and I did. But i'm through that process and now have a gallery that i pay rent at which will show anything i want to put up.

So my decision is to work on new photographic work for show at a gallery, rather than spend time at a distraction like the dentist. If i didn't have any other place, it might be worth while pursuing. But as it is.....
08-01-2014, 10:47 PM   #15
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Cleaning my teeth can be uncomfortable because I have sensitive teeth and a medical condition that affects my teeth. I'm also strangely unaffected by most numbing drugs usually they don't work on me until several hours after the dentist wants them to. I have a very small jaw besides and the medical condition thing makes everything swollen gland-wise inside my mouth. My dentist is pretty good. She's as gentle as she can be but even so it's not that uncommon for me to experience discomfort or even real pain at the dentist's even now.

If she has to do anything major, and unfortunately there has been a lot of "major" stuff done in terms of my dental care, she usually puts me completely out. I'm really good about taking care of my teeth, always have been. I even had braces as a teen, that I paid for, but the medical thing, it's really rough on my teeth and it's really cost me thus far. I don't wear dentures yet, and likely won't because it would be way too uncomfortable for me, but it's very likely that I will lose more teeth than I'd like. I'm watching the whole dental implants thing with interest. My condition isn't ideal for that either but that's the route I may have to go as I lose teeth.

Most people don't have my autoimmune thing going on but a lot of people still have major dental issues and sensitive teeth and even gentle care can be pretty hard in cases like that. I can't remember it not hurting actually even when I was a kid. No matter how gentle they try to be it's just plain painful for me, everything from cleaning teeth onwards...
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