Thursday, March 24, 2011

More guerilla marketing--exploiting public exposure through charities

"Hollander", Damien Hirst´s auction offering

Vincent van Gogh and I share one thing: We´ve each sold only one painting.

Mine went to the animal charity Kate Morris and I co-founded about four years ago, Canillas Animal Trust (C.A.T.), in an agonizing six-week raffle ticket sale at the Albaida Restaurante in Canillas de Albaida, Andalusia, where I live.

We live-trap, neuter and return feral cats to our village or campo where we nabbed them, attempting zero population growth in our feral cat colonies. We have neutered 128 cats in three and one-half years.

One of C.A.T.´s beneficiaries

Damien Hirst´s high profile publicity gift to a charity fundraiser for the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, a painted Dutch bike, estimated to snare 20,000 quid, goes to auction 29 March at the Institute, along with a wide range of Psychedelica. 
Hirst calls his give-away bicycle, "Hollander," among 30 works on sale, 13 of them painted bikes. A new trend?

You can preview Psychedelica in the Upper Gallery of the Institute until 27 March.

Jake and Dinos Chapman, Mat Collishaw along with Ai Weiwei also donated art.

Good on you, Damien, Jake, Dinos, Mat and Ai and others.

Whatdaya bid for an original
Stefan van Drake cat?
Just when I thought Hirst is a money-grubbing, pseudo-prank artist, armed with a well greased PR machine, he extends generosity, hope and humanity through his "Hollander."

Who knows, it might bring more than 100,000 quid like his guitar.

I wish I could have offered for the ICA auction my original, psychedelica cat and CD rack thing. 

How much would it be worth if Damien painted it?

I didn´t offer my painting of a campesino for the publicity or exposure.

But let´s be honest, any aspiring, talented and wannabe emerging artist would love the publicity. 

Every bit of exposure helps.

Untitled, Alessandro Rolandi
(Not part of ICA fundraiser) 

I did it for the cats, although there´s an element of pride that it sold at all as I did it in a flash of high-energy brush strokes, acrylic on canvas, in one four-hour session.

C.A.T. netted all 133 Euros, that´s 133 raffle tickets, and I felt good someone had fallen in love with my acrylic painting and bought 33 tickets to stack the deck in her favor.

Seems everyone except a few unfortunate cats enjoyed the fundraiser.

I have given away at least 15 of my paintings to people I like who liked them.

Am I crazy? (My survival does not depend on selling art.)

But seriously, you can do some heavy duty guerilla marketing through local charity auctions or other fundraisers.

Raffled off for 133 Euros, acrylic on canvas, "Campesino," (2007) 55 x 68 cm., by Stefan van Drake

Make sure you promote your gift tastefully but effectively in media mentions, or tie it to one of your shows, preferrably ongoing or opening soon.

Spend little and mix much.

The auction itself is a good way to meet people and hand out cards. Direct face to face marketing works best.

Work the crowd. 

I know many artists are introverts and glad-handing isn´t their thing, not mine, either, but a genuine interest in other people and a quiet mention of your gift could induce a gracious request for your most artfully created and most dignified card. 


Some who like your work may end up among your blue-chip collectors.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Come to Andalusia for a walking holiday, a week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: or

Digitalized photograph, "Along the Goat Trail, " by Sefan van Drake

You may reach me at please alert me to any arts news tips, background info or happenings you think may interest us all.

You can also call me in Spain: (34) 951 067 703, and from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

Take a 3:26 ArtTraveler video journey into the eyes of a cat and its animalist painter, Kate Morris. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, illuminating ideas. Will take them to heart. Ireen Potter New Zealand.