“Artists don’t just create art,” explains Coco Dávez from her Madrid studio, “they need to be accountants, secretaries, managers, PR-experts and then find time amidst all of that to paint,” she adds with a breath of exasperation. Talking on the eve of her latest exhibition ‘Faceless,’ the 26-year-old illustrator is no stranger to the daily travails confronting young artists every day.
The art world has certainly come a long way since the era of Van Gogh – who sold just a single painting during his lifetime. Over twelve decades since his death in 1890, the global market, fueled by small savvy galleries and blockbuster international fairs has seen worldwide art sales climb to record highs of US $54 billion.
From her small studio in the Spanish capital’s Salesas district, Coco Dávez is busy trying to grab her own slice of the growing pie.
The artist understands the power of the internet; her first break came in the form of an email from Swedish artist platform PrendasPublicas who requested some of her work after seeing one of her Facebook posts.
Since then, she has procured a colourful social media presence, particularly on Instagram, believing it has been an indispensable tool in capturing the attention of both fans and potential customers alike. “It’s an incredibly visual medium where you can curate the colour, texture and signature style of your brand; this makes it a natural fit for an artist,” says Dávez, who admits that maintaining her online presence – from Facebook to Instagram – take up a considerable chunk of her time. “It’s worth it, because the exposure has its rewards.”
Every week, Dávez receives around a dozen online sale enquiries about her illustrations and paintings, but successful sales have been limited to European countries, and often rely on tedious bank transfers. “Using Bloombees to streamline the entire process has made life a lot easier, particularly for the sale of prints and posters – which at just €20 and €35 each – can take up a lot of time, but the financial recompense is much smaller.”
With over 34.8k followers on Instagram, Dávez is also turning traditional sales practices on their head, eschewing the need for constant gallery shows for a more direct and daily exhibition of her work on social networks. “As an artist, it’s still important to show in a physical space, and I prepare at least one show per year, but on Instagram I’m able share work every single day,” she says, adding that galleries also have the added inconvenience of taking a substantial 50% commission. “This just prompts artists to raise the price-tag of their work,” she says.
“Using Bloombees to streamline the entire process has made life a lot easier.”
Coco Dávez has come a long way since first committing pencil to paper as a professional illustrator at the young age of twenty-one. Today, she divides her colourful brushstrokes between sustaining an impressive one woman-empire that has allowed her to continue doing what she loves and survive as a successful, financially-independent artist.
“The rise of new technological tools – particularly social networks and now Bloombees – has helped artists become more independent and profitable than ever,” she says in an upbeat tone. “Ultimately this means I can focus on doing what I love most – creating art.”
*This blog post was written by our guest writer Liam Aldous, journalist and Spain correspondent for the publication Monocle.