TALKING ART & ITS FUTURE WITH THE FORMER MINISTER FOR CULTURE, COMMUNICATIONS & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES:
Ed Vaizey is a very familiar name for those of us involved in the world of arts, particularly in the United Kingdom, where Mr Vaizey was Minister for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries between 2010 and 2016. A vocal supporter of the arts in the UK, he has also served as a Minister in the Department for Culture and Department for Business since 2014, focusing on the digital industries.
A regular media columnist and political commentator, Mr Vaizey has contributed comment pieces for The Guardian since 1998, along with editorials for the London Evening Standard. We recently spoke to the former Minister for Culture, in light of BREXIT and its implications for the art world, as well as the importance of digital marketing for art galleries and art brands.
Coshamie: Given the UK’s impending separation from the EU, how do you think the UK art sector will fare going forward, particularly where government funding is concerned?
“I think the art sector faces a number of challenges,” said Mr Vaizey. “By far the biggest is access to talent – so many museums and galleries rely on attracting talented Europeans. The second is customs regulations – the ability to move art around – but there may be an opportunity here, depending on how the ULK sets tariffs after Brexit, to tap into the global art trade.”
“And there may be an additional opportunity – droit de suite was imposed on us, it will probably stay, but we can avoid future European regulation that impacts on the arts.”
Coshamie: What do you think we’re currently missing on the UK’s art scene and what could be done to support emerging artists?
“I think the big problem is access – museums and galleries need to work much harder to support emerging artists and ensure that people from all walks of life get the opportunity to see and appreciate art.”
Coshamie: Given TEFAF’s recent Art Market Report, a substantial amount of arts and antiques sales have moved from auction houses to private sales and online. With that in mind, what importance do you place on digital marketing for artists and art galleries in the UK?
“Digital marketing is essential,” said Mr Vaizey. “Artsy and Artfinder show people are much more willing to buy online, and this trend will only continue. Artists can now market themselves directly to the purchaser, and many more should be doing so.”
Coshamie: Would you encourage digital marketing education for artists and galleries in the UK?
“Yes – people think it is easy, but you need to understand things like analytics, and know when and where and what to post.”
Coshamie: Would you like to tell us a little bit about the art projects/programmes that you’re currently involved in or supporting?
“I’m backing the National Youth Theatre, which supports young actors, and BRITDOC, which supports documentary filmmakers. I want to help them raise funds and improve their profile,” explained Mr Vaizey.
Coshamie: our newsletter is a treasure to some, for art news and insights – what is it you wish to achieve with it, specifically, and who is the audience that you’re targeting with it?
“I’ve no idea! I started it 10 years ago, and it has 7,000 loyal subscribers, so I feel obliged to keep doing it. I read it myself to stay up-to-date.”
Truth be told, so do we. From what we can see, there are two main challenges that the art world seems to be faced with for the years to come.
As the next two years will further define the road that Britain will take on its way out of Europe, we will have to pay attention to Brexit negotiations as far as the art sector is concerned.
In the meantime, a stronger digital marketing approach on behalf of art brands and galleries will most likely support growth and sales, as more and more buyers are moving online.
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.