Meet Steve Haskamp. He’s an honest-to-goodness, full-time artist.
(He’s the creative sort with cool ideas you should add to your benefit auction donations wish list.)
If you visit his blog, you’ll view his designs which are used on greeting cards at Target, Trader Joe’s, children’s clothing, books, prints, tote bags, magazines, housewares, and a ton of other stuff. I met Steve through his partner, Dale, who is good friend of mine from college.
Steve has one of those jobs I find interesting. Each day, he sits in his studio and creates images.
The images are sent to his agents. They review the designs and promote them to companies they think might use the image: a clothing manufacturer, a wallpaper company, a book publisher, etc.
On occasion, Steve is asked to create designs for a specific project. He was recently asked to create some illustrations of President Obama’s new family dog.
Two weeks ago I stayed with Dale and Steve while attending a business conference in San Diego. I asked Steve to give me the artist’s perspective as to what makes for a good benefit auction item.
Here’s what he said…
The easiest item for an artist to donate to a benefit auction is an existing print, signed by the artist.
“I understand,”I said, “But that’s not necessarily the most sought-after item because some guests might not dig your work.”
And Steve – being the practical kind of artist he is – agreed and went on to give his next thought…
Let the artist chose his or her own medium.
Good idea! Confirm it with the artist. If the artist works in watercolors, you should have the understanding that you’ll be donated a watercolor.
The artist might have a particular interest he’s developing. Ask if he does. The artist might be more willing to donate if he/she can make a donation around a new-found interest.
For instance, Steve has become more interested in drawing pet portraits. He said he’d be inclined to donate that. The winning bidder could submit a photo of their pet, and Steve would create an image for them.
(Hint: Great item! Jot it down for your auction procurement list.)
Don’t expect a 39″ masterpiece. A 5″ x 7″ custom work is a more typical size.
That makes sense. Big = a lot more work.
I told Steve that a good auction item for any benefit auction is the opportunity to receive a sketch of your home. The winning bidder provides a photo of their home, and the artist provides them with a sketch.
Steve thought that this would be something that most artists could do. (Hint: Add this to your procurement list.)
I asked Steve if he was bombarded with requests to donate to benefit auctions.
“I have no problem saying ‘no’ when I need too!” he said.
This recalls the adage that ‘you won’t get anything unless you ask.’Don’t be afraid to ask.
And of course, respect the artist if they decline to donate. It might be that he or she can’t make a donation “this” year, but keep them on your prospect sheet for the following year.
Thanks for your insight and the tour of your studio, Steve!