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Promoting Your Art like You Don't Have a Life
Making Artwork is Work
Being an artist is no easy job! So many times, people have referred to art-making as a hobby. But being a visual artist is no recreational activity! When art-making is your career, promoting your art is essential for sustaining how you make a living.
Not only do you have to promote yourself and your art, but you have to be shameless about it, especially if you are an emerging artist. Artists make art for many reasons - one being that art is a personal release of emotions or thoughts. That's all fine and dandy, but really, what's the point of making art if no one sees it?
Now, trust me - promoting yourself senselessly is no easy task. I'm still learning!
4 reasons why promoting yourself is challenging
1. You have to put yourself out there. Forget privacy! Forget being insecure! If you want people to notice your art, you practically have to spoon feed them. You have to haunt your audience - make them dream about your art because it's all they see!
2. It's exhausting. Besides the fact that there are now a million different networking sites online, making it hard to keep up with what's trending, it also means you have to be on top of your game all the time and reach as many people as possible.
3. You have to put just as much time and energy into promoting your art as you do making it. So, that means if you spend 50% of your time making art, then you should spend the other 50% of your time promoting it. Did I mention promote yourself like you have no life?
4. You will get discouraged. There are so many times I post my art on facebook with a direct link to my website where you can buy my art, and all I can think is "Don't just 'like' my art...buy it!" But then, after a week or two of shamelessly promoting my art, I almost always get a "good news" e-mail - either someone has bought several prints of my art, wants to commission me for a painting, or I'm offered an exhibition! It pays off, believe me! Just don't give up :)
So, you're shy? Aren't all artists?
Ok, maybe not all artists are shy, but I think it's safe to say that a good bit of us are pretty reclusive and prefer to just be in our studio.
I'll be the first to admit that promoting myself has not come natural for me, especially face-to-face. I'm MUCH better at telling people about my art online, but when it comes to actually talking about my art...well, if you don't already know me, you probably won't find out I'm an artist. Not from me anyway. Most times I feel awkward just randomly bringing up the fact that I'm an artist. But generally, it's just plain weird to brag about myself and my talents.
So what's a shy artist to do? Well, you keep good friends that love to brag for you! No joke. Most of the time, it's my friends that will bring up my art to strangers, and I cannot thank them enough! Of course, if you're with your friend who has just bragged about you, then you should definitely speak up and take over, because no one knows your art better than you. And you are undoubtedly passionate about what you do - people will notice this and remember you.
You can also look into hiring an art manager or promoter. Or if you're super lucky like me, one of your friends wants to get experience in being an art manager or promoter, and wants to use you to gain experience. Why, yes please!
Alternatively to talking about your art in person: make videos in the comfort of your home, all by your lonesome, and then blast the video online! This is something I have yet to do, because even the thought of people watching me on camera freaks me out - but I too shall conquer this!!!
Most importantly, your friends and loved ones should be your support group, and you should allow them to be your support group. When they nag at you for not talking about your art enough, it's because they whole-heartedly believe you are amazing and the entire world should know about you. So use their confidence in you, to give you confidence in yourself!