Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 3)

Artistic creation and effective promotion are not completely separate. Some of the same qualities that make good art — such as clarity, insight and directness — are those involved in good promotion. The artist who is good at self-promotion is generally one who can put some of those same qualities into the service of amplifying the work and expanding its audience; the promotion will be successful because it evokes the power of the art and hints at its further pleasures and revelations.

Promotion is driven by the artist’s intent: Is he/she more interested in cultivating an audience or a market? Is it more about the art or the money? Not all methods of promotion are created equally, and different approaches are appropriate for different  intentions.

The choices artists make in how they promote themselves often have a major impact on how their work is perceived. In a sense, promotion is a framework for the artist’s oeuvre, and the decisions behind the promotional approach have an importance that may be equal to some of their artistic decisions. For example, placing one’s work in a forum that inspires mockery rather than respect may fundamentally alter an audience’s attitude about the work and sabotage one’s effort to be taken seriously as an artist. Press exposure in less than reputable media may diminish even the best work in the eyes of an audience. Some opportunities for promotion can do more harm than good, so care must be taken.

The diligence and savvy an artist devotes to promotion will determine how effective that promotion is and, ultimately, how successful he/she may become. This will also play a large role in determining whether the art itself can bloom in an environment clouded by issues that have nothing to do with art. In a society saturated with commerce, and in an art world reflecting those values, the work that will stand out may be that which effectively deflects the more vulgar aspects of hype, while still employing deliberate promotional tactics. In other words, the most effective art promotion may be aggressive, yet avoid the flagrant hard sell. Promotion that doesn’t seem like promotion is a route to achieving the sort of mystique barred to those whose work is considered too commercial. This is the strategy — or anti-strategy — at the heart of the elusive “buzz.”

Copyright © 2009 by Adam Eisenstat

Adam Eisenstat is a professional writer with extensive experience writing for artists (artist statements, bios, grant essays, etc.). To learn more about how Adam can help you create powerful written communications that will advance your work, contact him at: adameisenstat@aol.com or visit his online portfolio at www.mediabistro.com/AdamEisenstat.

Adam Eisenstat

917.282.8949

adameisenstat@aol.com

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