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Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 1) By Adam Eisenstat

If a tree falls in the forest and no one writes a press release about it, does it make a sound? By the same token, if an artist creates a work and no one else experiences it, does it have any artistic impact? Is it a viable creation? The act of creation guarantees only that a work will come into existence, but this is an incomplete equation without the presence of an audience. Whenever you hear an artist say that he/she creates “just for myself,” don’t believe it. Everyone knows that the audience isn’t secondary to the artistic process — it’s a crucial, necessary component. An audience, however, does not come into being on its own; there’s an intermediary step between creating art and the formation of an audience. That step is promotion.

Many fine artists regard self-promotion as a base activity that is at odds with the creative process. In the extreme, they see it as dubious and sleazy, a mercenary endeavor that can only corrupt the purity of their vision. At best, it is a necessary evil that is totally divorced from the real business of making art. This attitude is increasingly unrealistic and burdened with the quaint notion of the artist as a gifted exile in a pristine realm, completely insulated from the world at large. More importantly, this attitude can be fatal to artists’ careers and may preclude them from realizing even the most basic level of success.

Artists are often reluctant to thrust themselves and their work into the arena of self-promotion. If they don’t harbor the prejudice that self-promotion is tainted, then they may simply dread the whole process because it is so unnatural for them and doesn’t mesh with their sensibilities. Their focus and training is on creating art, so promoting it seems like an intrusion and an endeavor for which they are wholly unprepared. This attitude assumes that art and promotion are totally distinct activities, functioning practically independent of one another.

Inherent in this view is the idea that specialists are best suited for the respective roles of artist and promoter. Yet artists who are not established rarely have the luxury of being able to completely entrust all of their promotional needs to a specialist. So, if an artist does not promote him/herself then this necessary task will go undone, in which case it is likely that the work, no matter how good it is, will not find an audience. Artists must “get their hands dirty” and lay some of the groundwork required for initiating their own careers.

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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