Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 1)
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 artists regard self-promotion as a base activity, 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 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 that are not established rarely have the luxury of being able to 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.
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