Artistic creation and effective promotion are not mutually exclusive. 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.
The choices an artist makes in how he promotes himself often have a major impact on how his work is perceived. These choices are driven by the artist’s intent: Is he 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 equal, and certain approaches correspond to certain goals.
Promotion is a framework for the artist’s oeuvre, and promotional decisions have an importance that may be equal to artistic decisions. For better or worse, the effort an artist devotes to marketing may determine success or failure, and whether the art can bloom in an environment clouded by issues that have nothing to do with art. In a culture of saturation, with an art world reflecting those values, the work that stands out may be that which deflects some of the vulgarity, while still being promoted intentionally. In other words, the most effective art promotion may be aggressive, but avoid the hard sell. Promotion that doesn’t seem like promotion is a path to achieving the sort of mystique barred to those whose work is considered too commercial (or even worse, dull).
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