Promotion needn't be a purely functional aspect of one’s creative output; it has dimensions that go well beyond standard tactics like creating a promo card, assembling a mailing list, posting online about exhibitions, etc. In the best of circumstances, it can also help define and enrich the art and the artist. For example, the artist statement, a fundamental promotional tool, is also a means of exploring biographical elements in an artist’s work, and bringing to light influences and ideas that add texture to the work.
Interviews and other press coverage can also help add layers of meaning to the work and life of an artist. While artists often see the media as simply a vehicle for increasing their exposure, it also serves as a forum for their ideas, and a means for giving context to their art. Artist statements, viral videos, and other tactics can work double duty for artists, both promoting and defining their art. If approached with a similar care and seriousness as the art per se, these tactics may come to be seen by the audience and/or critics as important components of an artist’s entire body of work.
Self-Promotion Is Self-Discovery
Self-promotion is not just about selling your work, it’s also about selling yourself. This requires an artist to delve into some basic questions about herself: Who am I? Where am I from? What image of myself do I want to project? The answers to these questions have deep relevance to the work itself, and show how one's persona, promotion, and aesthetic are intertwined.
For most artists, self-promotion is never less than a challenge; it means presenting and explaining their work to others. It takes discipline and clarity to do it well, and definitely confidence to sustain the effort. Such an exercise, though, can be invaluable, allowing the artist to see firsthand how others perceive their work, and learn surprising new things about it themselves. Self-promotion may thus be a route to artistic discovery.
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