To the Artist in Search of a Marketing Strategy (Part 1)

A Fundamental Truth: personal feelings can never truly be shared or adequately communicated—no one knows how/what you felt when you were working on a piece. If you try to tell them, rhapsodizing about your passion, the transcendence that enveloped you in the throes of creation, they’ll simply interpret those feelings through the prism of their own experience. The creator’s feelings are one thing, the audience’s feelings another—the twain shall never meet. The best you can hope for—and it’s definitely something—is to provide a space for others to intensify/explore their own thoughts and feelings.

Be allusive, use telegraphic language; suggest rather than explain or expound—it’s more alluring. And while you’re at it, banish forever the words “journey” and “therapy.” These are clichés, and worse, indicators of self-absorption. Using too many words like that, or just a few in the wrong place, may prompt the viewer to see your art as clichéd and self-absorbed—even if it’s truly amazing. (That’s why bad promotion is a scourge: it distorts the audience’s perception.)

The details of your life/struggle are not inherently interesting. Really, who cares? What is your “journey” compared to those of Picasso, Da Vinci et al.? Not much. However, the relationship of your work to the history of art is something else—that’s big. Your work is part of the same vast dialogue/continuum as the titans of art (more or less, per its originality/vigor/etc. and recognition).

Mute the personal, accentuate the universal (“I am but a vehicle . . .”). Survival is dreary, art is significant. Communicate the latter truth to the audience through your promotion, so that they may appreciate your work in a larger context.

Promotion is a frame through which artwork is seen. It is a guideline, a means of orienting the viewer. It should be completely unobtrusive; never showy or superfluous.

Click label below (Marketing Strategy for Artists) for Parts 1-3. Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.

To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

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