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As an artist, promoting yourself can be scary and it can create a feeling of bragging. But hey! You are not bragging. You are giving and sharing your gifts with the world. You are sharing ideas, art pieces and stories that can influence or change a person’s perception of the world.
“Perhaps I should begin by saying I am probably the worst person in the world to give advice on how to promote yourself on social media, so I will not do that”, says Nick Gammon. However, he shares some useful insights that relate to the “offline” world.
Nick thinks one simple thing really matters: focus. Firstly, focus on your work and then focus on what you want to do with it. For example, if you like to organise a one person show with Larry Gagosian, you have to realise that it is a big leap. So, you have to focus on how that could happen: what steps would you have to take, which hoops would you have to jump through to get that big exhibition or something like it? The trick is to focus on what you can reasonably achieve, so set realistic goals and work towards it.
According to Nick, one of the best ways to promote yourself is to work with artists and galleries that are in your circle, who are your contemporaries.
Melissa agrees with Nick’s statement, but adds an online aspect to it as well. “I have found Instagram to be a great way to connect to other artists. Finding other artists that support each other makes me feel part of something bigger”, she said.
Work together, collaborate with the people you know, make exhibitions and new galleries with them. Also, and this not a contradiction, remember to keep focus on the thing within your work that is independent and separate.
Justin A. Curmi (also known as Political Odyssey) is researching and interpreting data for political organisations. “I looked backwards to go forward, and yes, I have noticed my decision lead me to one non-paying field to another. Nonetheless, I get to work on my vision and ideas rather than another’s vision and ideas. So, I gathered an intermediate level understanding about the art markets through history, the responses to them and the art pieces that were sold”, Justin said.
He learned two courses of action:
1. A short-term approach is one that does everything that appeases the sentiments of the given time, which may be more profitable and beneficial.
2. A long-term approach is one that tries to go against the current sentiments of the given time, which may or may not pay off. Mostly depends on the intellect of the artist.
Justin also said that going to places where the people are gathering and communicating is useful in promoting yourself as well. From there, you should learn the language of the gathering spot and connect with the people around.
For Melissa, art is a form of therapy. She believes that the only way to truly leave a mark is to be your true self. “There are so many talented artists, so how can I stand apart? Only by being my honest naked self”, she said. She thinks that she is not the greatest artist alive, however, there is no one like her. If others can see and appreciate that, it is a great blessing!
Melissa thinks that we can all agree that in this age of technology, utilising online sources is a great way to get yourself seen by eyes that might otherwise never get to see your work. That being said, she still thinks that good old fashioned word of mouth works as well. To give you an example, she was able to donate a piece to a charity gala event. Not only was she able to donate to a great cause, but in the process she was able to have her art seen by possible bidders.
“You have to put yourself out there and not be afraid of what anyone thinks. Some will love me, some will not get me at all and that is okay. That is art.”