Marketing yourself as an artist is fraught with issues. And the most obvious is something I’ve talked about before: the lack of time or attention available for a piece of art (or anything).
Recommending a show, movie, book, painting, album, what-have-you to someone, while a common enough practice, is not something which is pleasant a lot of the time now. It means more things a person must keep track of in their life. Keeping up with an artistic medium is like a second job.
And, so, to get out art for sale, you are fighting for attention; you are marketing—or at least trying to go about marketing—right into people’s insular bubble of media.
And there’s another hurdle. I promise at the end I will have some positive spin on this, so, don’t worry, but there are more issues. As an artist, you must somehow get into those people’s spaces—and the most obvious way is using social media.
But, as anyone who connects to largely populated artist spaces on social media can tell you, self-promo is rampant. Many (but not all) are pushing to sell copies of something—which is understandable. As a writer, I totally get it. And it’s not even always a bad experience having artists sell their wares like you are walking in an old-time, crowded open-air market.
But there are alternatives to the standard sales pitch. Or, at least, supplementary additions. People do make money making art. They really do, no matter what naysayers may say. And the other ways to do this exists on advice articles all over the internet.
But I’ll condense a few of them here. I’ll list a few ways to market art outside of the normal outflowing promotion. But, I must warn, that some of it is difficult to do, even if it is effective. If you want to see your paintings hung in houses, and your statues erected around Clearwater Beach, if you want your novels to be on the shelves of little shops like One Stoppe Shoppe: then you must play the long game.
With few exceptions, this is the truth of the matter. This marketing, perhaps the best kind, the one that is not spamming until one becomes white noise, is a slower process.
You are trying to create trust with this method. Friendly vibes. What you must do, is create a level of interest and pleasantness. Not a shill, though. Not a cash grab. Your intention matters here. Build your P.R. by interacting with the customers not as customers, but as friends. And then long-term sales can come.
Be personable. Human. Responsive.
Do anything you can to make it feel like you are a friend and not a storefront mega-corporation. Repeat customers and true-blue fans will always trump the random in and out trickle which spam methods net erratically, if at all.
Also, and this is one of the most important parts despite it coming at the end of the article: you must focus your effort on the product. Even the often punchline of fast food jokes McDonald’s makes sure that at the very least, at the absolute minimum, their food tastes good and smells good.
The most impressive marketing campaign in the world will peter out if there is not much to the product. If there is not something about it that truly endears itself to the intended buyers.
Marketing art is a must for an artist who wants to make a living making art. And while alternatives may work, you can do it by being more human. By being more creative. As sociable as you can manage.
Just like creating artwork, good marketing is a matter of the heart. And of people. So, treat it that way.