- by Barney Davey
It is okay to feel nostalgic for what was, but don’t let it stop you from moving forward on what is.
I met Contemporary Folk and Urban Pop artist Anne Leuck Feldhaus on Facebook and am glad I did. Shortly after that encounter, I saw a mention from her about her first billboard.
Immediately, there were two things about the notice that impressed me. To begin, the implied confidence when one reads, "My First Billboard" is great! It says the artist is already thinking there are more in the future.
Confidence is contagious folks, let yours out of the bag. And, if you have to, fake it until you make it. Outsiders can't see you shaking on the inside. You will always be your own best promoter. No one can ever explain what is going on with your art or your career they way you can. Just don't let yourself get in the way.
The second thing I like about Anne's billboard is that it is striking and unusual. I realize if you are a landscape or portrait artist, you may have less opportunity for landing a billboard like Anne, but that should not stop you from seeking unique ways to get your art into the public eye. If you are a sports artist, can you find posters, programs or promotional literature in your area to vie for? If you are a pet artist, how about finding the local Humane Society, a large vet practice or an animal shelter group to work with?
There are synergies and opportunities just waiting for you to find them and to do something about them once you do. Get the idea for the connection first, think it through how your art can make a difference to the group you want to pitch. Don't think that because you don't know anyone that you are stuck. Last August, I published a post, Six Degrees of You. It offers lots of suggestions on how you can use your current relationships to reach out far beyond what you might consider possible.
Start to train yourself to think about ways to get noticed that are out of the mainstream. There is nothing wrong with pursuing galleries, building a following on Facebook or Twitter, or having an online presence on any of the myriad art sites aimed at collectors and consumers. Working at those activities is advisable, especially when one sees what have been traditionally reliable venues slipping closer to obsolescence than ever.
The reports from attendees and exhibitors at tradeshows this year have not been optimistic. One can count see the size of the venues dropping and feel the attendance has grown smaller. The trade magazines in their current slim sizes bear witness to their own lessened importance and impact in the market place. While they are not moribund, they are far from the peaks when a consistent program with them would reliably drive traffic.
While in the past it has been important to promote your art in creative ways. Now, it is critical. The attention span of consumers is fractured more than ever. The readership of newspapers and magazines is dwindling. Network audiences are growing smaller while online video viewing is increasing along with time spent on social media sites. Many expect to get breaking news on Twitter, not CNN and that trend is growing.
Thinking about and acting upon how to get your most striking compelling image or images placed or used in unusual ways ought to be moved to the top of your art business promotion criteria. It is okay to feel nostalgic for what was, but don't let it stop you from moving forward on what is. People are always going to want to own art. That is no different from the past. What is different is how they will first encounter art and artists. Seek ways to uniquely promote your art, you will be glad you did.