Welcome to the Cooper Studio, Jefferson, Iowa, where I am pondering that old geometry rule about the shortest distance between two points being a straight line. And no, we are not discussing paint-on-canvas kinds of lines today, we are talking about conceptual lines (whew, lift your feet, it's getting deep) and thoughts of art marketing.
Conceptual lines. And that's where the problem begins. Artists are by nature visual people, right? We like real lines. Lines we can see. What are we supposed to do with a conceptual line that's just "out there". We're supposed to be able to see it's reality, even though it's not even there. Dios mio.
Are you ready for my point of contention? I don't think conceptual lines behave well in the geometry classroom. I think conceptual lines ignore the fact that they are supposed to go straight. At least when we are talking about the conceptual lines in art marketing.
Let me share two links to excellent posts that got me started on thinking these deviant thoughts.The first, written by Lori Woodword, is titled The Future Of Art Marketing. http://canvoo.com/blog/23251/the-future-of-art-marketing In the article Lori discusses the future need for galleries representing artists versus artists representing themselves online.
Then you need to go read Olivia Alexander's thought provoking post at http://oliviaalexander.com/blog/23405/challenges-of-the-present-day-artist Olivia mentions her own art marketing is now on a 3 to 1 ratio with painting. Yup folks, that's 3 for the marketing, 1 for the painting. AND don't pretend that's not your story as well. I spent the entire day yesterday "marketing" my art at the Octagon (Ames, Iowa) Art Festival. One way or the other art marketing soaks up an amazing amount of hours.
Okay, now we need to get back to the geometry of this whole mess. I've plotted the two points: PointA (The Future Of Art Marketing) and PointB (Challenges Of The Present Day Artist) Olivia talked about taking an internet marketing "fast" while Lori wrote about limited gallery role partnered with go-it-on-your-own marketing. Surely those are the extremes, the opposite points, right? Quick! Draw a straight line between those two points! Right---it aint gonna happen. I think reality says that if you made that conceptual art marketing line into a visual one, you would see that it hooks and curls and detours all over the place. Quite possibly there are even some road blocks and maybe even a few dead end signs on that conceptual line-turned visual.
So, you are an artist. Where do you belong on that line? Are you on the hook part where you love meeting and greeting patrons and telling them about your art? Maybe you don't need galleries so much. Are you the artist who anguishes over not getting enough studio time? Maybe you are supposed to be hanging out on that conceptual line curl where galleries are oh-so-important. Maybe you are the artist who still has to try a little of both the conceptual line curls and hooks until one of them hits a road block sign, and sends you the other direction. Not a pretty thought, is it, that road block?
Which brings us full circle to my parting shot. (Don't you love how we just came "full circle" in a geometry discussion of two points and a not-so-straight line?!) IF we were all alike, we would paint exactly the same paintings, and we could all market them in exactly the same way. Fact of the matter is, we aren't, we won't, and we can't. Just like painting, we need to find our style, our niche. Find out what works for this ONE artist.
Somewhere on that not-so-straight conceptual line of art marketing, somewhere in between internet fasting and full bore self marketing, is the place that likely has your name on it. How do you find it? It's just like developing your painting style---you have to study, practice, experiment. Oh, and you have to expect a few road blocks and dead end signs---hopefully not too many. Good luck in your search.