Monday, August 28, 2006

How Much For Your Artist?

Lately I've received a lot of emails from strangers. They begin by telling me they are "fellow artists", then, on that tenuous basis, they ask me to help them market and sell their work. I've been trying to figure out why I've found these requests so offensive, especially as I am not exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to self-promotion and I often speak frankly in public about my (mis)adventures in the so-called business-side of art.
Then it clicked. There's nothing in their emails that is actually about art, theirs or mine, and they imply that my focus is more on marketing and sales than creativity and plain old hard work.
Well, fuck 'em. I make art not only because of a passionate desire to communicate but also a jittery compulsion to make real what resides only in my imagination. And when I have a body of work that is ready to be viewed, finding an audience for it is sure as hell very different to launching a healthier breakfast cereal or a gentler washing-up liquid. There is no demographic research you can (or should) do to identify a consumer niche. Whatever some people think (including an increasing number of critics and curators) it is not about brand development and key selling propositions. Yes, I 've been guilty of being identified with this sort of attitude – mea culpa! – but now I know better. So should you.

7 comments:

crybaby said...

art for art's sake. i like it!

kaz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Just realised that comments on blogs show up in google searches. Hrmph! Must remember to use anonymous option... Kaz ;)

Kirsty Hall said...

Oh, I can relate to this one. I sometimes get emails from artists wanting me to promote their stuff. I find that I'm far more likely to be receptive if I have an existing relationship with them - i.e. they've commented on my blog or twitter. But the emails from random strangers asking me to do them a favour feel like cold calls!

While it can be nice to help out other artists, we're actually here to make OUR art not help other people market theirs.

Glove! said...

Many people have the drive to make art and many people have the acumen to sell and plug their work as necessary; few have both.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they ask you because nearly every post on this blog talks money and auction houses? On first reading it can come across more as a sales & marketing blog than as an art blog. Nice work tho'

Tina Mammoser said...

methinks Anonymous doesn't read the blog much. The posts are so often about the art, personal struggles, sexuality, your materials, etc. Criticising some posts being about money implies perhaps we artists shouldn't earn a living and celebrate our success on our public forums? Rubbish.