Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A couple of days ago, I came across a marketing blog that referred to my much-publicised, public declaration of artistic and commercial independence and an attitude I summed in a self-penned catch-phrase: Art Is War. The blog's author, Cory Huff, works as a 'Blogging and Social Media Specialist' for a marketing firm, Netbiz.com. In his blog, Huff co-opts my phrase, using it as the title for an event he is organising called the Art Is War Workshop. The workshop promises to explore the key elements of my success and the success of others like me. I don't know Huff. I certainly didn't give him permission to use my name to spruik his own schtick. I have nothing to do with the event. In discussing how to circumvent a system in which art dealers are (as I see it) predatory middle men, Huff promotes his own services as a middle man despite having no deep experience of art. The workshop is free, a common strategy among commercial 'mentors' to generate sales of further information and paid guidance. However, everything an artist needs to know is freely available online already, not least from my blog and the interviews I give (for which a very complete Bibliography on my web site provides links), as well as blogs such as Hugh McLeod's smart Gaping Void. Both Hugh and I make ourselves very accessible to those wanting to know more.There are those who innovate, then there are those who follow behind making money talking about – and completely missing the point of – what we do and why. More and more art marketing sites are springing up, targeting gullible artists and artisans who want to sell their work online. Some are positioned as services by artists for artists. Others are unashamedly opportunistic middle-men with smooth patter and no real knowledge or experience of art at all. Oddly, none waste much time on art itself – let alone exploring the core importance of creating a body of work. And yet the concepts of an artist's work are integral to the ways in which each artist should share it. (Which is also to say that what works for one artist might not work for another). Articulating the work should be the main focus of using new media, with sales a welcome side-effect, not the main purpose.