|Just like a Herd of Crippled Turtles|
Yesterday, as I was surfing my Facebook account I came across a post from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) had just posted a picture of some burnt toast. When I realized that this picture of "Burnt Toast" had over 1500 shares my mouth dropped. I just shook my head and thought about the fact that if I posted a picture of some toast that I had burnt, I might expect a snide comment or two from one or more of my kids, but that would be the extent of my viral TOAST POST. Of course I haven't published a cookbook or host a cooking show but the fact here is that some people have achieved a level of internet presence that brings them recognition and a following.
Probably one of the hardest parts of becoming a successful artist is the aspect of self promotion. Now other artist may disagree with me but it has been my experience that many artist do an insufficient job in this department, if they do anything at all with marketing, branding and promotion. We have all heard the story of the Turtle and the Hare. We learned as small children, that steady progress towards your the goal is what you want or you will quickly become discouraged or distracted if your expectations for your success are not paced and planned. It has been my experience that often many artists are like hanging with a group of crippled turtles. I mean if they are making any type progress towards a goal, it's so slow that you can't see any measurable difference in their success. They are crippled by their insecurities and not wanting to talk about themselves. They can be so creative minded that there isn't an ounce of business sense rolling around in their heads. They are all grouped together just waiting for some miracle from heaven or a gallery owner or a collector to discover them and push them into the spotlight. They have no website, blog or social media presence. They acknowledge that they need to do this but that is about as far as it goes. There isn't any MAGIC formula, only HARD WORK!
You may have a fabulous product but unless you are out their always pushing yourself and your art then your chances of ever breaking out from the pack of other qualified and talented artists are about as good as being struck by lightening while witnessing a grand slam at the final game of a World Series. Surround yourself with positive examples and do your research.
I have been an active artist in a co-op art gallery in the heart of the Las Vegas Art District for almost 3 years now and during that time I have seen a wide variety of very talented artists come and go. The excitement they have as they are hanging their art on the wall for the first time is usually soon distinguished after just a couple of months of no sales. Their work, while lovely is non-labeled, hanging in ill-suited frames, if framed at all and no where on the wall can you find their name. They don't show up for events or try to engage the public if they are present. Understand that I didn't do all these things at the beginning either but have gradually learned that all are very important. Some artist can sell their work on their skills alone, but most of us have to sell ourselves first and build a relationship with a potential collector. The art buyer wants to feel as if they have a personal connection to me as the artist. They want to know my STORY behind the artwork before they make that decision to buy and it is my job to give them that.
My sales are not where I want them to be but they have doubled in 2015. With God's help, 2016 has my name all over it...and I'm ready to greet you when you walk into the City of the World Gallery at 1229 S. Casino Center on a First Friday. My name is hanging on a banner above my work and I my bio, complete with a picture of me is hanging on the wall. There is also a stack of colorful business cards sitting prominently on the wall waiting for you to just pick one up.
Leave me a comment because I would love to hear any SECRETS to marketing success that you want to share with us STARVING ARTISTS. (At least I have more than BURNT TOAST to eat!) Check out my website at Julie Townsend Studio. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.