Among many artists, "marketing" has become a dirty word. It gets a bad rap because marketing experts of old have convinced us that it means "selling ourselves" or "promoting ourselves" to "potential buyers"...which essentially turns us into objects that can be bought and sold. That sounds like chattel slavery and I'm not down with chattel slavery.
Now, of course there are people who love that model. They thrive on it. They listen to, read, and look at things that have been popular in the past and work to replicate it to make themselves more marketable. Since people are already familiar with these popular things, another version of it can be just as appealing; people like things that are familiar to them. However, the artist who is creating from the heart who has a unique way to approach the world is discouraged by lack of attention and understanding...which wouldn't be a problem if the bills were paid. So, instead of fighting the misunderstandings by explaining the story behind their creations, some artists just say "folks ain't ready" and move on. But what if we believed in the potential of people to understand? What if we interacted with people who were ready? What if we exposed our conversation to the greater world in a way that a 6 year old could decipher? Is it really that hard to comprehend? Do we even know what we're trying to convey?
What if we learned that the concept of "marketing" was really just an extension of our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions? That simply doing what we do in the context of others who appreciate it is how we expand our conversation to larger audiences? Does that sound more appealing? What if instead of calling it "marketing" we called it "communicating our vision"? Isn't that what business is anyway? A way to communicate our visions to others in ways that are meaningful to them and for them to communicate their appreciation back to us in a tangible form?
In this clever E-book by visual artist Gwenn Seemel, she discusses why art marketing isn't just about selling art. She emphasizes that telling the story around your creations helps to communicate your vision to your audience.
What ideas do you have? How do you communicate your vision to the world? How have you made marketing a cleaner word in your own artistic career?