I am feeling nostalgic............not unusual this time of year, but it's not about warm and fuzzy memories of past holidays. It's about yearning for the days when being an artist was simpler.
There was a time when my marketing consisted of sending out postcards and setting up on the street for an art festival. That was pretty much it. I had a website and a small email list by 2001, but I still relied mostly on direct mail to let people know what I was up to. Today however, doing that is cost prohibitive and instead, I rely on email marketing where I am happy if 20% of the people on my list even open it up.
I may be wrong, but it seems that one of the fastest growing industries is the "helping artists sell their work" business. I have benefited greatly from many of the resources they offer (thank you Alyson Stanfield!), but these days it seems like every time I open my in-box there is another offer from someone who holds the "secret" to successful fine art marketing.
In my attempt to follow the formulas given, I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, I post on Flickr, and joined LinkedIn. Most of these experts also recommend a blog, but I started mine almost 4 years ago as more of means of connecting with others and a platform for sharing than for selling.
I have written about this before, but I am amazed at the amount of material (and time) people have to post on all these different sites. I never feel I can keep up and have wondered what I was doing wrong. This constant feeling of not measuring up is starting to wear me down.
This got me thinking about the "good old days"......... My routine for each show was pretty much the same. Have postcards made (or use the ones the promoter supplied) and mail them out a week or two before the show. Then I could focus on my inventory and get the van packed.
There was also something about the lifestyle of being on "the circuit". I think in a previous life I was a gypsy and traveling from show to show, setting up in one town and moving on to the next, satisfied some inner desire to recreate that experience.
Of course, as with all memories, it's easy to focus on what was good and forget about the more unpleasant aspects. Rained out shows, getting up at 3 am, van troubles, near heatstroke and noisy motels have not been creeping into my mind as much as recollections of good music playing while tearing down after a successful weekend or exchanging numbers with all my new friends.
The Internet has made it possible to connect with people all over the world and I love that! But that same technology, combined with the economic uncertainties and the supply of knock off art available in Wal-Mart has made the business of being an artist a little more challenging. Which I guess is why we need more help navigating the art business terrain these days.
I have chosen to accept the challenge and will continue to do some of what is recommended, but there are days when all I want to do is put on my large hoop earrings, hit the road, and pretend that Twitter never existed.
Honk if you see me on the road................