Friday, December 16, 2011

Feeling Nostalgic......

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................


  1. Boy, you hit the nail on the head! People in the arts, all over the world, are experiencing the same frustrations. The internet avenues we are encouraged to use for various reasons literally steal time away from our craft. Then while we wait and hope for followers—buyers—of our work, somebody is prowling around our sites to copy and claim it as his or her own. If we compare our expenses of doing things the old way, against today’s marketing diagram would it be the same, I wonder, with less risks. For sure, our wrists and shoulders wouldn’t turn on us for having played with a mouse day in and day out.

  2. Amen to your post Dianne! I have had similar thoughts on more than one occasion and have been thinking about this issue in regards to where I'd like to land. I'm not sure that all of the simultaneous 'fb'ing, twittering, blogging always makes sense--and think I need to hone which kinds of networks net'work' best for me. I sense a lunch time topic here...

  3. Thank you Dianne and Hannah! I thought a few of you would relate to this post. Dianne, I failed to even mention the physical costs of all the work on the computer. I have chronic problems with my neck and is no doubt made worse by all the time on the computer.
    Hannah - I look forward to discussing this more with you!