Marketing advice is easy to come by. Everyone seems to have either an opinion, years of experience, or knowledge of its principles. The artistic landscape is wild in 2018. There are thousands of artists with an unfiltered and democratic online presence. According to the conventional wisdom of those in my creative circle, artists should be actively involved in the marketing of their "brand" (cringe) on social media

I keep wondering how Dali would approach marketing if he were alive today. A natural showman, he would surely come up with something distinctive. But what about those of us who find self-promotion agonizingly painful? 

We do it anyway. 

Facebook reminds me on a weekly basis that the percentage of viewers looking at my artist page is either going up or down. When a post is hot, the stats are fun to read, but when reactions are slow or non-existant, the whole exercise is demoralizing. Artists can't be great all the time (well some can but not most of us). Spending hours on social media may not be the most effectual way to improve as an artist. Creating is.

I’m working on new works for an upcoming solo show in November. The pressure is on. I hope to have an embarrassment of riches to pick from when the time comes to pull it all together. The dilemma? I don’t want to exhibit my new work on social media before the opening. If everyone sees it ahead of time, why bother coming to the show? 

Many suggest revealing a detail (known as a teaser), images in black and white, or displaying older work in order to remain active in the marketing loop. My solution thus far has been to sketch out ideas on my digital tablet in the evenings and to show tidbits of exploration or process which may or may not end up as an interesting print, traditional painting or multimedia work. 

It's all about finding the right balance between creating and marketing but I'm not sure what that is. I find that when some artists post daily on social media, I sometimes feel over-blitzed. Then again, others post everyday and I don't sense any form of overkill. Wonder why? 

I do have some questions.
  • How are artists able to maintain a level of production that enables them to post every day? (My initial assumption is that most are not creating 10 x 10 foot paintings but rather smaller works or sketches.)
  • Do they need reflection and incubation time (like I desperately need) or do they simply think and grow on the fly? 
  • How do some manage to actively promote without becoming social media irritants? Is it the quality of the work? (At first glance, not always.) Do they reveal much personal data? Is there teaching or sharing of the "creative process" involved?
  • Who is the audience? And how does one find the right kind of follower?
There doesn't seem to be a magic recipe. It probably all boils down to trial and error or a wonderful mix of personality, the quality (or accessibility) of the work, and/or a multitude of other immeasurable factors. All I can do is hope that my inner leprechaun comes up with the right formula for "marketing fairy dust" because I've got to get back to the studio!