Self-Promotion Ideas for Artists

Mapping My Current State of Affairs
©10.04.2010 Leah Virsik, Mapping My Current State of Affairs.
Found paper, acrylic, thread, muslin, glass, wood 59 1/2 x 46 x 1 1/2 inches.
(middle panel in photo is detail of image on left hand side of window screen)

Below is a list I started on some self-promotion ideas. This is an incomplete list for sure… have any great ones to share? Leave a comment.

Carry around a business card, promotional postcards and/or a mini-portfolio. I’ve used and am extremely happy with the printer PSPrint.

Start a blog. If you’re consistent that’s great… if nothing else, it’ll help you get a sense of yourself and give you writing practice.

Set up a Twitter account. It’s helped me connect with other artists. You can also find out what’s going on in your local art scene. People can be really responsive on Twitter with the short character limit. Sub-Studio Design blog featured me as a result of me following them on twitter.

Ask people how they find out about you.

Write a manifesto and publish it. These are a couple of my favorites: How to Be Creative (pdf download) by Hugh MacLeod and Bruce Mau Design’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

Submit your work to be purchased in public places. CaFé is one place to find online calls for entry.

Take classes from other artists whose work you admire. I came across Lisa Kokin’s work in the County of Alameda Clerk-Recorder’s office and I knew I had to take classes from her. Her mentorship and critique group that I’m participating in are making a tremendous difference in my art making.

Teach a class at SCRAP or at Frank Bette Center for the Arts. Or really anywhere… I taught some great classes at Frisbie Street, an alternative art space in Oakland after meeting Lanell Dike through Pro Arts.

If you teach, ask another artist to be a guest speaker. Artists, Michele Pred and Dona Turner graciously said yes to me.

If you teach and want people to know, make sure it’s listed close to your art. Ask your students if they might help promote your upcoming show, class etc. by giving them fliers/postcards to put in prominent areas.

Submit your art event, exhibition or class to Happenstand, Craigslist, Squidlist, Bay Guardian, SF Gate, Fecal Face, Flavorpill, and local newspaper and magazines in your area.

Submit your art for Flavorpill’s banner.

Put your artwork on Flickr. Visit my photostream here. A good bet is that you’ll connect with other people through your art.

Write an article for an art magazine and submit it.

Submit your work to Uppercase magazine or another artful magazine.

Get to know a writer who enjoys writing about artists. Victoria Smith wrote an article in Uppercase magazine on Genine Zlatkis. Now, she’d be a great person to know. 🙂

Participate in Pro Arts Open Studios. For me doing this made an incredible difference in my work and got me geared up towards teaching.

Participate in art auctions. There’s are a lot of reasons why to do this or not. I’ve found it to be beneficial for me at this stage in my career.

Contact your favorite gallery and ask them to consider doing podcasts of their artists talks. If they’ve never thought of it, they may appreciate your suggestion.

Start a podcast. Some of my favorites are Ricë Freeman-Zachery’s Notes from the Voodoo Lounge, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s Craft Sanity and Steve Miller’s Book Artists and Poets.

Participate in craft fairs or specialty niche fairs. I’ll be participating in the Book Arts Jam at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA on October 16, 2010. Come meet me there!

Write to artists whose work makes a difference to you. I wrote Lisa Occhipinti from an article she wrote in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and I’m really enjoying our correspondence.

Have someone else, like Seth Godin promote your work. Lori Koop was very successful at this as well as Chris Guillebeau and Hugh MacLeod.

Give away your art for free. I was introduced to Jonathan Santlofer via his story of  “artistic tragedy with unexpected benefits” that he told on the Moth podcast. It was so compelling that it led me to his website and then to a free podcast of his best-selling book Anatomy of Fear.

3 thoughts on “Self-Promotion Ideas for Artists

  1. Great tips, Leah! I think the idea is to get the word out there, so you can find those that are interested. Different forms of advertising or getting exposure by being active really… I also like to join online communities where we are all interested in the same things!

  2. Wow, Leah, this is an amazing, informative and truly generous list. Good for you!
    I agree with so many and so much of this– heck, all of it really!
    It’s fantastic, so thank you.

    And thank you for coming to open studios two weekends ago and signing my sign in book.
    Nice to be connected

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