The majority of us when we finish an arts degree want to be successful in the practice we’ve worked so hard to develop and realise. So why waste that hard work?
Outside of a shared studio environment it can be difficult to sustain those creative connections, to have those invaluable critiques in order to asses your work and therefore have some self-worth in what you’re doing. To send your work out into the abyss, into the unknown and see what happens can be unnerving, but it’s that bold first step that ultimately gets your work out there and noticed.
That’s why it’s so important to market yourself right and not lose out on these opportunities. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process to move your work from your studio into the art world. So I have scoured the internet for you and compiled what I think are the 5 most important tips that will help you promote yourself and your work.
1. Have an up-to-date CV and portfolio
Keeping an up-to-date CV and portfolio is a good habit to get into. This will make you document everything you do, which is essential when applying for jobs, exhibitions or just updating your website or professional art profiles. A really important tip is to make sure you have a master copy of your portfolio. As well as having a folder on your computer, have a copy on a USB and digital storage online, such as Dropbox. There’s nothing worse than losing all your work and regretting not having a back-up!
2. Promote your work digitally
The internet is a wondrous thing! We have the most valuable marketing tool at our fingertips, it’s just making sure you do it right:
- Have a website – Probably the most obvious, but the amount of times I’ve researched an artist and found no website, and sporadic artist profiles with very little information is amazing in todays techy, digitally minded society. How can you expect to promote yourself without an online presence?
- Think social – social media is such a powerful tool to not only stay connected but make new connections and build up your fan base. Setting up business accounts/pages on such sites as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest is a great way to generate and maintain interest around you and your work as it evolves. This is a great article on how you can use Instagram professionally.
3. Network Network and then Network some more
This can be a difficult one to overcome (believe me), but it’s also the most important. It’s one of the most effective ways to promote your art and can lead to even more opportunities that you might not have known about. There’s a couple of ways you can do this:
- Join an art organisation – this is a great a way to connect with a professional art community, not just locally but globally. I have an awesome list of networking sites on my links page
- Attend private views – this can be the most nerve racking. But if you go with a few friends it will give you the courage to circulate and talk to an important artistic community – and you never know who you’ll meet!
- Get involved in community events – whether this be local art fairs or open studio events, it will give you the opportunity to connect with artists, build on those connections which could eventually lead to invites to participate in exhibitions or other networking events.
4. Get your Mission Statement right
As an artist you have to think of yourself as a brand, and like any business you need to have a mission statement that clearly states what you’re about. Of course a lot of these can be quite boring, but if you have a short and sweet statement on your website this will really give your audience an insight into your practice. It can also keep you in check on how you define your work and whether you want your work to be interpreted in a specific way.
What’s also very useful is by having your mission statement on your website/blog covering all the key themes in your work, this will help your SEO ranking when people come to search these areas you’ve highlighted on Google.
5. Enter competitions and fairs
This seems like an obvious one but I can’t stress how important this is to get your work out there and test the waters, and be seen by professionals. You don’t have to enter every competition going but certainly go for the ones that are relative to your practice, where you stand a good chance of getting through. It can be quite a torturous process with the cost of entering and 80% of the time seeing no results for your efforts, but this is a key process to get your work into the art world and a tough lesson we all experience; rejection. But it can also be a great motivator, to have competition and fair deadlines to work towards will really help that creative slump we often find ourselves in.
Every month I collate together competition deadlines on my blog, so you don’t miss out!
Check out this Soundcloud recording of Rosalind Davis from Zeitgeist Art Projects discussing her personal journey on how to Network and promote yourself as an artist through exhibitions.
Links for reference: