The entrepreneurial artist: Marketing & media / communications context (Part I) (2001)

Creative Business & Entrepreneurship | 21 November 2011
Page 3 of 4

Once the artist
shows their artwork
to someone else,
or has even talked about it,
they have already begun
their communications.

These art shows and projects that I worked on resulted in print publication and TV exposure— the kind that the artists never had before. It was important to them.

Were the artists big names? No. Was the art presented in a big-name space? No. Was the artwork good. Of course. Was there good media and communications? In reflection, I think it could have been much better.

In fact, maybe I don’t know about Art... at all.

In an interview earlier this year, I asked [an artist], how can you explain your recent accomplishments— group shows at big-name spaces, back-to-back solos in [two European capitals], securing representation at the gallery of your choice, and a good amount of publications?

How can you explain this when, to me, you are often completely unprepared for visual arts media and communications?

And he replied: “[This] I can’t explain. What I would explain is that I want to concentrate on making work— that’s the most important thing. [...] I don’t think that I’m ‘media unready’, it’s just that I know what my priority is.”

“It’s the media that should be ready to deal with it. Their job is to do media isn’t it? It’s the artist’s job to make art. If an artist makes good work, people will find them. They need to find them. They need to make money from them, the magazine needs to find them for their purposes.”

Now first, [this artist] is a friend, [...] and I completely disagree with [him]. I don’t think this applies to all artists. I think some are lucky, get picked up, and sent on their way. In fact, [we] argue about these things all of the time. I’ve told [him], “I think you are one of the ‘chosen ones’.”

Because, I’ve seen a lot of well thought-out artwork by artists, and I can not explain why one artist is on the museum circuit, and now upper-middle class. While another gets lots of interesting shows, but is financially struggling. While yet another is simply waiting for the phone to ring.

Or waiting for years— literally— for the art powers to finally take notice.

These things I can’t explain. I don’t think anyone can. What I can do is raise certain issues, and talk about some techniques.