The entrepreneurial artist: A conceptual target-marketing framework (Part II) (2001)

R.J. Preece (ADP)
Creative Business & Entrepreneurship | 14 December 2011
This text is from a guest lecture entitled "Some issues in artwriting and communications, and the context of the entrepreneurial artist" given to senior fine arts program students soon to graduate at London Guildhall University in June 2001. Similar lectures were later given at Goldsmiths College, University of London; Manchester Metropolitan University; Birmingham Institute of Art and Design; a Castlefield Gallery (Manchester, UK) organized festival talk, and at Glasgow School of Art (2001-02).

So, we agreed to work together, and conduct a mutual experiment, a working, flexible, three-year plan, and seeing whether media and communications strategies that I will outline in this presentation, would make any difference.

Here, I illustrate the basic objectives.

[1] To raise awareness and knowledge of what one does, how one is different from other similar product / service providers, and to scope out one’s professional tribes.

[2] To raise awareness of the vast variety of media outlets and publishing opportunities.

[3] To raise awareness that people function on different levels— and have different needs— to become involved in or facilitate an artist’s work. This includes economical and effective verbal communication, as well as providing short-term and long-term “incentives”.

[4] To create a self-designed media and communications campaign— at times explicit and implicit— that is integrated into the artist’s interactions— outside the studio.

[5] To see the art world as a series of choices and opportunities for the artist.

I will now discuss these five points in greater detail.

[1 & 2] To raise awareness and knowledge of one’s professional tribes.

I asked the artist, how many people know about your artwork? How many of these people are in positions to say “yes”: Yes you can have a show in my gallery; Yes I’d like to buy an artwork; Yes, I’d like to write about your art.

And then I asked him, how many people DON’T KNOW about your artwork? The number was infinite.

I then asked the artist, who should know about your art? He wasn’t sure.

So, I developed a plan to locate this larger audience... based on professional commonalities, in other words, to locate this professional tribe.

Based upon the artwork and the artist:

The media of the work: painting, sculpture, installation, digital photography, design(s)

The subjects and themes: gender issues, etc.

Where the artist is based, comes from, and possibly their gender: Belgian-based artist, Chinese artist, female

This could be called “Hard angling”, “Target marketing”, or “Exploiting this artist’s difference”.

With these linguistic categories, what emerged was a range of possibilities across contemporary art— curators and book authors, magazine editors and writers, galleries and other artists— all on an international scale.

A great deal of this information is on the Internet, and in any strong and networked art library.

How can an artist go about compiling a list of these people in their professional tribe? The easiest way, I think, is to start with two indices— Art Index and Art Bibliographies Modern. They have key words allowing for efficient searches.

And it’s not so difficult to make a media list, ask librarians. They can show you how to access the list of publications that the index compiles.

If the work deals with design— or has a strong design angle— then the “design and applied art index” is a must. All of the magazine mailing addresses are there.

If the artwork crosses over into architectural interventions— there are two more indices.

In these locations, the international tribe is there— magazines, editors, writers, galleries, and other artists.

Entrepreneurial artist (intro) | Entrepreneurial artist (framework): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Entrepreneurial artist (results)