Promoting Your Art Is Personal – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 118
January 24, 2024
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Promoting your work can feel like a terrifying task for many artists. But with the right mindset, promotion can feel like another extension of your creativity. Join me as I dive into the proper way to frame promotion as an artist, the difficult necessity of galleries, the problem with over-polishing your work, and critical steps for building an audience for your creations.
Listen if you are interested in…
- The currency and payoff of art-making [2:30]
- Unpacking the difficulty of getting into galleries [8:01]
- The problem with over-polishing your work [11:51]
- The art of building an audience [16:59]
Passion and purpose
In the pursuit of art-making, one must embark on a journey to discover what truly makes them feel alive. It’s a universal quest, transcending cultural boundaries and professional backgrounds to discover your passion. Whether it’s the thrill of a captivating movie, the freedom of horseback riding, or the rejuvenation found in a change of scenery, the essence lies in that electric energy. Artists, regardless of their medium or background, find this vitality in the creation of personal and authentic work. It’s about chasing down what brings you alive in your art, a process that may not always be immediately evident but evolves over time, shaping the artist and the art itself into something increasingly personal and powerful.
Yet, the artist’s exploration doesn’t exist in isolation—it intersects with the audience’s yearning for connection. The audience (whether in a gallery or browsing online) approaches art with the fundamental question: “What’s in it for me?” This question of purpose, though seemingly self-centered, is the key to successful artistic communication. As creators, we must acknowledge that everyone seeks something from our work—whether it be inspiration, emotion, or a connection to the artist’s story. Understanding this dynamic allows artists to tailor their approach, ensuring the work resonates with its intended audience. It’s not about creating for everyone but about increasing the likelihood that others will be moved by the art, sparking curiosity and a desire to know the story behind the creation. The artist becomes a storyteller, sharing the journey, challenges, and passion behind the artwork, providing the audience with a deeper connection.
When we understand our art journey hinges on these ideas of passion and purpose, we begin to see things differently. Take my conversation with a fellow artist and friend who highlighted the difficulty of submitting to galleries that are either full or uninterested in new pieces. The truth is gallery owners are inundated with submissions, and standing out in this sea of artwork requires a fresh approach. Having had a gallery in Santa Fe, I vividly recall being shown shoeboxes filled with postcards from artists seeking representation. The sheer volume was overwhelming, and most of the submissions were forgettable.
The key is to find a way to engage gallery owners creatively. Rather than approaching it conventionally, consider how to make a lasting impression. What can you send or share that will wake them up and be truly memorable? Instead of trying to go through the front door, find a unique way to share your enthusiasm for both your work and the gallery. The art of promotion is about using your creativity to deliver something that stands out, something that resonates and brings both your work and the gallery to life. It’s not about the quantity of submissions; it’s about the quality and uniqueness of your approach. So, choose your focus, invest time in creating something extraordinary, and leverage your creativity to open doors that may seem closed.
Building an audience
Another way that passion and purpose impact our artistic endeavors is through the building of an audience. It’s intriguing to realize that amassing followers doesn’t guarantee the sale of your work. While the numbers may be impressive, the key lies in connecting with your audience on a deeper level. It’s not just about being a great follower of yourself but about authenticity—sharing what truly matters to you. The process involves filtering down to what brings you alive, creating work infused with genuine passion.
Vulnerability plays a huge role in this. Sharing your truth, even when it’s scary, is what draws people in. The slow and steady build of your energy, attracting those genuinely interested in what you create, forms the foundation of a solid following. In the world of art, business, and promotion, the mystery unravels when you understand that it all comes back to the central idea—what fires you up defines your journey, and resonates with others, creating a meaningful connection beyond mere numbers. Listen to this episode for more on promoting your art!
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.