Friday, January 28, 2011
I recently saw an ad placed in one of those on-line classified ad sites. I don't want to give anybody free publicity, so let's just call it "kraig's list". The ad read, "Artist seeking gallery representation." I didn't make that up. An ad like that is right up there with, "Person seeking mechanic to come fix my car." Or, how about, "Singer looking for recording contract." Now, I'm sure that somewhere out there, there is a gallery that has sold out of all its merchandise and is desperate to find new artists because they haven't had any contact them for months. They go shopping in blind hope on the internet, and lo and behold they find this guy.
But probably not.
Remember the Dot Com bubble? When the internet first hit ten years ago, the thinking was that a company doing business on it couldn't help but make money. After all, they had access to potential consumers from around the world. Investors flocked to these companies and threw money at them hand over fist. Everyone was going to be filthy rich! And then a funny thing happened on the way to the bank. Hardly anybody made any money. In fact, quite a few dot.coms went belly-up. (Pets.com anyone?) Why did that happen? Because "Build it, and they will come" only works in Hollywood. For the rest of us, it's "Build it. Now go bust your ass and go try to sell it."
The internet really is a wonderful creation. So is a tuning fork. So what? A tool has to have a function, a reason for being. At least a tuning fork can tune your piano. But it can't tuna fish. But I digress... What can the internet do? Well, for starters, it can let your work be seen. The ubiquitous "they" say that to be successful, you must have an internet presence. So just about every artist out there has his own internet site. But that's almost as many sites as there are stars in the sky. How is anyone going to notice my star? Then there's FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The concept here is to "network". You know, artists connecting to other artists. You know what "network" really is? The choir singing to the choir. Have you ever sold your work on Twitter? The internet is a great social networking vehicle, but as eToys.com, Flooz.com, and WebVan.com can tell you, it's hell on making money.
My point for all of this is: There is no easy way. The trick to being successful now is the same as it has been over the centuries; Work hard, make great art, and promote it ruthlessly. Waiting for success to find you is not a viable business option. The internet isn't the be-all and end-all. Sometimes, you have to pound the pavement and knock on some doors. So, Mr. "kraig's list," best of luck to you. I hope a gallery contacts you and promotes your work. But I'm doing things the old fashioned way--
By the way, anybody know where the Medici's live?