I love a good birthday party so long as it’s not mine. I enjoy anniversary parties but not if it’s my anniversary. I love a good party: I don’t want to be the reason for the party. Our wedding was nerve wracking! I do not like to be the center of attention. That’s one of the great things about my husband; he loves to be the center of attention. It takes the focus off me.
I suspect this is why I am lousy at promoting my own artwork: it is all about me. I am my artwork and I have to be the center of attention. If I cannot promote my own work, who will? Well, given sufficient financial resources, one could hire it done. I don’t have those resources. Therefore, it begins with me. Dammit!
I retired nearly a year ago with a goal of beginning a second career as an artist. I am an artist, mind you. I want an actual career as an artist. I’m leaning that I have to confront my fears and be willing to be the center of attention. I have to learn to sell myself. I hadn’t actually thought about that part of being an artist!
I’ve been painting and producing art for the past 9 months. My studio is bursting with canvases and newspaper fabric. I have to move canvases around to get to my supplies. My bookcases are covered by stacks of paintings. My studio walls are covered in multiple layers of artwork. This stuff isn’t selling itself.
I made a New Year Resolution for the first time in 10 years. The last one was in 2000 to stop smoking. I stopped. If I can stop smoking after 32 years, I can learn to promote my artwork. Smoking cessation may not have been the most difficult thing I’ve done, I fear.
I did nothing with my Resolution until the end of February when I contacted a Social Media Expert: Carolyn McCray (firstname.lastname@example.org or @craftycmc on Twitter) my Goddess of Promotion. With Carolyn’s coaching and guidance (OK, OK, she uses a whip sometimes) I am learning to be the center of attention. It scares the hell outta me but I’m learning. And, I whine a lot.
Carolyn helped me set up a Twitter account and taught me to tweet. We set up a blog. She’s an expert editor. She is a Social Media Expert, after all! I set out my goals and we discuss how to go about achieving them. She guides me in setting up goal related tasks and pokes me with a stick to be sure I’m completing my tasks. I am an expert procrastinator. She calls me on it.
I have been working on my Artist Career for a month now. How am I doing? I think I have made some positive steps. I have over 600 people following me on Twitter. I have a blog in which I write about my artwork and my journey as a Career Artist. I have sucked it up and talked to gallery owners about my art. Whew! This is the hard one: talking to gallery owners.
I receive comments on my artwork from gallery owners and other artists. These positive comments boost my morale and ease my fears. I have received positive comments about my blog from Europe and China! Perhaps China will censure me! Would that make me a dissident artist? Wow!
I have a long way to go and it’s still frightening and intimidating. I do not like being the center of attention and I’m beginning to do it anyway. It still is not easy. I’ve spent many years behind this barrier and I’m taking it down one brick at a time. Every time I approach a gallery, it gets easier.
One day, I hope I can look back and wonder why I was so resistant to selling my art and myself. I still don’t like my own birthday parties, though. That may never change.
So, Please do visit my website: www.JerryLHanson.com and visit my blog often: http://JerryLStudio.blogspot.com AND if you use Twitter, follow me @JerryLStudio.
Oh! And all the artwork on my website is for sale. If you are interested in any of my work and want more information about one of the paintings or woven pieces, contact me via this blog, through my website or e-mail me at JerryL@JerryLHanson.com. Thank you for “listening.” Jerry L. Hanson