A friend posted a status update on Facebook recently that expressed frustration about the way some artists and public art projects are marketed. Her annoyance stemmed from the “hype” over a public art project that made her feel “marketed to”.
I wondered about the specifics of the project that had sparked her ire, so I asked her about it. She never gave me the specifics, but she did share this unsolicited compliment:
“I appreciate the way you personally try to connect with your audience and community, BZTAT — because of your blog and your social media pages I do feel like you “practice what you preach.”
I wasn’t seeking a compliment about my own social media activities. I was simply curious about what had annoyed her so much. I was gratified, however, to hear that my own social media presence was having the intended impact upon those who follow me.
Authenticity is very important to me in the process of sharing and promoting my art business. The notion of marketing is only palatable to me if it is done within the context of real life experience and true creative inspiration.
I try to engage honestly with those who enjoy my art instead of “marketing to” them. “Personally connecting with my audience and community” makes my work more desirable to people I think, so the hard sell is not necessary.
Authenticity has its consequences though.
I am sure that I have missed out on sales of artwork because I declined to pitch it in more aggressive ways. I also know that being accessible and approachable defies the myth some people have about artists being remote and mysterious, thus leading them to believe I am not a “serious” artist.
The consequences of being inauthentic would be worse, however. I am not good at being fake.
I guess I am lucky that personal and authentic connection with my audience works for me. It’s the only way that I know how to be, and I thrive on the enrichment I receive in the process.
Thanks for following along, and thanks for bringing me that enrichment.