Tag: art marketing

Artists, Authenticity and Art Marketing

Paradoxes, Purposes and Ponderances - Artist Musings by BZTAT

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.

“If you curse the rich, you’ll never be one of them.” -Rev. Ike

Monetizing and marketing your artwork
“If you curse the rich, you’ll never be one of them.” -Rev. Ike

One of my favorite blogs, Artists Who Thrive, written by artist and arts marketing coach extraordinaire Ann Rea, dedicated a post to this quote by Rev. Ike awhile back. I am not stealing her thunder (like I could). I am taking it in my own direction.

As I posted yesterday, I came back from the BlogPaws 2012 Conference a changed person. Changed in regards to valuing my work in the marketplace and changed in valuing myself as someone who can influence others to change.

Change is a turbulent process, though, and I won’t pretend for a moment that I am where I need to be.

I do curse the rich, and consequently, I am far from being one of them.

That is a problem, as an artist, because only people with expendable income can purchase my work for what it is truly worth. The very people I curse are the ones who are most likely to purchase my work.

My art has great value. I know that. I also know that it has greater value than its current prices. But my hang-ups about money, and those who have it, impede my success in a major way.

I was raised in a very middle class family by parents who were not skilled or responsible with managing money. My brother, a mathematical genius, overcame that on his own. He lives comfortably as a computer systems programmer with a nice income. My sister overcame it by marrying a man who is very gifted at managing budgets.

Me? I am no mathematical genius and I have never married, so I have lived out the family legacy.

One thing I am, good at, though, is connecting with people who are gifted in the arena of monetizing your talents. They cannot, and will not sit by my side and help me untangle the mess of my checking account. But they will motivate me to confront the mind-tangle that keeps me stuck when it comes to money issues.

Here is my mind tangle.

I have lived and worked among the financially poorest people in the country. I have watched them struggle and pour their strength into work to feed their children and provide them shelter. Although not necessarily gifted with great intelligence or talents valued in the marketplace, they have heart and skill. I have watched these people sacrifice and scrimp, only to become victims of corporate magnates who have no concern for their plights.

That is why I curse the rich.

I do not curse those who have earned wealth through hard work and responsible sharing of their talents. I do curse those who have unjustly gained wealth from taking advantage of others. And I certainly want to avoid becoming one of the latter.

I do not necessarily desire to be what most of us think of as “rich”, but I would like to have a more comfortable lifestyle than I currently have. More than that, I would like to achieve real success as a professional artist.

I confess, I have no clear formula for determining whose wealth is legitimate and whose wealth is ill-gotten. So I make assumptions that all are the latter. It’s not fair, and I know it. But that is where my mind is focused -currently.

How do I get around that? I am not sure.

I am sure about this, though. I am going to let Lena West kick me in the butt and figure it out.

Stay tuned.

Do you need the same kick?


The value of parking, buying art, and other perplexities of life.

Parking meter design by BZTATA parking spot that is 12 feet wide and 23 feet long can be leased in New York City for one million dollars.

A spot on my street costs you seventy five cents an hour, unless you go on the other side of the street, where it is seventy five cents for ten hours.

Those spots are for the employees of the call center that moved in across the street.

Parking is free at the WalMart a couple of miles away deep in the urban sprawl of Canton, OH.

Why such disparity in cost for the same sized span of asphalt in different places?


We spend money in ways that sometimes make sense. We spend to purchase sustenance goods and other items to maintain our daily lives. We spend for convenience; entertainment; status; and access. Our willingness to pay certain costs are determined by many factors, but mostly by what a seller can get for a product/service.

Certainly, a parking spot in New York City is more valuable than in Canton, because people are willing to pay more in New York City, because, well, it’s New York City, and it is harder to find a spot there, right?

Yet it is still just a span of asphalt that you are leasing for a moment in time. Perhaps you are leasing the time, not the asphalt.

A million dollar spot gives you the same asphalt.

Sure it is in New York City and inside a luxury condo, where you have secret access as if you were Batman. But still, it is time and space you are leasing. And asphalt.

You could buy a Damien Hirst artwork for millions, and rub elbows with the artistic elite at some of the more trendy galleries and auction houses.

Or you could buy a painting from a local artist with less acumen for manipulating the art market. If you enjoy the art, does it matter?

Either way you could be just leasing space, and time.

Enjoy your treasures today. Tomorrow’s art could be in a yard sale, while the asphalt is going for top rate.

Or not.

What is the difference?