Marketing, being a carer, being an artist: life the universe and everything


Marketing is a the big thing, it’s all over the Internet and we artists are trying to get our heads around it @adamerhart #adamerhart is a great resource. Of course most artists I know would much prefer to just make art and then have wonderful customers turn up and buy it…or have a manager who sells their work for them. In the old days that manager would be a gallery. I think its part of the “Knight in Shining Armour” syndrome, what the male version of that is I don’t know!

However, as all artists know, it’s not that easy to find a gallery who wants to represent you: they have no room for new artists, your work isn’t their style, you don’t have enough work, they’re struggling to make ends meet themselves, or maybe your work just isn’t ready for that step (not good enought alert!). Plus you have to make the time to trundle around visiting them, and face the trauma of having to select work to send them in an email or show in person, and let me tell you it is traumatic because all your fears and doubts are mixed into that choice and make it very hard to know what to send. If you only do one style of work it’s much easier, but some of us are just made eclectic and creativity takes us, in it’s wonderful magnitude, on so many wondrous journeys that we need multiple lifetimes to explore each path to its full.

I had a great experience in 2009 when my painting, The Necessary Illusion of Otherness, was accepted and exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition…it was even hung in one of the main exhibition rooms (new work is usually hung in the side galleries) and the final joy was that when I went along to the private view it had already been sold! Well, I thought to myself, that’s it, only onwards and upwards from here on in! And I had a second success in the same year with the ING Discerning Eye, but then, after that, everything stopped.

What went wrong? Looking back…the main issue is that I didn’t follow through with applications to exhibitions, I only made two or three and they were all rejections, so what happened? Unable to face any more rejection the marketing line shut down.

It’s not enough to have a website sitting there. Everyone will tell you that. It’s not enought to write intermittent posts, yes I know. But somewhere along the line your heart is broken…it was probably broken already which is why the rejections hit so hard. How are we supposed to stand up again? Faith is the key thing for me, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily come back like a Rocky rock-star, flying up ‘those’ steps on your spangly new carpet.

So many things happened to our family in such a short space of time, alongside an ongoing constant test, that sucked the ground out from under us and left us clutching in the dark at the rope of faith. All these things are sent to try us…but they can feel like you’re at breaking point, one more thing and that will be the end of you, the pressure cooker will implode and you’ll disappear. Anyone who’s a carer knows what I mean when I say that caring leaves almost no energy for anything else and that the non-carers will never understand that. The whole family suffers, especially when multiple people need to be cared for. My guess is that all carers suffer a level of PTSD amongst other things. all this leaves you feeling even more vulnerable and unable to process rejection.

Now back to marketing, I always had that idea that money is ‘dirty’ and we have to do everything for nothing, but not any more! A new voice in me is standing up and saying, “Enough!” How did that happen? Lots of ‘inner work’ and slowly chipping away? Finding spiritual support through prayer and meditation? All of the above plus the practical realisation that it’s not fairy land and that my no-one is going to just turn up and buy my work without them seeing it! Also, just because people don’t buy it doesn’t mean it’s not good enough and that I don’t have to rethink what I do to make it fit some kind of imagined sucessful style of work. I don’t do that anyway, but there’s a voice that always says, “It’s not good enough, you have t do work that sells.”

I recently started watching @adamerhart #adamerhart videos on YouTube, his marketing advice is clear and confident and up to date. It’s helped me to focus and realise that I do need a plan and that that plan is not that complicated! Clarity is the number one thing that people are looking for, what are you selling? For sales,people need to make 2-6 types of contact with your work. It’s best to make posts from Facebook ads manager that share to your linked social media accounts. The Instagram algorithm is now more excited about videos and reels, not photos. Post twice a day. Don’t have inactive social media accounts hanging around in the ether, it doesn’t look professional. My short summary, but go and have a look yourself and make an effort to be consistent.

Wishing you and me sustained effort and success! And here’s a link to my Etsy shop!

Framed by the gallery's marble arches
Mine is the black one at the top, centre

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