There is an old story that compares the cycle of marketing with a circus coming to town. In the times of PT Barnum, the example was a great tool to explain how it all worked. It went something like this:
“If the circus is coming to town and you buy a billboard saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local paper picks it up, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, then that’s sales.”
There have been many updates to this story through the years. As a new twist to this account I would like to propose, with much respect to the original author and subsequent updaters whom I owe for their inspiration and clever twists, a new art related version which could go somehow like this:
“If you have an exhibition coming to town and you print a sign saying “Great Art Exhibition opening on the City Gallery Saturday”, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of a truck together with images of your work, and drive it through town, that’s promotion. If the truck is driven by accident through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
If you run the truck through the mayor’s flower bed on purpose, that’s guerrilla marketing. And if you run a contest and ask everyone to send their own videos about artistic generated endeavors that have run amok, that’s user generated content. If they post their videos and forward them to their friends, that’s viral marketing. If they tweet their friends about the contest, that’s micro blogging.
If they post those same videos or pictures on Facebook, that’s social networking. If you have used guerrilla marketing, user generated content, viral, blogging or a social network, that’s word of mouth.
Finally, if you can get people to visit the Gallery, show them your imaginative endeavors, explain your motivations and answer questions, explain what a great investment your art is, and they end up buying and spending lot’s of money on your art, that’s sales.
As an alternative, if they don’t want to leave home to go to the gallery, and you show them your virtual gallery on the internet, and you put 100 pieces when in a traditional Gallery exhibition you may show 20, and provide them with unique views of your work, then that is creativity and allure; and when your paintings look even better on your virtual gallery than live because the visitors have had time to reflect on your art on their own, then that’s the online experience. If at the end of their virtual tour, they spend money on your work, prints and merchandising using a credit card, pay-pall, or other payment methods, that’s e-commerce.
But if they do not want to spend money on your virtual Gallery, you will nevertheless post more advertisements and fancy merchandising like virtual post cards and screen savers and backgrounds, and track their every movement, you will then sell the information to others who will post more advertisements, and that’s behavioral targeting. Those marketers will use the behavioral targeting to send you specific messages just for you; that’s addressable advertising. You’ll even get messages on your iPhone or Blackberry; that’s mobile. You’ll access all this information about you from your terminal that contains no programs; that’s cloud computing.
The lessons from this story are several, but today I am going to concentrate on just 4. These would be:
1. “Build it and they will come” (Field of Dreams). Never truer than today. But do not expect them to come using the road you planned for their arrival, it does not work that way.
2. NEVER give up unless you have tried traditional as well as non- traditional methods of promotion, marketing, and sales. And if they didn’t work, there are always ways to profit from all the time invested. It is just a question of looking for the way to do it.
3. The virtual way is tempting, and it works, but it should be done professionally, thoroughly, and always taking into account that it is not as free as it seems (time in itself IS money and it takes lots of time). Otherwise, you may well find yourself in front of the computer, on your own, wondering where all the time and money you spent has gone.
4. Place yourself in the media to get your buzz going, but to do it you will have to be smart. The press release has been on life support for a long time (I would say at least 10 years) and it does not work. Today’s media require CONTENT, and readymade CONTENT at that. Interesting pieces that bring something fresh and new, and which require little or no work (because they do not have the budgets or staff to do it). Think of clever things to say about subjects you love, mix your work in it, show some magic (we artists are the world’s greatest producers of creative magic), sign it and send it out, ready to print, to online media and traditional outfits. You may be surprised.
In short, today it is like being a one person Circus (wouldn’t PT Barnum be envious if he knew!), becoming an expert in artistic magic (real and virtual), keeping all promotional and publicity balls in the air while we walk the tight rope between traditional methods and new virtual ones. And as always, at the end of the day, it is finally a matter of not letting the lions eat you.
Who says something is art vs. anything else. Who decides that what today is junk tomorrow may be a precious gem? Current artistic success is not necessarily a deserving trait of a living artist. It may even have no connection with an artist true quality.
Some of my fellow artists may be upset by this statement, but the truth is that success is not necessarily a matter of how good, how innovative, or how brilliant an artist may be. In today’s world it may have more to do with of marketing, promotion, the right word in the right place, the right image at the right time…so many different issues. Van Gogh did not sell one single painting while he was alive. His paintings were mocked as childish, lacking technique, depth, or clarity. 100 years later he was revered, loved, copied, and altogether declared one of the greatest masters that ever walked this earth.
How many great painters have not only managed to not survive their own casual fame, but have disappeared altogether from the history books? Probably most. Then fame is ephemeral, but staying power will only be granted to those who are truly unique, brilliant, and ground breaking, and above all, to those who survive the view from a different light than that which was the accepted parameter of their time.
As we survive the waves that hit us, we become stronger artists, and many years from now, may also become deserving of much applause, books, reviews, comments and admiration. Only generations after we are gone, will the question of our true impact as artists will be answered.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy our ephemeral success and hope that life allows us to live doing what we truly love. That will be one of the greatest gifts we can hope to enjoy in this life.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who visited any or all of the 4 websites over the last few days (since they were sent “out there” just a couple of days ago). It has been great to hear from everyone and so encouraging receiving so many positive comments.
I have been asked where and how do I get my inspiration. I am pretty sure most artists will share a common familiarity with some of my own experiences. To me, inspiration is like being taken over by another entity (picture yourselves in Avatar for a moment) . It feels as if I am being worked from a remote location, channeling experiences and feelings some of which I easily recognize as my own, and some of which I need to look very deeply within to see where they are coming from.
In a way, I see myself drawing, painting, mixing colors in such a fashion that sometimes it leaves me thinking, as I move back and see a complex scene …”how did I do this?”. It is not in terms of technique that I may wonder (technique is a development that builds on over the years and which can be easily traced) but in terms of the paths taken to accomplish a certain result.
I always remember the words of a well known local curator in Buenos Aires, who said of my work that one of its strengths was the fact that even though the ways in which I tell a story are unusually complex, I manage always to synthesize everything in a very clever ending.
I mention this just to point out the critic´s view of art, which is very similar to that of the reviewer of a novel. Just as our modern letters originally developed from “paintings that told stories” thousands of years ago (see the image below), a single work of art can be interpreted pretty much like a complete book or description of events seen from one particular eye witness viewpoint. It always has a narrative. Sometimes it is a simple story told beautifully, sometimes it is like a Stephen King novel and full of thrills. But whatever the tale and whatever the writing style, you always need a good resolution to avoid all that work just fizzling out at the end. In a painting, resolution is vital, it gives meaning, substance and sense to what the artist proposes. Great inspiration can lead to bliss or can leave you with an empty feeling if the message gets lost somewhere.
Like with everything in life, I learn something new every day, and I incorporate this new knowledge in each of my works. I hope in years to come I manage to surprise you and satisfy you with every new work I present to you. Thank you for your continuing support.
Ante todo quiero agradecer a todos los que visitaron alguno o cada uno de los 4 sitios que inauguramos hace unos muy pocos días. Ha sido muy bueno recibir tantos comentarios positivos y tanto cariño de todos Uds.
Una pregunta que me hicieron es de donde salía la inspiración para tan variado trabajo. Estoy seguro que la mayoría de los artistas debemos tener experiencias similares para contar. Para mí la inspiración se parece un poco a Avatar, la película. De alguna manera uno es ¨manejado” a distancia, canalizando experiencias y sentimientos que a veces reconoce con facilidad como propios, y otras veces uno se ve obligado a explorar mucho más profundamente para reconocer de dónde vienen.
De alguna manera uno es llevado a pintar, mezclar colores, dibujar, y componer de una manera que obliga a preguntarse en algún momento, mientras uno se aleja lentamente de una escena muy compleja y ya terminada … ”y cómo llegué aquí?”. Y no es un cuestionamiento técnico (al fin y al cabo la técnica es conocimiento acumulado a lo largo de la vida del artista) si no una pregunta sobre la senda inspirada que me dejó en ese punto de la historia que intento contar.
Siempre recuerdo las palabras de un conocido curador local quien, hace unos años, comentó sobre mi trabajo diciendo que, entre otras fortalezas, mi pintura lograba componer historias complejas con egañosa simplicidad, y que lo más importante allí era que llegaba siempre a una conclusión conceptual de la narrativa muy apropiada.
Esto lo menciono, no por los halagos, sino porque quedó grabado en mí lo que puede ser la visión del analista experto de arte, que es muchas veces idéntica a la de un crítico literario, como si fuera un lector embebido en los laberintos de una gran novela. Tal vez, así como las letras del alfabeto moderno no son otra cosa que evoluciones provenientes de “pinturas que contaban historias” originadas miles de años atrás (vean la imagen del desarrollo de 3 letras modernas más arriba), cada obra artística se parece en mucho a un libro o historia contada desde una visión particular. A veces es como una simple historia relatada de manera hermosa, o a veces es como una novela de Stephen King, repleta de sobresaltos. Pero sea cual fuere el estilo narrativo, siempre se necesita una buena resolución de la historia para que la obra no se desarme y pierda sentido al final.
En la pintura, la composición y la resolución son vitales. Le dan sentido, substancia, y lucidez a lo que el artista propone. La inspiración puede llevar a que una obra sea comprendida de la manera más satisfactoria, o que descontrolada, nos deje esa sensación vacía que uno tiene cuando el mensaje se perdió en alguna parte de la historia y el final se “desinfló”. Yo siempre lo comparo con esas películas que vienen muy bien y en los últimos 20 minutos queda claro que el director y el guionista se quedaron sin ideas y arruinaron los 90 minutos anteriores de buen cine dándole un cierre muy poco satisfactorio.
Como todo en la vida, uno va aprendiendo a medida que avanza, y así va incorporando ese conocimiento en cada una de las nuevas obras que realiza. Desde ya, espero que pueda satisfacerlos y sorprenderlos con cada nuevo trabajo que les presente a lo largo de los años.
Nos volvemos a encontrar muy pronto.
Well, well, well…
So I finally managed to get things moving. This is my first blog. It will be associated to my new website, and it will include some of the info that my friends get in my Art Exhibition group on FB. I must say that 2010 started with a blast. My mind open to new figures and colors. Always using acrylics but also printing inks. As always music is an intricate part of my art, there is a lot of jazz in what I am doing these days (as always!), but also many other styles. Here are some details of work I have been doing these days, I am very happy with it. I hope you like it too.
Hola! Finalmente ha llegado el momento y aquí estamos. La idea es compartir mi arte con Uds. en mayor detalle. Contarles lo que me pasa, qué me inspira, cómo llego a mis imágenes, por qué hago lo que hago. Es una manera de estar más cerca de mis amigos y de quienes disfrutan de mis obras. Como verán, 2010 llegó muy bien. Con mucha fe y alegría en lo que me está brotando muy naturalmente. Son imágenes más sintéticas, con mucho color, como es mi costumbre, e inspiradas en la música. Mucho Jazz como siempre pero hay más variedad musical, y por ende, mayor variedad interpretativa. Mezclas de pintura y tinta de impresión, trazon limpios, mucho “aire” como diría Juli. Estoy muy contento y espero que les guste. En el sitio ya están posteadas las obras que he estado haciendo en enero. Espero que las disfruten!