Organic Marketing for Artists: Mind Cheese and the Last Painting

I had a really interesting day yesterday, due in no small part to a very fun meeting with some artists in their combination studio/gallery space in the Buckhead section of town.

I met Lisa Moore when I was out playing guitars last week. Upon seeing our show, she wondered if my buddy Dwight and I might like to play at her gallery some time, and through that conversation she found out about my organic marketing daytime life. She asked me if I might like to come talk to some artists about it.

In a word: Hell yes!

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking in front of retailers, merchandisers, and musicians before, but I know a lot less about the business of being a visual artist, so I was quite hopeful to learn a few things. It turns out that artists have many of the same concerns and challenges that other businesses do, which makes sense because they are, of course, human beings just like the rest of us.

Here are some of the things I heard the artists saying.

  1. I have a web site but it’s old and I don’t know how to change it
  2. I don’t see how Twitter can help me.
  3. I’m worried that if I start using Twitter it will consume my whole day.


If I may address the last question first, I guess I’d say that productivity is an issue, so that concern is quite valid.

Organic marketing costs less money but takes more time. That’s just the nature of it. It’s a matter of personal discipline that we all face not to get sucked into Twitter or Facebook all morning when there’s work to do.

I’m especially tempted to spend Monday morning looking at Facebook pictures of everyone’s weekend. I just have to turn it off and look at it later on.

I have a web site, now what? Can Twitter help?

Of course, my answers to the “now what?” part are things like WordPress, blogging, and organic marketing, but how to explain something like blogging or Twitter effectively? Thankfully, I got lucky on that one. As I was sitting here thinking about it, Lisa sent me an email including a post from Alyson Stanfield at the Art Biz Blog.

The post above is about writing an Artist’s Statement, but it put me in a good frame of mind to think about blogging for artists. Could it be that an Artists Statement is really just one super well-thought-out blog post?

The Last Painting

I started thinking about the concept of a last painting. Would a painter ever finish a painting, look at it, and go “Yep, that’s what I wanted to say. I’m all done painting now!” I don’t think so, and it’s the same with blog posts.

Each one is like a slice of cheese, except instead of cheese it’s a slice of your mind, which hopefully will never run out. Mind cheese!

Each blog post, like a painting or a photograph, is a representation of a thing or an idea, but it is not that thing or idea. That’s why you can look at a hundred photographs of someone and still not know exactly what they look like.

That said, each time you describe that thing or idea, the better you get at it. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging.

It really helps me focus my mind cheese!

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