Too Many Artists are (Still) Not Promoting Themselves

This post was inspired by a post about a video series I worked on. For that project, I promoted six local poets and was shocked to see how few of them had any kind of online presence to go with the videos.

Unfortunately, artists of all types have a real problem promoting their own work. I talk to a lot of different artist as part of my work with Another Passion, but even as a kid, I saw the same pattern with my dad and some of his artist pals. There seems to be a mental block, preventing many creatives from promoting their work, or thinking of it as a product to sell.

With all the tools available online, there really is no excuse for not using at least one of them to get more eyeballs on your work.

Some turn up their noses at self promotion, claiming that a real artist won’t need to sell themselves because quality work will attract attention automagically. Nothing could be more wrong. No one is going to “discover” you, unless you put yourself out there to be discovered.

Then there are those who are simply overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. That I can at least understand. The options are many and you can spend all your time fiddling here and there, not really accomplishing anything. Or you can lose yourself reading books, posts and articles, trying to figure out whether it’s better to take up tweeting or blogging, videos or podcasting, Google+ or Facebook — if you even get that far.

The answer is simple: pick something that suits your personality, stop procrastinating and use it! The thing is, they are all good tools if you use them consistently and well.

Choosing the right tools is a personal matter more than anything else. If you hate being in front of a camera, YouTube is not for you. If you are dyslexic, perhaps talking is better than writing. The point is, there are options for everyone.

Being overwhelmed by the choices is a matter of eliminating the ones you don’t like and making an executive decision. With a day of research, anyone can learn the differences between the available tools and decide on one or two to go with. Learn the ins and out of your chosen tools, the basics first, the details can come as you go. With someone guiding you, you can get started within a day.

You have to see self-promotion as part of the creation process, just like putting the milk back in the fridge is part of eating a bowl of corn flakes. It’s not the most fun part, but it’s necessary. It should never be an afterthought, or something you’ll do when you get around to it, maybe next weekend or when the kids are asleep. If you leave the milk out all day, chances are you’ll be eating dry cereal tomorrow morning.

It pains me to see so much wasted talent, so I have started taking on artists who need a helping hand. Right now, I’m helping my neighbor who’s a working musician with a degree, massive skills and a great personality. He is not computer illiterate either, just overwhelmed and somewhat easily distracted. I’m giving him weekly assignments along with encouragement to explore further. You can follow his efforts here.

I very much enjoy coaching artists, helping them build confidence, aim higher and get a wider reach. If you’re an artist struggling with self promotion, you are welcome to contact me.

The Man of Steel

This is about the absolutely greatest influence on my life, as a person and an artist. Though we do completely different things, this guy taught me many of the fundamentals of what it means to live for your art. For good and bad. The man I’m talking about is my father.

Gert Rasmussen is his name, and these days he works mainly as a blacksmith, using his long time artist name Grasart. It’s a return to the roots for him. As a teenager, he was a blacksmith’s apprentice for a while, before being lured away by working with glass, painting, sculpting with clay and porcelain and working with precious stones and metals. You might say he has come full circle. You might say he has come home. Continue reading

Kill the Jack of All Trades

Jack of all trades, king of none. I hate that saying because I used to believe it, and it was a curse on my self-perception for years. I seriously thought, that because I love writing, making music, taking pictures and pretty much anything else that involves creative thinking, and am completely incapable of limiting myself to one, that I was doomed to fail in all of them. Now, I declare war on this antiquated saying and way of thinking.

The saying implies that you have to specialize in something, or you will never find your full potential. It’s the hidden threat and slight air of superiority that appeals to my never-sleeping inner rebel. Continue reading