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Meditational Meanderings on...

Some few decades back a bloke name of James Burke, something of a science historian, did a show titled Connections which led to another show called The Day the Universe Changed. The former first aired in '78 in the UK and a year later in the US. Not owning a television in those years, I didn't see it first out the airwaves. I did see the latter, however, which niggled me to go find the former. From both of them as well as a lot of other learning or direct experience, I've been quite the philosophical disciple of inter-connectedness of nearly everything, known or unknown. This applies to what I've been meditating on for a month and a bit directly and indirectly.

Indirectly it applies because in the past couple of days I'd been mulling over something Old Boss said in the months leading up to my decision to resume surgical nursing. Cutting to the chase Old Boss said in passing zie didn't think I am particularly introspective. Our discussions involved trying to change some things, and while I was willing to work on changing some things there are others which proved too strongly a part of me, and I accept, that Old Boss didn't like hearing wouldn't change. Had some bearing on that change of venues as well; however it is the not particularly introspective part which applies here.

I didn't say it then. I am introspective, rather more introspective perhaps than necessary although I lean towards more introspective and less active. With a bit more active on addressing things which surface during introspection, that's where we get learning, as evidenced by a change in behaviour. I've been being introspective on this particular subject for a lot longer than the event which sparked my thought I need to write a blog entry about it. And that introspection is driven by the realisation that I'm so very much closer to a transition than I'd been thinking much about, one originally patterned after my father's plan, modified somewhat after my brother's comment on Dad's plan, but in either event Almost Bloody Here NOW.

Plan. Quote from JPM: 'When I retire I'm going to grow a beard, my hair long, and open up my studio.' He did, too. Essentially (and a basic part of the lesson) what he did though was transition from one occupation (automobile maker) to another (sculptor/artist). Part of that lesson, from him, is Humankind needs Purpose. I think of the example being look at any particularly 'famous' person, known for what they do, who then retires and dies in six months from retirement.

Modification: Quote from JRM: 'Look at Dad's work and tell me he couldn't make a living from his art. He grew up in the Great Depression. He opted for security.' He did, indeed. He sold his artwork after he opened his studio, sold some pieces even after advancing emphysema led him to close his studio and resume working out of his basement studio. He could of made a living on it.
I'm not sure, and can't ask him anymore, did he know how?

Which allows me to point to these entries, called the Three Micahs by haikujaguar which address my overall subject. There is a huge flux in the arts today, all of them, in how artwork is marketed. Also advances in technology make it much easier for people going into my specific venue to make better photographs. Before anyone says it, technology doesn't make art. The artist does, their Eye, their Voice. Technology only provides the tools for broadcasting the Eye or Voice. And after the broadcast, who sees it? How is it promoted. Haikujaguars postings started me into realising um, yup, this is one of my weaker points. Need to work on that.

The next crux came shortly after and directly because of making these pieces. First of all, those are nudes. Commonly called Not Work Safe. Now, I've already changed how I show such pieces here, and this is pertinent because I'm looking at self-promotion and that involves how work is displayed. Used to be I made such postings both behind a cut and Adult Content. I've left off on the latter lately, maintaining the 'cut' because I still think bandwidth issues come into play as well as content issues. Not everyone is interested in viewing nudes.

I also discussed this whole bit of my own reluctance to self-promote with another artist friend recently. Intellectually, I know this is not a bad thing. Quality of work will tell, people not interested in it will be not interested whether the work is self-promoted or promoted by another party. The thing is, there is something in my psyche, and I think I've got a handle on where it came from but not positive, which leads me to say Blowing My Own Trumpet is Bad Prideful, Someone Else Should Do For Me.

But... who? There's the rub. That whole huge flux in how art is displayed and marketed today comes into play. The music industry is one of the places we see this. Music publishing houses are rather unfriendly to music sharing websites. Well, OK, for good reason if copyright and appropriate payment to artists for their work are being abrogated. However, those same music publishing houses are a gate-valve on what music would be heard, and since their purpose is to make income for the business and stockholders, the choices will lean to What Sells. We see the same thing in movies, and in books, and in all the arts. What Sells is …

Well, hell, it is truly variable, really. Those of us selling art in any guise are not competing (another lesson from another artist mentor, though he wouldn't of called himself an artist I think) for the mortgage money, or the utility money, or the grocery money. That is budgeted, spent, to keep people and their families alive. We're competing for the Beer Money. What someone, anyone will choose to spend their Beer Money on (other than beer) is so very personal, that while it may match what those Big Production/Publishing Houses decide is popular therefor sells, it also does not.

So artists take up self-promotion. Some better than others. Probably because they've learned better.

Case in point. Those photos of mine, linked above. Same week I posted those, so did the model. Permission granted, no infringements since I believe artwork involving the participation of a model is affected by that participation. They get credit for that participation. Part of the credit is being able to display their part of the work, and even the sale of it providing that aspect is mutually agreed upon by all parties. So the model posted the work as well, in a couple of places, matching mine. On Madshutterbug on Deviant Art Dot Com and Madshutterbug on Flickr, specifically (links are to my spots).

Now, on Flickr I filter who can see nude work by, oh, call it subscriber. Flickr calls the setting 'Friends'. You'd need to hold an account on Flickr, and I need to tag you as a 'Friend' to see my nudes. This is because, in part, early on during my explorations of Flickr as a public gallery/forum I ran across a number of postings where people complained because the managers thereof deleted their accounts which contained nudity. Didn't want my account deleted. Filtered.

On Deviant Art, somewhat the same applies in that I classify the nudes as 'Mature Content' and then DA applies filters. Again, you need an account, and you need to set that up with a calendar age measure for you, or you'll see a place-holder image that says Mature Content. However, anyone with a DA account will see them, no additional filtering.

On both sites there are settings which allow users to download, or not, the images in question. I don't allow downloads; somewhere in my thinking is the concept that will encourage purchases. Perhaps it does.

What is high in my thinking here, stipulating that our Model possesses a larger viewer base because she's both been doing this (showing) longer than I, and more actively promoting the same, is that between our two separate but similar locations the traffic values on hers are significantly greater on the same images. On my stream over on DA, those images provided the all time high in measured traffic, and a tight cluster of people who added me to their 'Watch' list. All of them received a number of 'Faves' which is a type of collecting – a quick means to view those pieces again. On her stream, they also got downloaded. A lot.

A difference in self-promotion approaches.

There is risk involved changing the viewing settings. I've minimised those risks by selecting to filter. On the other hand, I've also then minimised the opportunities to view, and thus to promote my own work.
Being good and talented, able to see and then express, this should be enough in itself and others should see and recognise this and then start spreading the word, not the artist oneself. Myself. This is, then, how I've looked at the process of getting my artwork seen, seen and perhaps sold. Perhaps this worked well, or works well, in other cultures or times that valued art, and therefor the people who make art, more than say field labourers (to pick something). Perhaps I am fooling myself and even then and there, those artists who managed somehow to say to others 'Look! Listen! Read! See what I've done. I made that' are the ones who received recognition, and the quiet meek ones faded into obscurity. Or, more specifically to the point, made their income selling their work.

In either event, the realisation that I'm actually at the point in time on my plan that I need to promote my own work is arrived. Even with modifying it after that discussion with my brother, not waiting until I 'retired' to open my studio and start making more work, start finding ways to display and sell, the time is here that I will be transitioning into more time spent making Art and less time sold to Hospital.

And I seem to be finding myself reluctant. Imagine my surprise.

This entry was originally posted at http://madshutterbug.dreamwidth.org/118123.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
singingnettle
Jul. 6th, 2011 06:04 am (UTC)
I don't think it's at all surprising to be reluctant. It's crossing over into making a hobby a business, and opening yourself up to evaluation that is expressed monetarily. And treating what used to be just a pleasure as a business entails and attitude shift and a great deal of work. Nope, not surprising at all.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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