Soothing summer speculations 2019

How to reach out and reach more relevant people? Activities over the summer and some plans…

August 10, 2019

It’s summer but I don’t do holidays – I mean, if that means to “be away from it all” or lie in a deckchair somewhere, I am too happy with what I do and would be bored. I do things a bit more slowly and I do different things including garden work or perhaps painting windows, re-organising an archive, refining my work strategy, test some creative ideas – you know, the sort of nurturing tasks that may improve daily routines later, getting them done more quickly and smoothly.

I still spend too much time on administration, planning and marketing/reach-out compared with the time I create results, whether in my work as peace researcher or my work as art photographer.

It would indeed be great to reach more people

I still think I reach too few people although I have produced a professional homepage, am active on the relevant social media such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and also have a channel on Vimeo. And – in the role of art recommender – I publish stuff about other artists’ work and what I find so important to help promote; which is what I do on my blog and on Flipboard.

On the famous other hand, I don’t believe in quantity, in huge numbers of followers, Likers etc. But then, is there an artist who would not like to have his or her works exposed to more people than is the case…

It’s impossible to deny that social media work and marketing is also about quantity.

On Instagram, I am happy to grow my audience organically and to have only genuine followers. And if you are not world-famous or a celebrity – which I am not – there is no way to get hundreds of thousands of followers there or anywhere else – no matter the quality of your images and posts. People who do have hundreds of thousands or millions must use some services that harvest accounts, buy followers or God knows what. Or have a professional staff working 24/7 to “sell” their project or their personality.

A scary illustration of the hype and kitsch that characterize our times is a man by the name of Dan Bilzerian – there are many articles and videos about him but here is an 8 minutes video – which is more than enough to give you the flavour. He is called the King of Instagram with over 27 million followers!

Now that’s not that much compared with the biggest Instagram accounts of more than 100 million followers who are mainly footballers, musicians, actors, reality TV personalities and models. But still…

And here is the point: You won’t see any artists anywhere near those figures. David Hockney has 42.000, Damien Hirst 594.000, Jeff Koons 344.000, the Andy Warhol Museum 30.000 and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation 48.000 followers on Instagram. (I have just passed 2.900, no comparison intende).

So, what counts on social media? I’ve studied these things for quite a few years.

I believe it is a personal approach, ways of writing and communicating; it’s quality content, diversity, experimenting, hashtags, liking, commenting and doing all that regularly. It takes time and, admittedly, I am not a very patient person.

What I have not found out yet is how to reach what all marketing gurus tell you is so important to reach: your main target group. In my case, it would be other artists/photographers, collectors, art magazines and galleries. There is nothing wrong, I believe, in also wanting to sell something at some point.

But at the end of the day, you can only do so much – and then hope that your resilience, your regular postings – across the relevant social media – and your e-mail service will yield results over time. Sooner or later.

I do not even have a part-time assistant. And I have yet to find a good article or recipe about how to be a totally independent – i.e. not gallery-related – one-man artist creating also brilliant outreach and therefore having thousands of followers and dozens of clients queuing up.

Tell me if and when you find such an article!

The last few weeks and what is in the pipeline

Here is what is going on – in between everything else. Remember, I am also a peace researcher, writer and editor and work daily as director of TFF that has about 50 Associates around the world:

• I am grappling with how to get my SPAR – Silk Peace Art Road – installation presently shown in Venice in the context of the famous Biennale to travel from there along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries to China – touring, being seen and serve as backdrop for dialogues of civilisations, seminar and whatever else creative events. The Partnership Program is there. But contact work is slow, not the least over the summer.

• I have explored the – enigmatic – world of how to publish various types of stuff more effectively – posting more without spending more time doing so. Facebook’s new Creator Studio is helpful – integrating what you post on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram and the latter can now be served on the computer and not only on one’s smartphone.

• I’ve revived and intensified my curating of art materials on my “Global Art” magazine on Flipboard. It’s only positive energy and helps you find essentially important quality insights. Look here and follow!

• The works that make up the SPAR installation shall be printed and shown in my studio – for the first time – in September. It will open at “Night of Culture” in Lund on the 21st. They will be printed on fine art papers (those mounted on the installation itself are printed on canvas) and you can see them in this portfolio.
I am really excited to show them to my usual close and loyal audience.

• I’ve been experimenting with small ad-like images that present my new editions – such as those mentioned. Here the first three:

They take time to create – having tested various, I have settled for Canva – but they are handy to throw in anywhere and to send to people in e-mails. It remains to be seen whether or not they catch attention. I continue, so far, to work organically rather than add to the power and profits of corporations such as Facebook.

• And, finally – but not least – I intend to continue my experiments from the SPAR project – i.e. mounting art photography printed on canvas and painting them into plywood boards – smaller sizes than the huge ones in SPAR. I am fascinated by the combination of photography and painting – both being real (the photos not just playing a secondary role as transfer images) and interacting on equal terms. So far, I have not seen anyone else doing that.

Something like this – a detail from the SPAR installation:

It doesn’t mean I will not also continue with pure photography. But one must have projects, ideas, visions. And test them!

All the time…

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: PostArt # 74 – Soothing summer speculations – Oberg PhotoGraphics

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