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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Visual Artists as Rock Stars - Creating Excitement in the Art World

[pah-puh-raht-soh; Italian pah-pah-raht-tsaw] 

A freelance photographer, especially one who takes candid pictures of celebrities for publication.

This blogger artist dressing the part in purple for an event

A recent article for a the line up of a large Jazz show showed all these amazing musicians who would be in attendance. Photos of the previous years show were full of bright lights, excitement, red carpets and the stars of the show being lauded as modern day heroes as they arrived to play.

It started me thinking. Why do musicians get this kind of acclaim where artists get very little. Sure the artistic greats like Vermeer and Picasso are heralded as great icons of our society. But why is so little attention paid to the living great artists?

As much as I personally disliked his style, Andy Warhol understood the paparazzi. His shows were amazing spectacles that set the art world on fire. But why is this the exception to the rule rather than the standard? The music world is exactly the opposite. It is the rule rather than the exception.

Sure there are levels to this. You wouldn't expect an artist who paints beach scenes to have a huge unveiling no more than you would expect a folk singer to do so. But tell me. Couldn't the art world use a little more glitz and glamour?  I know many will disagree with me on this. "Art should be stately and above such nonsense". But wouldn't it serve the artists of the world more if there were red carpet events for the unveiling of great works of art? We do it for movies and yes the occasional huge piece of art that might be a centerpiece for a city or for some new building being erected.

If you remember the movie Dogma from the 90's, the Catholic Cardinal wanted to create a new campaign called "God WoW" to make Catholicism a bit more enticing to the youth. While I would not suggest this is really a good idea for organized religion, there is nonetheless a grain of truth to the idea.

How many art gallery openings do you go to where you see many faces in the crowd under 25? It happens, but not as often as it should. If you get kids excited about art early on, then art stays with them their whole life. This is a proven fact.

Artists are solitary creatures. Those reading this article are probably cringing at the thought of placing themselves in a rock stars mentality just to sell their work. Not to mention the thought of grubby toddlers running around touching their paintings.

But if we are going to change the paradigms of the art world to better engage the public and better sell our work, then we have to consider these things. And face it, we put as much energy into creating a piece of art as a musicians uses to create a song. Both have equal value in our society but there is truly an imbalance in the way each are presented to the public.

Why is it that artists in New York City can have a glitzy opening for their shows but an artist in Shreveport , Louisiana can't? I would think its even more important in the small towns around the world to make a bigger deal rather than less about our artists. They should shine as equally as any comparable singer would.

In all our research as artists into the best ways to market ourselves, this is perhaps the area we are the weakest about. Why worry about such things when we are just satisfied to be discovered and in a gallery in the first place? But if we want to continue to sell then we need to make a name for ourselves as artists. Our work speaks for us. But any good marketer will tell you that the "cult of personality" sells.

If we are going to be serious artists, then this is an area we need to consider also. Don't fear the paparazzo, make them work for you.


My bald phase, again dressing the part at a show a few years ago. 

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