Everyone knows that the #1 way to attract fans for your art is to make amazing work. That's no secret.
But I'm going to let you in on a hush-hush marketing strategy that will draw even more people into your circle: education.
Before you doze off at the word “education,” consider why you should heed my advice.
Most of the population was raised without an art education. If they were a student of the 1960s or 1970s, as I was, they probably had to make clay ashtrays or embellish turkeys from an outline drawing of their hands.
But that’s about the extent of it. Most adults haven’t been trained how to look at and appreciate art.
To these people, art can be stuffy, elitist, and inaccessible. Here’s where you step in.
Part of your job in promoting your art is to give viewers a pathway to your work — to show them how to look at and appreciate it.
If you want to reach the widest possible audience, it’s critical that you accept your role as primary educator for your art.
Most artists think of educating about the media, but I’d like for you to teach people how to look.
Showing people how to view your art empowers them. It gives them skills they’ll use forever.
Whenever appropriate, talk about some of the formal elements of your work:
- Line (parallel, symmetrical, straight, diverging, undulating)
- Color (muted, intense, complementary, monochromatic)
- Shape (geometric, organic, repeated)
- Texture (rough, smooth, bumpy)
If your work leans toward the conceptual, discuss ideas and how viewers can use their life experience as an entry point.
To be the best educator, don’t lecture, but engage people in a dialogue. Listen to the questions that arise and pay attention to the aha moments.
Making amazing work is one thing, but helping people to understand why it’s amazing can lead to more fans.
How do you educate people about your art?