The virtue of exhibiting your art is something I never thought I’d have to write about. I took it for granted that all artists want to exhibit their work. Not so.
Many artists are relying on Internet sales. If you can make a living and be fulfilled as an artist by showing your art only online, good for you. If you crave more, read on.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about why you shouldn’t trust any single marketing method to get your message out. I told the story of almost missing a local event because I wasn’t connecting with the Facebook feed of one of the artists.
What I didn’t discuss in that article was the brilliance of the exhibit itself.
The artists didn’t wait for a venue. They made their own!
Six artists rented a conference/banquet room in a boutique hotel for a one-night only event. They set up booths and relied on their lists and connections to get art-lovin’ bodies in the door.
It was crowded in there! Lots of people came, and sales were made.
Best of all, visitors experienced the art in person.
As a former museum professional, I am trained to be objects-focused. That means I look to the object (art) to tell me its story rather than relying on critical discourse or historical theories. I will go to my grave preaching about the virtues of exhibiting your art.
The Internet is an amazing tool, but it can never replace encountering a real work of art. (Other than, of course, art created for the Web.)
Art is a form of communication. You might think you make art as a form of self-expression, but you know that your work is incomplete until people see it and respond to it. You understand the synergy that erupts when you are in a room full of people looking at and talking about your art.
Nothing in the artist’s experience compares.
Exhibiting your art provides a space and a time frame for people to appreciate the true colors, lines, textures, patterns, and scale. Art takes on richness in this environment that it doesn’t have when it’s sitting in your studio.
Perhaps more importantly, exhibiting your art allows you to have a dialogue with people about the work. You can’t help but learn and grow from these experiences.
It isn’t necessary to wait on venues to say Yes to showing your work. Follow the example of the artists in the opening of this article and rent a space. Or host an open studio or open house.
Do anything to put your art in front of flesh-and-bones people and begin the conversation. It’s good for you!