“Artists cannot market” is complete crap

Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid.com and the soon-to-be-published Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity tells it like it is in a recent interview:

Artists cannot market” is complete crap. Warhol was GREAT at marketing. As was Picasso and countless other Blue Chips. Of course, they’d often take the anti-marketing stance as a form of marketing themselves. And their patrons lapped it up.

The way artists market themselves is by having a great story, by having a Myth. Telling anecdotal stories about Warhol, Pollack, Basquiat, Van Gogh is both (A) fun and (B) has a mythical dimension if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have had movies made about them. The art feeds the myth. The myth feeds the art.

The worst thing an artist can do is see marketing as “The Other,” i.e. something outside of themselves. It’s not.

I’m the proud owner of, “The Bluetrain,” one Mr. MacLeod’s prints:

(Gotta get that booger hung and framed; get your own at Mr. MacLeod’s Gallery.)

I highly recommend you read the whole interview. A lot of it aligns with my recent rant during the Artists House live webcast, where I implored those watching not to wait around for the “Industry” or “Hand of God” to come pluck you out of anonymity (FF to about 10 minutes in for said rant).

While Mr. MacLeod is speaking about visual art, methinks it applies to music too:

Rich patrons are nice, but (A) there aren’t too many of them and (B), “Get in line, Dude”. It’s not like you’re the only one who thought of that business model. New York and London are FULL of young, aspiring hopefuls, just waiting for Charles Saatchi or some celebrity to come along, “discover” them, and make their Hollywood Ending a reality.

And as statistically unlikely the Hollywood Ending may be, even if your plan works, it can still come back and bite you in the ass. A friend of a friend, an artist, sold a sizable chunk of her work to Charles Saatchi a couple of years ago. She thought she was set for life. Then Mr Saatchi went ahead and sold it all back a year later. Her prices plummeted. In one fell swoop, Saatchi’s action had pretty much marked her forehead with an “X” for life. Nice try, Ma’am, but: Piss off. She was very bitter about it.

As Hugh would say, “Rock On!”

Tags: , ,

  1. meika’s avatar

    Bitter ales are good I reckon.

    Reply

  2. back’s avatar

    Artists are the ones that can actually market effectively!

    Reply

  3. Aqurium’s avatar

    'Artists cannot market' is a fake saying. It is not applicable on every artist.By this post we came to know that Picasso was a good marketer.In fact every artist tries to market himself/herself.No matter by which ever field they are related to.Actually they only want to do publicity of them self. So artists are the good marketers.

    Reply

  4. Indie’s avatar

    If an artist don't market there development it will really on waste. But artist are really good in marketing when they use their own design in marketing.

    Reply

  5. Gigs’s avatar

    New York and London are FULL of young, aspiring hopefuls, just waiting for Charles Saatchi or some celebrity to come along, “discover” them, and make their Hollywood Ending a reality.

    Reply

  6. matrix90’s avatar

    I agree with it that artists are the best and good in marketing and of course it is necessary for them also just to sell their talent.

    Reply

  7. tanunc’s avatar

    Only real artists can market

    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *