Once you have your artwork ready, you need to get it noticed. The standard way of doing this is to send out postcards or to approach galleries. Tv storyboard had also a standard way of creating films.
You could also use social media. But while social media is useful for certain things, it’s not so useful for getting noticed by galleries or collectors. For one thing, it’s too easy. Anybody can show up on Facebook or Instagram and tell the world they are an artist. And because anyone can do it, everyone does it. To get people to notice your work among all the other noise — that’s hard. And if art is hard, making a video about art is even harder because you have to make something that is both good art and good advertising for your work.
For another thing, people are used to looking at pictures of art on social media — but they aren’t used to looking at them in a way that would help them evaluate the art. The works are too small, too distorted by the camera angle or the filters applied to them, or just far away enough that they can’t see any details.
The traditional means of getting a job in a creative field, or to be recognized as a creative person in your own right, is to get your work shown in galleries and reviewed in the media. But there are other ways. The most successful alternative is to make things that people can’t help but see.
The most obvious way to make yourself visible is by making things that are disturbing or disgusting or sexual or gory. There is a thriving business in these things, and it can put you in touch with people who matter.
The opposite end of the spectrum would be if you could invent a new kind of art that no one had ever seen before. If you were completely original you might well become famous just by showing it to people who know what they’re looking at. You’d need something no one has figured out how to do before — the Mona Lisa was new because Leonardo didn’t just paint on canvas, he painted with oil on canvas — but if you could manage that, you’d get noticed fast.
Another approach is to promote yourself without any reference to your work at all. The movie business does this better than any other creative industry by having celebrities who aren’t actors or directors or screenwriters but whose name alone can get people into theaters.
When I was a kid making origami cranes at the kitchen table, my brother Gabriel would come in and throw them in the trash. He would do this every day, without fail. It was a real problem for me.
But it also helped me with an early lesson in getting people to notice your work: you need to be able to withstand criticism. When I was at MIT, teaching a short course on origami, one of the students brought in a beautiful model she had made; it was mostly white and made out of one sheet of paper. I told her that the folds she had used were not the most efficient way to make that design and that if she wanted to make it again, she could save some paper by doing it differently.
This seemed like good advice to me; when I make an origami crane, I use a different fold than the standard ones in the diagrams. But my comment upset her. On the next class period she showed up with a new model, which was mostly black and made out of four sheets of paper rather than one.
My friend’s black swan seemed like an overreaction until I realized why she had done it.
You are an artist, and you want people to notice your art. So how do you get them to notice it?
The first step is the hardest: to admit that in order for people to notice your art, they have to know about it. There are no shortcuts here. You can’t just hope that what you consider good art will be recognized as good by everyone else.
The next step is also hard: to admit that there may be better ways for people to know about your art than the way you are doing it now. That doesn’t mean you should give up on your art; it just means having enough respect for your audience’s time and attention to consider whether what you are doing could be more effective than it is now. Click here for standard art value.