Self promotion has a bad press in the arts, with a hint of business and cynicism about it that can be hard to square with an artist's core career of exhibiting, making and selling works of art. But, obviously, without telling people about what you do, no-one will ever hear about it.
Curators and critics won't pay attention to your work, audiences won't hear about it and people won't know how, or if, they want to buy it. Some form or promoting or informing people about your practice is vital if you work is to be shown, sold or written about, or you are to get jobs doing talks or events related to your work. No matter what kind of work you make, or what kind of career you think you have, self promotion is necessary or no-one will ever hear about the work you are doing.
Promoting yourself needn't be about high-profile 'networking' or cynically using people for your own ends. Your friends, studio colleagues, and even the people you meet at parties and gallery openings are all part of the network you use to promote yourself and your work, just as you are a part of theirs. Building and maintaining this interested and engaged network is one of the most important aspects of self promotion, so that you can effectively tell people who have expressed an interest in your work when you have new projects or exhibitions.
At its best, most effective, and most enjoyable, 'self promotion' and 'networking' are about finding and making new friends. At a basic level, therefore, you will be doing much self promotion already - meeting with friends, giving them opening night cards or business cards, telling them about projects you are doing or want to do. You might also be setting up a website, talking about your practice on social networks, preparing your CV or writing media releases, all of which you would tell your friends about as well.
This section contains descriptions of a number of useful tools you can use to promote yourself and your work, as well as an overview of how you can use them to create a coherent message about your work. It is designed to help you identify audiences for your work, develop the information you want to communicate, and use different promotional tools to get your message across.
In March 2009, Artquest hosted a talk by artist Gordon Cheung on his approach to self promotion, as part of our Self Assembly series. You can listen to the audio from this talk on the Self Assembly page of the website.