Identifying audiences

These are the key people you want to reach with your self-promotion, and this is why it’s important to reach them.

Gallerists and curators: If the right galleries and curators know about your work you’re more likely to get invited to participate in exhibitions (see why exhibitions are important to an artist’s career). If the gallery is commercial one, it can connect you to another key audience collectors.

Collectors: These are the people that buy your work (if you make the kind of work you can sell). While the archetypal image of a collector may be of a wealthy, suited and booted art buyer, the majority of sales are made by artists to people they already know, who are familiar with their practice and the story behind it. So effectively communicating and promoting your practice to the right people increases your chance of sales. Read more about collectors.

Writers and the press: One specific goal of promotion is to get press coverage. The press is one of your key channels to all of these other audiences.  Furthermore, favourable press coverage endorses your practice to the people reading about it, making them more likely to come to a show, or buy your work. Read about how to write a better Press release. Listen to writer Colin Perry talk about how to get your work written about. 

Funders and other decision makers: When you apply for something, be it a residency, an open exhibition opportunity or for funding, the people making the decisions are members of the art world community who go to exhibitions and keep abreast of the work artists are making. If you’re visible and they know you’re an active artist making good work it will stand your application in better stead. Read more about making better funding applications.

Other artists: An often overlooked audience is your fellow practitioner. If other artists know about your work, they can recommend you to curators, gallerists and collectors they know, or even invite you to participate in shows they are organising themselves. Reaching other artists is how we build the professional connections that provide valuable critical feedback that pushes our work forward and the day to day recommendations and advice that make working as an artist easier. Read more about how to reach your fellow artists.

This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material.
The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.