Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the Newspaper!

This weekend is the debut of my pastels at the Midwest Salute to the Arts, a juried show located here in Southern Illinois. Today, the local paper ran a feature article on me and my work. It was all very last minute! The reporter called me on Monday, we met Tuesday after my school ended, and she wrote it Wednesday so that it could be in Thursday's Lifestyle Section. Whew! After a two-hour interview complete with a photographer, I was pleased with the article (despite two typos!). See the link above to read it. How did I end up being the one artist chosen to be highlighted? Pure luck? No way! I made sure the right people knew about my work in a way that made my story very intriguing.

But getting the article in the paper got me to thinking about how artists really need to promote themselves. In my last blog, I gave some advice on how to express yourself with galleries, and some of that holds true for getting free advertising, too. As the reporter was leaving, I asked her how she picked me out of all the local artists who will be featured. She said it was because of the press release I had emailed to the paper the week before. Aha!

The trick to writing an effective press release is the spin. For mine, there were several angles I could have taken with this story:
  1. I'm a local artist who will be showing work in the Salute to the Arts (SA). [boring!]
  2. I'm a local artist who will be displaying his work for the first time at SA [better, but not much]
  3. I'm a local teacher displaying my work for the first time [better yet - more interesting]
  4. I'm a local science teacher displaying my landscapes for the first time [science and art together?! WOW!]

As it turns out, this is the angle used. I then wrote 4 short (2 - 3 sentences) paragraphs on topics that could be covered in the article, just to give them ideas, so they could see the potential. It was written in the third person, as if I were writing about someone else (I thought this would assuage my conscience, who was afraid I was bragging too much!). Then I gave them my contact information and my website so they could see more of my work. I had just about given up hope when she called.

So promote yourself! It's not bragging, it's spreading news.

Keep painting!



magicmyst said...

I love your insights into art and your thoughts on self promotion are great. It sounds like your art career is really taking off. Good luck with the show this weekend, I will keep my fingers crossed. I am still trying to get my work into galleries etc. I have been doing the rounds of all the local art shows this year to try and get my name out there and my work known. A slow process. You sound much more proactive. Once again I hope you do well with the show this weekend. Kay

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Great advice on promotion, Matthew. I enjoyed seeing your work too.

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Matthew, Love you advise and your art. I am partial to pastels as that was my first medium, but I must say your jewelry is killer too.

Any advise on how to approach a gallery, especially one out of your area?

PastelGuy said...

Carol - thanks for visiting my blog! Galleries receive so many cold calls/emails, that they rarely answer many of them. I would suggest calling someone at the gallery and developing a rapport (no matter how short)before sending images of your work. If you can ask for a particular person by name when you call, that would indicate you've done your research, and make your call sound less like a sales call. When you talk to someone, tell them you'd like to send some images, and 'May I send them you your gallery care of you?' Or better yet, ask, 'To whom at your gallery should I send pictures of my work?' Then they just can't say, 'No' and hang up on you (I used to be in sales, can you tell?). Good luck!