Can we be an artist when nobody sees our work?
As a photographer I aspire to evoke emotions and touch people’s lives through my art.
In our pursuit of artistic expression, we often fall into the trap of believing that our creations will speak for themselves. But we have to endeavour in some kind of audience building creating a platform for our work before we consider to sell it.
In the age of social media, it seems as if the landscape is shifting. Instagram, once a bustling hub of creative exploration, is on the decline. Instead, niche platforms have emerged, but I’m sceptical that these platforms are able to help me forge genuine connections with my audience.
So, where does one turn in search of alternatives?
Can we be an artist when nobody sees our work? The simple answer to this is yes. Because we choose to be an artist and we pick ourselves. What matters is how we see ourselves. But there’s more to it. As an artist, we also like to be seen.
Last Sunday I went to the Berlin Art Fair. Which is kind of a flea market where local artists displaying their work and offer them to sell. As I walked across the flea market or the art fair, I realised that there are two types of artists when it comes to allowing taking pictures of their work.
Those who guarded their work, forbidding photography by putting up signs: Please do not photograph., and those who embraced it with signs of their Instagram handle or QR code which will lead to their social media or website.
I personally would go for the later. Because – my concern is more to be seen than selling my work. At the moment I am not even thinking about making money of my art.
In our pursuit of artistic expression, we often fall into the trap of believing that our creations will speak for themselves. But that’s not how I perceive it. I’ve come to realize that building an audience.
Let me give you an example:
During my visit to the art fair, I struck up a conversation with a talented photographer who offered an array of amazing prints and postcards. Her work was captivating, the kind that belonged in art galleries and exhibitions. However, as we talked, she confessed that the pieces on display were the culmination of a decade’s worth of photography, capturing moments with friends and family. Witnessing her sit behind a booth, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of empathy.
As creators we love to build stuff first and then think about how to market it. And don’t get me wrong – I have fallen into this trap too. Recently I designed a portrait photography workshop and now I am struggling to find people who will attend in it.
Another photographer I know ventured into the realm of self-publishing, crowdfunding her photo book. Undoubtedly, her efforts paid off, but not without immense dedication and exhaustion. She admitted that she would not embark on such a venture again.
So here is the thing – we have to endeviour in some kind of audience building creating a platform for our work before we consider to sell it.
But how? To be honest – I don’t know for sure. Of course, there are photo awards and magazines – but which of them are real and worth the effort. Especially if our work does fit into a specific genre. Going out in the real world seems to be the most promising think to do right now – asking cafes if they want to do display my work. This podcast is also an attempt to connect with you, my dear audience, and sharing my overall thought process on the topic.