Post from August, 2018

Shake Your Booty!

Sunday, 26. August 2018 23:48

“You gotta shake your booty—right.” So said a friend who was trying to explain to me that it’s not enough to do good work—or even great work. In addition to doing good work you have to promote that work—in the right way. It’s not an uncommon notion: not only do we now have to build a web site, we have to promote that web site; then we have to drive traffic to that website, generally using social media. So “shaking your booty” in worlds of arts and ideas is not quite as simple as it might be on a personal level.

We sometimes think that this is a dictum that is a result of the information age. However, I recall having a discussion with one of my graduate advisors about how James Joyce in 1921 ceased to be James Joyce, artist, and became James Joyce, huckster, as he shopped Ulysses to various publishers in Europe. It took him a year. It was not a new problem for him; it took him nine years to find a publisher for Dubliners, a book of short stories.

So this is not a new problem. I suspect that if we look carefully into the history of many art works we will find the same pattern. The artist must become the salesman or marketer of his/her own work. Then once s/he has found the correct publisher or gallery or agent, the promotion effort transfers to that person or organization. But it starts—must start—with the artist, particularly the artist who is not yet “established.” This is not a problem that Stephen King has, but it is a concern for artists who have not yet arrived at a level of national or international acclaim.

The only difference is that now the problem has become more complex. It’s one thing to move from publisher to publisher or agent to agent or gallery to gallery, looking for acceptance. It’s an entirely different thing to get one’s work noticed, much less appreciated, when the internet puts the world at the fingertips of everyone, and the artist is competing for attention with all the other artists on the planet, both living and dead.

And the landscape is always changing, depending upon the demographic of your target audience, so what worked last month, will not necessarily work this month because “the world has moved on” and yesterday’s social platform is now out of date; there is a new social platform that has taken its place.

And like James Joyce, the artist of today must make that initial effort. S/he must compete—for attention if nothing else. And that means not only producing great work, but being sure that work gets noticed by someone. In order to do that, s/he must compete with all the other artists and artisans and marketers competing for that same attention. Once noticed, the artist may—through the use of the right platforms and correct presentation—become known and appreciated.

The problem is two-fold: (1) create excellent work (2) get people to notice it. So the artist must not only be an artist, but a marketer—or know someone who is. Someone has to shake the booty. And it must be in the right way on the right platform to attract the right audience. Otherwise it’s all wasted effort. Good work is simply not enough!

Category:Audience, Presentation | Comment (0) | Author:

Blocked? Make the Problem the Subject

Monday, 13. August 2018 1:53

Blogging and making art are not the same, but they are similar. The core procedures are nearly identical. The artist/blogger has ideas; s/he has to translate those ideas into some communicable form and send it into the world. Sometimes the artist/blogger has a notion as to whether the product is good or not; sometimes s/he doesn’t. The problem is, of course, that the artist/blogger has no idea what the audience is going to see in the product or say about what they see.

When everything is working properly, the artist and blogger have similar processes. S/he gets an idea, develops that idea, communicates the idea, edits the communication, and moves on to the next project. Regardless of how the audience might or might not respond, there is a feeling of accomplishment, of closure that makes moving forward easier.

And when everything is not working properly, the problems are similar. Creative block preys on both the artist and the blogger. There are just times when the painter has no idea what to paint, when no new ideas come to the choreographer, when the playwright stares past the screen, not knowing where the plot is going. The same holds true for bloggers; ideas don’t come, and for most bloggers the problem is exacerbated by deadlines, since bloggers often work on a schedule.

A problem comparable to creative block is the problem of too many ideas at once. Ideas come to the artist/blogger quickly and s/he has no opportunity to develop one fully before another arises and fights for attention. The net result is that no idea gets full development and the artist/blogger feels that s/he is running in circles. And there is no product.

What to do?  There are literally thousands of articles dealing with creative block and how to overcome it. So the how is fairly well documented; all the artist or the blogger needs to do is pick one or more of those methods which s/he thinks will work for him/her.

Dealing with too many ideas or the inability to fully develop ideas is more complex. The first step is to record the ideas as they appear, lest some of them get away. Just because they are recorded does not mean that the artist/blogger has to use them, but it does preserve them. And the act of recording can sometimes suggest a pattern of development or a reason to hold off developing that particular idea at this particular time. After that, it becomes a matter of scanning the recorded ideas to see what engages.

If that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always doodle or outline or sketch or involve him/herself in whatever form preliminary development takes. Sometimes that can get the mind working and development can proceed.

And if that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always make the project about the problem. Thus we have movies, plays, even musicals about creative block, for example Barton Fink, , and Nine. We have blogs such as this. The problem becomes the subject matter of the piece. It may not be the best solution, but it does break the cycle and allow the artist/blogger to actually create something, to produce, and to move on to the next project.

Category:Creativity, Productivity | Comment (0) | Author:

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