Artists/Writers who don’t have extensive CVs or friends in high places or well-known names are desperate for an audience.
Everything I say here, by the way, is the same for sculptors, potters, paper makers, jewelry creators, etc etc etc. You know who you are.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of negative posts on Facebook regarding the requests for friendship as a way of introducing an artist’s work. In other words. someone asks someone to be friends and, if the friendship is accepted, the requester presents a page to be liked or a book promotion or the publishing of some work in a lit mag, or a group of photographs or a portfolio of paintings. It appears that, among some, this is considered very UNCOOL.
I don’t get it.
If we are not “friends” on social media, how are you supposed to draw my attention to your work?
It doesn’t matter how you happened upon my name; maybe you enjoy my work. Maybe you’ve seen me on one or another posts about writing or art and you want to introduce me to YOUR work. You’re not sure if you’d like to be my buddy, but you would like me to recognize and maybe even buy something and, even better, talk about it to others. But, to some, this is a kind of irritant or a symbol that you are just not COOL.
Well, I’ve never been real comfortable with what’s COOL or UNCOOL. It seems to me that garnering an audience in the art/literature game is really tough.
Most can’t afford the fees of PR businesses and, unless your book is being published by Random House or Black Sparrow Press or your paintings/photos are featured in a gallery or are part of a book of prints. you can figure that you–the artist–is the only one bringing that work to the world.
All we have is each other. The “life raft” that is the well-known, widely-read writer, or the artist who actually sells, is that person or persons we look to as a source of support. One good word from a big name or even a medium-size name can make a huge difference in a writer’s book sales/readership or in the sale of a painting or a photograph.
Note to those who are offended by such requests: No one is trying to offend important writers and artists and artisans. No one is trying to be your best friend–you probably have plenty of those. Most are not even trying to be a significant event in your lives. We’re all just trying to get a fucking foothold in the cold world of art and literature. We’d be incredibly grateful if you’d just take a look at what we do. We just really want to get your attention somehow. Didn’t you ever want that for your own stories and poems and pictures? We’re just hoping that MAYBE you MIGHT buy one of our books from the small, independent publisher who had 6 ounces of faith in a few of us and published us, or that you like the painting you see on our pages enough to ask about it, find out its price. None of that is about COOL or UNCOOL. It’s about support–any way, any kind.
Really, it’s as simple as ignoring the request if it offends you.
So, here is my note to artists: if you want me, Martina, to take special notice of what you do and you request “friendship” of me in the hope that I’ll do that, that’s fine. I’ll take a look at your work, your page, your pictures. If I like your work, I’ll tell others. If I have some money to spend, I’ll buy something. If it’s not for me, I’ll say nothing. But you are more than welcome to “friend” me and guide me to your page, to ask me to “like” that page or like you, or have a look at your work.
The world needs its artists. COOL or UNCOOL, you can buzz me. I’ll definitely have a look.