Rule Your Universe: Dread Scott on Marketing Your Work

Dread Scott's "Burning the US Constitution."

Dread Scott’s “Burning the US Constitution.”

We all know that an artist’s work doesn’t end with her time at the studio. Artists are their own creators, and also their own cheerleaders. It is their passion for their art making that can get other people—be it viewers, curators, critics, or collectors—involved and interested in their practice.
Artist Dread Scott knows this better than most. The revolutionary potential of his own work—including installations, performances, and paintings—feeds off of the attention and participation of his community. On January 19th, he leads Creating a Marketing Strategy, our upcoming webinar that covers all aspects of marketing your work, including defining your goals, developing effective communication tactics, and building your support community. We asked Dread what artists need to know about MailChimp and how we can be rulers of our own universe. RSVP today!

Ana Cecilia Alvarez: Some artists might shudder at the idea of including “marketing” as part of their creative process. Why do you encourage artists to foster good marketing skills?
Dread Scott: Marketing has a bad reputation and deservedly so. I don’t encourage artists to become ad men or used car salesmen. However most artists want to connect their art with some audience, large or small. We spend tremendous time and care making art. Our art deserves a passionate advocate who can connect the art with the audience we would like. That is our job. Even when we have partner organizations, like galleries, museums, theaters, agents etc, it is our responsibility to think about the people, whether a single curator or a community of migrant laborers or the international art world, we would like to reach with it and the best ways to present our art to them.
Ana: Everyone in the art world is a member of at least a handful of newsletters—be it from their favorite venues, organizations, or artists. What recommendations do you have for artists that want to build up their list of contacts?
Dread: The contacts that are most valuable to you are those relationships you have developed over time. The people who come to your exhibitions, buy your MP3s, hang out with you and drink beer, program your performances, and people likely to do these things in the future are more important than any list you can buy. Mailing lists are built over time. So all people who have supported you in any way, shape, or form—past or present—should be on your list. And going forward, I would encourage people to link their email marketing software (MailChimp, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, etc) to their website and allow people to sign up there. Those that visit your site and are already curious about your work are the people who you want on your list.
Ana: Do you have any tips for how artists can keep their community engaged between or after the completion of a project?
Dread: All communities are different. For those that you can email, I’d encourage emailing every 1-4 months, assuming that they have agreed to receive this much email from you. To that end, I’d encourage people to collect email addresses from people during the course of their project(s). And let them know what to expect from you as far as communication. People who get excited about project A, probably will want to know about your plans for project B & C. If you let them know that they are going to hear from you about future projects and they sign up for that, then you have made a deal with them. They expect to hear from you.
Ana: What do you hope people will learn from your webinar?
Dread: How to rule their universe.
Join us for Creating a Marketing Strategy on Thursday, January 19th, 7:00-8:30pm to discuss how you can integrate marketing skills into your creative practice. 

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