I've been promoting other people's artwork with video for years, but only occasionally pointing the microphone back at myself. The good part is that I could write my script ahead of time and rework it and rework it. The delete key was my best friend in this endeavor. I tore out all the sentences that didn’t carry their weight, as I did when I was an editor, preparing writers’ stories for publication. Lean is better. You’re not wasting your readers’ time if you pare down your story to its juiciest, most flavorful elements. When I was studying journalism in college, I remember hearing a professor say, “Reading is work. You have to overcome your readers’ resistance to reading by writing well. Reward them for their efforts.” It’s probably the best advice I got in college.
While writing my script, which was promoting my new, small paintings, I wrote about the benefits to artists of painting small paintings, how artists grow quickly in technical skills by making a lot of small paintings in quick succession. But as the hours went by and I opened my laptop and looked at the script again, I reminded myself that I was talking to people who would consider buying the paintings. So I focused on why small paintings are good for them, both financially and artistically. Know your audience, Amanda. If they want to look at my personal motivations, my blog is right here. Facebook is for the quick takeaway.
Finally, art drop-off day came. After climbing what seemed like endless stairs to the third floor of Gage Academy of Art (the place has high ceilings, so a lot of stairs), I hung my eight paintings in a nice, triangular arrangement and submitted my prices to the curator. I shot some video of the paintings on the wall with my iPhone. I stepped back and stood there for a minute, then I hung my head with a mixture of defeat and resolve. Go down to your car, Amanda, and get the good camera. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t. I stood there, looking at the floor. Sighing, I gathered my stuff and shuffled toward the stairs.
I trudged up the stairs again, shot footage of my paintings with the good camera, and slowly descended, feeling old and tired. But, I reasoned, who is going to drive all the way to the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle to buy a painting if they’ve never seen how it’s framed, or seen the scale of a painting compared to other paintings on the wall? So, by the time I slid into the driver’s seat, I was glad I went to the trouble to get the good camera. The cost of high standards is more work. The rewards are satisfaction and, if I'm lucky, sales.
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