Ok part blog entry and part rant, we'll start with the blog entry part. I have a new somewhat comprehensive catalogue that gives a good idea of the work that I've been doing since around 1998. It is creatively titled, Frank Plant, Selected Works 1998-2005, and goes through all of the what more or less could be called creative periods or spells that I've passed through since then. First basic drawings in steel, more complex ones, Interactivity etc.... I have to say I feel like a new father except that this child had a gestation period of 12 months instead of nine.
Start rant. Now publicity is a tricky subject for the modern artist, we love it and can't get enough of it for obvious reasons. Without publicity, and this comes in many forms whether it be openings, newspaper/magazine articles, catalogues, interviews, word of mouth and or web site/blog type thingys, we are relegated to a very small public which usually includes a couple friends, a neighbor or two, spouse/ boyfriend/ girlfriend type person and a blind aunt that has always been supportive. This unfortunately, if you ever want to give up the day job, is not good enough, so the challenge is to get the word out without that part of the endeavor taking over your life.
The cover of the new catalogue, for those of you in the know with metal work you'll realize that this is a grinding disc which you put on a grinder to clean metal after it's been welded. It is a fundamental part of my everyday existence in the studio. For those of you not in the know you can now escape from the questions in your head of "Why does he have a CD/DVD on the cover of his catalogue?", "What on earth do disc brakes have to do with sculpture?". Mystery solved, it's a grinding disc.
Various pages of the new catalogue
Uber Israeli design goddess Ifat Zvirin, without whose generosity and patience this book would not exist.
As of maybe 6 or 7 years ago I began to realize the increasing amount of time that organization and production work were taking out of my everyday schedule. Emails and info to galleries, festivals, the occasional blind aunt, interested buyers, and basically anybody that would listen. Also designing things, some people might think that designers and artists are one in the same or at least reasonably similar, I tend to disagree as it seems that I would have a difficult time designing my way out of a wet paper bag. Designing publicity and or a web page for example on anything other than a very basic level for me would probably be a mistake as people tend to take this image of you, rightly or wrongly, as a representation/reflection of your level of professionalism or quality. So you gotta be a bit careful.
Also once you have something attractive how do you get it out there? Well I'll be the first to admit that artists today have it ten million times easier than say even 15 years ago because of the advent of the internet. I hung my web page and eventually it got picked up by internet bots that do us the service of organizing the web a bit for us. the following are a couple examples.
The list goes on especially if you like to spend hours in front of the computer. Will you ever sell something through these pages? I'm sure it's happened, I on the other hand I have not but I do get alot of people to my sight through them.
I also have a free service called Statcounter that is pretty efficient at keeping me up to date on who is visiting my site and when, what you do with the info is up to you. I'm pretty much limited to marvelling at the fact that someone from Fiji viewed my site yesterday at 5:48 PM. It's still a pretty cool site.
My favorite form of press has to be magazine spreads though, guaranteed circulation, you can put in weblinks and contact info and people can view it at there leisure.
Trendy Culture mags will do if your not ready for Artforum or if they're not interested. Usually comes with a small interview and some photos.
Design Mags are also great because alot of designers and architects, at least in my mind, use them as source material.
Also I hate to say it but normally the glossier the better, I think there must be a mathematical equation somewhere that explains the relationship between gloss in magazines and the tax bracket of their readership.
Now maybe one day you arrive at the wonderful and priviledged stage of having some agent or gallerist to take care of all these woeful duties for you but until that day it's good to get as used to as possible the ever increasing role that getting the message out will play in the life of the emerging artist. Whether that means getting your head around photoshop and freehand or just becoming the consummate press whore the reality is that (and this is nothing new) increasingly the art world is becoming commercialized and to compete in the absence of subsidies or blinding success the media can be very helpful.