Dealing with the Distasteful aspects of Self Promotion

"In The Sunlight" by Hodges Soileau OPA, 17x13

“In The Sunlight” by Hodges Soileau OPA, 17×13

The issue of successfully promoting one’s efforts is one that has always given me great pause. I know the importance of not being out of sight for to long….out of sight out of mind. Unfortunately, things move so quickly now that any effort made is fleeing at best. That being said, one still must make the effort. It is not only the self conscious part of it, but the time required to put email ads and newsletters together, face book, etc., that I have the most difficulty with. All of that is time consuming and not much fun. That is time that I personally would prefer spending with brush in hand.

"A Little Rest" by Hodges Soileau OPA, 12 x 16

“A Little Rest” by Hodges Soileau OPA, 12 x 16

I have always had difficulty with this, as I’m sure many artists do. There is something about tooting one’s own horn that is somehow distasteful to me. In my early years as an illustrator, it never was much of an issue for me, because I never had to deal with it. I always had a rep/agent that took care of this type of stuff for me….of course, this came with a price. Reps/agents take a commission, and deservedly so. It was always worth it to not have to deal with this type of minutia, with the work loads and deadlines we had at the time.

"Info for Repairs (The Issac Hayes)" by Hodges Soileau OPA, 12x16

“Info for Repairs (The Issac Hayes)” by Hodges Soileau OPA, 12×16

I have been giving this much thought lately as I seem to be spending more time on the computer than I really want to. The more I try to do, or involve myself with, the less time I have to do the important one….which is painting. I try to help the Galleries that represent me as much as possible by sending out announcements, newsletters to my mailing lists, and postings on Face Book and my blog. Even though it is a drop in the bucket, compared to the audience that can be reached by spending a lot of money on expensive ads in major art magazines, I feel like I am contributing somewhat to our partnership. There is after all only so much time in one day or week….using it efficiently is extremely important. These are the areas in my business that I find myself wanting to take shortcuts, or become more efficient at……leaving more quality time for painting.

"Early Morning" by Hodges Soileau OPA, 9x15

“Early Morning” by Hodges Soileau OPA, 9×15

"The Curious Bay Mare" by Hodges Soileau OPA, 6x6

“The Curious Bay Mare” by Hodges Soileau OPA, 6×6

I can only speak for myself when it comes to this discussion. Some folks may like this part of the business, so this is not necessarily a universal opinion held by everyone. The one thing I am sure of is the absolute need to not neglect this part of the art business. As far as answers to solving the problem, or the best solution….I do not have a solution, except to try and find what seems to work for me personally. Again, as in most things, one size does not fit all. What works for me might not be a suitable solution for someone else. Unfortunately the learning process as it relates to this requires making mistakes, and wasting time and sometimes money, with things that really do not advance your career or cause.

Again, thanks for listening to my Cajun Ramblings.

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  • Sandra Babb

    Agreed. This is very difficult for me to keep up. My website is outdated (we are working on it), my blog is not up to date either. I’m recently having problems getting images up on Facebook. January brings a sense of urgency to get organized and “out there”. Your paintings are wonderful and your ramblings are thought provoking. We just keep plodding along…like you write-some things work with the public and others are not so effective. Keep passing along the ideas.

    • Hodges Soileau

      Sandra, at least you seem to know what needs to be taken care of. It is mostly a time management problem. I neglect my blog at times, and post in spurts with spaces of inactivity. I’m sure many have the same issue I personally have…..of putting off doing the things that are not fun to do. Thanks for your comment, and good luck with this in 2013.

  • Betsy Jones Wade

    Thank you for your well written comments. It almost seems that art is a 2 person job, one to do the paintings and the other to do the marketing, framing,etc. It’s almost too much for one person. Your paintings are knock-out gorgeous and I am looking forward to your workshop in Bradenton this spring. I have noted some artists of mediocre caliber that are aggressive marketers and appear to be sucessful while some very high caliber artists do not care to market and go unrecognized.

    • Hodges Soileau

      Betsy, I agree with you. It seems that it is possible to raise ones profile with aggressive marketing to some degree. My answer to that is, just think what these higher caliber artists you mentioned would do with the same marketing strategy. It is a choice….as distasteful as it is, it really must be addressed…..whether one does it his or herself, or with help if lucky. I’m looking forward to the workshop….hope we get enough folks to sign up to make it happen! Thanks for your comment,

  • Joseph Melancon

    Hodge you have touched on something near universal and tough. I think about it often and wonder how other artists handle it. I find that the older I get the less I want to self promote and the more I want to paint. I want to leave a legacy and sell more paintings but have less of an inclination to promote. You’re right it takes away the limited time we have left… especially we older guys. I just want to paint and invent solutions to projects in my studio/workshop.

    • Hodges Soileau

      Hey Joseph, appreciate the comment. Yes it does seem to be sort of a universal issue for many. I’m still able to be pretty productive, but I think the distraction is what bothers me more than anything….sometimes it’s hard to get on real roll.

  • john pototschnik

    I think you speak for most all of us professional artists, Hodges. The “tooting one’s own horn” is a big one. I think Eric Rhodes commented on that in his “Art Marketing Boot Camp”…basically, “Get over it”. Easy to say, hard to do. You were a great illustrator, by the way. As a former illustrator, I followed your work…and now you continue doing good stuff. Thanks.

    • Hodges Soileau

      John, first let me say that I love your work. Yes the “tooting of one’s own horn” is the hardest part for me… is getting a bit easier to deal with, but I think I will always have a problem with that part of it. Yes, the illustration days were great, but it was like a blur. We were so busy, loaded down with deadlines that the years just flew by….next thing you know the kids are out of college. You having been there, know what I mean. Thanks for the comment John.

  • Luke Buck

    Wow Hodges,,, You know how to say it. I love your work and respect everything you do, and what you say. It amazes me that you would have to do any self promotion at all,, they should be knocking your studio door down just to buy your art. Nevertheless,, it does seem nowadays more and more important to keep up with all of the new technogoly in promoting. Maybe I am getting lazy in my Maturing years, but I too would much rather be painting. I’ve spent most of today writing notes, letters, and ads, trying to self promote my work. I have to be careful because if I promote too much someone might actually call and want a painting, Then what will I do? I won’t have one because Ive wasted so much time on this computer.
    Looking forward to seeing you in the Srring my Friend. Luke Buck

    • Hodges Soileau

      Luke, thanks…..and back at you there buddy. I really don’t think one can ever relax when it comes to promotion of one kind or another. Not only will they not come knocking on your door, but if you are out of sight to long, you can disappear very quickly. Everything seems to move so fast….maybe the maturing years you mentioned has something to do with that. We’ll see you in the spring my friend.