In this post, I started a list of things you can do to share your work with the world and, in doing so, make meaningful connections and friendships. Halfway through, I realized it was getting long and decided it would be better if I broke it up into two parts. As promised, here's the second.
1.) Become a performance artist. You've already become your own mannequin, wearing your pieces for all to enjoy. Well, it's been my experience that not only do people love to admire beautiful art, but they love to see it being made. Pick up your latest project and any supplies you'll need to work on it, put them into an easy-to-carry bag or container, go to a library, coffee shop, park, or other public place, and get to work! Chances are, people will ask questions about the finished project, which gives you the chance to talk about your work and to hand out contact information. It's also a great way to meet interesting people -- because anyone who loves art is worth getting to know! You might also meet future students this way.
Of course, this won't work for all artists. You may not want to bring your torch to the park for some soldering -- it's bound to get you attention, but from the fire department! And if you're in a crowded place, you might want to leave the paint behind, or else prepare to see adults, children and animals wearing it. This approach works for beaders, knitters, embroiderers, and even creators of art journals, though -- can you imagine how excited you'd feel, as a passerby, seeing someone doing some creative doodling in the art journal she'd just made? I think I'd swoon.
2.) Postcards. Business cards are great, and of course, I encourage you to have them (they also make great earring cards!). But you know what else is great? Ordering a set of postcards with photos of your best work on them and handing them out where it's appropriate. Postcards give you a little more room for nice pictures, and they give potential friends and customers a better sense of your work. I use Vistaprint, but there are plenty of other options. After some searching, I was impressed with the selection available from Zazzle, and I've heard good things about Inkchaser.com.
3.) Magazine articles. Here's another way to pass your knowledge on to fellow artists and, at the same time, get some recognition for not just your talent in art, but in making art accessible to others through clear photographs and instructions. You're also more likely to get a book deal or be asked to teach face-to-face if you have some publication under your belt.
Articles are also a way to help people find your website and get in touch with you, as long as you provide contact information in the Author Bio section. This is just my personal preference, but I love it when artists share interesting tidbits about themselves, like hobbies or previous lives in other, unrelated, careers. Just as I'm passionate about promoting friends and former teachers, I'm passionate about promoting people I'd want to be friends with. I don't think I'm alone in this.
To get started, go to the website of your favorite magazine. More often than not, it's easy to find the submission guidelines. Also, check out this article from my favorite bead store in Maine.
4.) Flickr. Flickr is a great way to get your photos in front of an audience. I've only had an account for a few months, but already, I've shown my work to people around the world, joined and posted to groups, gotten some nice comments about my pieces, and encouraged other artists -- including someone whose piece was so lovely, I pointed her in the direction of the Bead Dreams contest. I hope she enters. :)
Flickr is great if you're a seasoned artist or if you're just testing the water, so to speak. You can see how different people react to your work -- and I bet you'll be pleased, like I was. Just make sure you follow the rules! I've heard of accounts being suspended or deleted, especially for aggressive Etsy shop promotion, and I don't want that to happen to you.
5.) Photo galleries. These are a bit like Flickr, only they come with the excitement of being chosen. They also get your work in front of a larger audience than Flickr, for less effort on your part. Fire Mountain Gems gives you a chance to not only post photos, but to talk about yourself as a jewelry artist. The Ganoskin Project will accept your work as long as your photos are jury-quality. I've also seen several gorgeous reader submissions to Art Jewelry Magazine.
6.) Make a Showoff Box and carry it around with you.
7.) Participate in Blog Hops and Challenges! For jewelry-related challenges and hops, three that I've come across are Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party, Erin's Challenge Of Series, and Art Bead Scene Blog's Art Bead Scene Challenges, which take place monthly.
Hops are a great way to make new friends and show off your creations, and also to stretch your creativity!
There we have it! If you have anything you'd like to add, you're welcome to share your tips. I'd also love to hear how you've made use of any of the items I've listed either today or in the previous post.
Thanks, and have a sequintastic day!