Like most industries, self-promotion is a necessary evil. As an artist, there’s no doubt you’d rather spend the majority of your time perfecting your craft. That said, if you don’t learn to put yourself out there, along with your art, you’re going to end up stifling yourself. Zachary Aronson is a successful artist that can attest to this. Although Zach is mostly unconventional when it comes to self-promotion, he has spent some time promoting his work. “You have to,” Zach explains. “It does you no good if you are the only one that understands your passion for the work you create.”
Zach gathers his inspiration from other people. He naturally feels comfortable talking to people about his process. That is a big part of self-promotion. “It’s a combination of the artist and the art. That’s what people are investing in. It’s about passion and inspiration.” He continues, “People who can spend all day talking about their art will have a much better following because it’s interesting. People will want to support your unique ability to create if they can see your passion.”
It is rare to see an artist succeed that doesn’t possess the ability to talk about their art. Unless there is someone willing to advocate for these artists, they might be in for a rude awakening. You have to take yourself out of the studio. There are so many artists out there. You really run the risk of being lost in the mix, especially on social media. “Think of it this way, making art is only part of your job,” Zach explains. “If you want your art to be seen, the other part is self-promotion.”
The thing that has really worked in Zach’s favor is that he gathers his inspiration from people. He didn’t have to learn how to promote himself. He merely went out and met people, the way he always has. Because of this, his biggest piece of advice is to get out in the world and show people your art. “Experience how it feels to be seen, listen to critiques of your work, and talk to people,” Zach explains. “It could lead to something.” Zach continues, “I don’t recommend relying on social media. Your work needs to be seen in real life. 99 percent of people that saw and liked one of my posts on Instagram already follow me, so that is not getting me any new exposure.”
Even if you submit your work to an art sharing page, they will ask you to pay for your post. This might not be a bad way to get your artwork out there in the beginning, but simply learning to speak about your art is better. Zach encourages artists to just get seen in person and be open to talking about it. Make it feel special. Find opportunities to be seen creating your art. You could try local shows or concerts.
Whenever people visit Zach’s studio, they are astounded. It’s like they know what he does because they’ve seen it on Instagram, but seeing it in person is totally different. They also can’t believe that the process is just going to involve fire. Even they know they know, they don’t really know. Zach takes as many opportunities as he can to do live art. In fact, he just started a residency in Hollywood where a lot of celebrities and influencers coming through. Doors open for him because they see him live not just on social media. This is the best way to promote yourself. Show as many people as you can how passionate you are and be willing to talk about it.