I know little about the mechanics of promotion but I can tell you somewhat of the spirit.
Let me begin with a recent experience. Friday I had my first Instagram meet-up with Patty Waite. I traveled two hours on a gorgeous highway, along water and through densely populated trees to meet her at a restaurant which was showing her artwork. The next day she was opening her show with an reception for the general public. We talked about sharing our work. I really don't remember using the word promote but she has done it often.
Connecting with other artists in groups and classes has given her knowledge and a venue for promotion. Nourish, the restaurant where her work is currently hanging, heard of her because she brought her work to them and asked if they would like to feature her.
She stood with her work. She acknowledged that she felt it was good. And it does speak to me. That is why I follow her on Instagram. Her work has heart and speaks to my heart.
"We are good and therefore we are capable of shining forth through our resistance to write well and claim it as our own. It is not as important for the world to claim it as it is to claim it for ourselves. That is the essential step. That will make us content. We are good and when out work is good, it is good. We should acknowledge it and stand behind it."
Writing Down The Bones- Natalie Goldberg
Putting our work in front of others is terrifying. There we are, unfinished, flawed, and vulnerable, saying read my words, look at my images, but we do. We do because we are wired to make connections with others.
" Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued, when they can give and receive without judgement, and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
The critics in the world of artistic expression are loud and brutal. Why would I want to show myself in that world? I recently read a piece online by someone whose named I've blocked out of my mind, who made the case that in a world where everyone can publish, show, and promote their art the quality and real talent drastically plummets to the ground. My instinctual first thought was, "they don't make art." They don't get that the writing or painting process changes us from spectators in our lives to being fully engaged.
My artwork has been on local gallery walls. I have talked to people about what I've made, first in hushed tones but then a little bolder. I write because I get energized and excited. I paint because I love color and the magic of seeing the synthesis of canvas, paper, and paint come to life. There will always be performance anxiety but if I don't try I may miss out on being healed. I mean healed in a wholehearted way but I also mean the healing that comes from my a divine source. Christ turned towards those that risked exposure. Like the woman who touched his hem, Or the brave sister who asked to wash his feet in a public setting when she was shamed.
Being healed requires a new posture of the heart.
We need a heart that is willing to turn away from ourselves to promote our work with love. Not everyone will like our writing. Not everyone will see something uplifting in our painting but there may be one who feels stronger because they connected to the heart you revealed and deemed it good.
I am joining fellow writers on Kate Motaung's blog who are doing a bi-weekly online discussion group.We are using On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits For A Writing Life That Lasts by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. I am personally reading Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg as inspiration.