Monday, April 23, 2012

Artists May Need to Write their Own Press Release

This blog post is all about an artist self promotion when having a show (even if it is small).

I have a little show this weekend in Fargo, North Dakota called BEEP RAGE at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor. Check out the link to learn all about that fun show. The reason I am writing this blog post is to let other artists know how much work goes into a tiny little show for me as a self represented artist. The over goal whenever I have a show is to let as many people know (without annoying them too much) and give my work as much exposure as possible; especially since this is my first show in Fargo.

Now, I am not going to talk about all the hours going into making the art, framing the art and transporting and hanging the art, because those are all separate categories of things that artists need to do. All I want to talk about is artists self promotion and all the things I have done to promote my little show.

First, I spend a few hours making my own postcard for the show:

I get the image printed, 50 postcards, and 5 larger 8X10 posters. At the same time I begin flooding all the major social media sites with the info for the show, including twitter, pinterest, facebook, linked in, craigslist, etc.

You can visit the Facebook Event page here.

You will be surprised how quickly you can put up information about your show all over the internet and start getting people to check it out. Whether they come to the show, that is a different story, but making sure your show has an online presence is important. It is especially important to lay this ground work before you send out press releases because then the media sources who get your press release can find it online and legitimize the event.

At least two weeks before the show I try to have a press release written and sent out to every major media source. It takes a little time to find all of the newspapers, TV stations, magazines and radio stations but it is worth it. You never know who will mention it or do a little write up about the show. Here is the press release I sent (i included the postcard in digital form as an attachment):

The Red Raven Espresso Parlor is featuring a collection of fine art by 'The Canvas Killer' William Hessian. The Canvas Killer is known around the country for his live canvas kill performances and his public miniature art hunts. Hessian's art battles features the creation of artwork that is then destroyed with axes, swords and other implements of destruction. William also travels the country performing free art hunts in the public parks and has performed over 25 art hunts in the last 7 years including an annual art hunt in Jamestown, North Dakota and St. Louis Park, Minnesota (his hometown). The art on display features Hessian's newest paintings, drawings, and a whole gang of miniature paintings. The artwork explores the Politics of Plants including pop culture and video game references, using bright colors and an intense mixture of shapes and symbols. Included in the show is the hidden miniature art challenge: anyone who can find all of the hidden miniatures scattered around the coffee shop wins a special edition limited Bearded Bunny print hand signed and numbered by William Hessian.

On April 28th 3-4:30 there will be a reception for people to meet the artist and hear William talk about the work and his art career which includes his art tour, art battles, and art hunts that he performs each year all across the country. (During the reception winners of the art hunt challenge can claim their prizes.)

The show runs from April 12th to May 1st 2012. You can check out the show anytime and take the miniature art challenge anytime the parlor is open. Visit Red Raven's website for hours:

Will is a prolific artist, learn more at his blog:

Here is the Facebook Event Page:

The press release itself can be a daunting process, but here are some key things to remember. Proof read/proof read/proof read and then have someone else do it (can you tell I have to remind myself to do this?), make sure it contains all the important information, use other press releases as a guide and do your best to make your show sounds exciting and relevant. Practice makes perfect, and I know I have a lot to learn about writing them, but I make sure to do it for every show so that I constantly get better at it.

Now its time to walk the town with all of the postcards and posters and put them up. Print more if you need to. Talk to friends and businesses that support the arts and try to drum up a little buzz and interest for your show. This is exactly whatI just got home from doing. Now I have a week to prepare for the short talk I will be giving and time to begin some new work. Good luck with your ventures!

While it is a big sacrifice (and a lot of lost sleep) to do all this work for each little show, slowly but surely more and more people take notice and it is important to give your work the proper attention and chance for as many poeple to experience it as possible.


Took said...


Thank you for taking the time to share and explain your process for self promotion. This is the side of art that I dread the most.

I realize it takes practice to be able to write about yourself and your work...that is what I need to work on.

Bravo for an informative blog entry -- it was also a great read!

Lindsey M said...

Hey! I'm excited to see you're coming to Fargo (saw on the High Plains Reader website). I will do my best to check out your event. I met you a number of years ago at a filming in downtown Minneapolis for Heather A., and I believe we're still friends on Facebook.

William Hessian said...

Took thanks for the comment!
Lindsey, good to hear from you. I hope you can make the show, I would like to chat with you again.

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