Working in/on a net? Being a fisherman? Spider?
Working on internet? Facebook?
Net, net ... - Netotism - sorry: Nepotism?
working working working (yes, I do that)
Just thinking about all this makes it messy in my head. I just envision tangled threads - and not connections leading to clarity and salvation. I need to get some distance - Professor Hedberg, can you help me out here? (I'm putting on my spectacles and clear my throat)
“Van Gogh never sold a painting in his whole life and now he’s one of the most famous artists in the world”
If you are an artist, like me, you’ve probably had people (especially those who know little of art and art history) telling you this on more than one occasion. (Though I think he sold one, maybe two paintings). People might refer to the myth “suffering starving artist like van Gogh” to prove to you that
- The best artists will only get discovered after their death
- Great art will always find it’s way – in the end - no matter what.
The first argument is actually more an exception than the rule - most great artists (that is: what we consider great artists today) through history were acknowledged, in one way or the other, when they were alive. Second: we can not know what great art was lost and never came to people’s awareness – because we don’t know about it.
Why do people claim that Van Gogh was not acknowledged when he was alive? Because they think that the market’s acknowledgement – commercial success – is the sole acknowledgement. But in reality there are three ways you can be acknowledged:
- by the market (commercial success)
- by institutions
- by peers
Van Gogh was acknowledged by his peers (Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissarro were his friends for example) and therefore came to influence many other artists. This made him later acknowledged by institutions (like museums) – and the art market.
You know about the Salon des Refuses? They were exhibitions arranged by the artists who would later become known as the impressionists. They had been refused by the Salon de Printemps arranged by the institutions of that time. The artists acknowledged by the institutions – like the official Salons - had commercial success back then – but if you see it in a bigger perspective: Who are the successful now?
But what has this to do with networking?
Networking as an artist can be divided into precisely these three areas of acknowledgement! (Van Gogh was good at networking with other artists!)
Being an artist you are probably aware - deep inside even if you don't want to do it - that you should network. You should know the right people, you should distribute your business card, you should network with everyone so people know about you and your art and come to your exhibitions. You might get the advice to constantly expand your network and you might be told that your contact list is one of your most valuable assets.But it doesn't make sense to network in the same way to reach different kind of people - does it? And what do you really want to achieve by networking?
Join me next Sunday when I get deep into how you might think when networking to reach the market, the institutions or your peers!
[this is a post in my series Art as Business. You might access the other posts through links in the sidebar.]