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Do You Blow Your Own Horn?

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/17/2013 - 3:08 PM

The person in the foreground is Woody Wall. He had a very glamorous wife and he was pretty much of a showoff. That’s about all I knew about him, except we both worked at WHBQ-TV in Memphis and he once gave me some sound advice: “If you don’t blow your own horn, who’s going to blow it for you?”

So that’s my question for today: “DO you blow your own horn?”, because if you want to be known in this world, sell your art, have followers, you pretty much have to promote yourself. No one’s going to do it for you. Even if you give them money, they probably won’t.

What suggestions can you offer to those who feel shy about promoting themselves?

 

Oldest Reply

Posted by: Roseann Caputo on 05/17/2013 - 3:24 PM

I do. Depending upon the situation determines how.

 

Posted by: Roy Erickson on 05/17/2013 - 3:26 PM

If you are an artist and want to be taken seriously and sell art - you better be using a fog horn - because few others will even think to give you a pinkie finger of help.

 

Posted by: Patricia Strand on 05/17/2013 - 3:26 PM

No, never. Very few people even know I'm on this site.

 

Posted by: Tony Reddington on 05/17/2013 - 3:35 PM

not nearly enough

 

Posted by: John Rizzuto on 05/17/2013 - 3:45 PM

Your work should speak for itself. If you have to brag about yourself then there is something lacking in either your work or yourself.

"If you have to tell people who you are, you aren't"...... M. Thatcher

 

Posted by: Jeff Kolker on 05/17/2013 - 3:48 PM

I owned a trombone...and I blew on it.

 

Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 05/17/2013 - 3:49 PM

I agree with John.

 

Posted by: JAXINE Cummins on 05/17/2013 - 3:53 PM

Roy,
you are so right, no one is going to sell for you. I sell also right off my phone, I keep my art work right on the first click of my phone.
I never give out my cell phone number, I don't even know how to retrieve messages, but I had a phone store put my web site on my phone
and my art work really looks great on it.
when any one tells me I have a different name I tell them I only have to sign my first name on my paintings.
(See how easy it is to get some one interested in what you do?)
I show them my cell phone and try and get them interested. then I send them to my
FAA web site. you really can't beat this web site. I also work in a Gallery in Scottsdale AZ. you learn to gently sell your self and others.
I used to be so shy, but the years go by and you get smarter and stronger.

 

Posted by: Cynthia Decker on 05/17/2013 - 3:53 PM

I market myself and my work, but I don't boast about it.

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/17/2013 - 3:54 PM

I'm with you, @John. I don't think people should brag about themselves at all. But you do have to publicize yourself.

 

Posted by: Tony Reddington on 05/17/2013 - 3:55 PM

Richard and John, I appreciate what you are both saying and I admire both of your work (s),
However If your work was kept on your own computer or in your own house and no one saw it then where would be?
I think the point is to get out there, Both of you had to show your work to somebody somewhere to get noticed, once its out there then yes it should stand or fall on its own merits

 

Posted by: JAXINE Cummins on 05/17/2013 - 3:56 PM

Roy,
you are so right, no one is going to sell for you. I sell also right off my phone, I keep my art work right on the first click of my phone.
I never give out my cell phone number, I don't even know how to retrieve messages, but I had a phone store put my web site on my phone
and my art work really looks great on it.
when any one tells me I have a different name I tell them I only have to sign my first name on my paintings.
(See how easy it is to get some one interested in what you do?)
I show them my cell phone and try and get them interested. then I send them to my
FAA web site. you really can't beat this web site. I also work in a Gallery in Scottsdale AZ. you learn to gently sell your self and others.
I used to be so shy, but the years go by and you get smarter and stronger.

 

Posted by: Dan Turner on 05/17/2013 - 3:59 PM

John, your work can only speak for itself if it has someone to talk to.

Coke, Mercedes, Oreo, Apple, Chanel...all household names. Their work can certainly speak for itself and they have large audiences to speak to. But they continue to spend millions blowing their horn. If it didn't work, they wouldn't be doing it.

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

Posted by: John Rizzuto on 05/17/2013 - 4:02 PM

Tony - I am not sure if I equate posting my work on a site like FAA or posting a link to my photos on a site like Twitter as blowing my own horn. I put my work out there and if someone likes it so be it. If they don't like it so be it. It is entirely up to the individual looking at them. If I posted something like hey go see my photos because I am one of the greatest living photographers ever, then that would be blowing my own horn. If I was posting on sites saying hey I am a top photographer or my work is great that would be bragging and blowing my own horn. It's like my lens is bigger than your lens. Or, hey look at my new photo and tell me how wonderful it is and don't forget to pat me on the back. When I see posts like that or ads like that I feel like saying "and I have a fish tank". Meaning, I assumed were talking about things that people really don't give a sh*t about.

 

Posted by: Alfred Ng on 05/17/2013 - 4:04 PM

No, if you are the one blow your own horn, people just covered their ears!

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/17/2013 - 4:05 PM

You're right about that, Dan. In fact, they would do most anything to be the only product on the block.

Back when that photo was taken in Memphis, we had a show called Dance Party with Wink Martindale, sponsored by Pepsi.

Pepsi blew their stack when they saw kids on the show drinking MILK from milk cartons. They threatened to pull the plug on their advertising if the station didn't get rid of those milk cartons.

Guess who won? Got Milk? Nope. Sorry. Only Pepsi.

 

Posted by: John Rizzuto on 05/17/2013 - 4:05 PM

I see what your saying Dan, I just don't equate advertising to blowing your horn. Or better yet, how one advertises. Sure some advertising is purely blowing your horn and some is here is my product, here is what it can do, here is where you can get it. I think the blowing of ones self turns more people off than not.

 

Posted by: Tony Reddington on 05/17/2013 - 4:05 PM

Ah Ok John , I'm with you there and I like the fish tank analagy

 

Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 05/17/2013 - 4:07 PM

Tony, thank you, I can see John and I are the same page with this so I don't see a need to add to what he is already saying.

 

Posted by: Dan Turner on 05/17/2013 - 4:25 PM

Appropriateness is the issue. Approaching strangers at a funeral about your gorgeous fudge cookie photographs is inappropriate. But approaching a cookbook publisher works.

Dan Turner
Dan Turner Fine Art
Dan Turner's Seven Keys to Selling Art Online
To Enjoy Dan Turner's Pinterest Boards, Click Here

 

Posted by: Regina Valluzzi on 05/17/2013 - 4:39 PM

"toot" your own horn. Please don't blow it. ;)

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/17/2013 - 5:28 PM

Here's an example of Tooting your own horn: Two companies selling water: you know, H2O.

Both are selling water, folks. They spend millions telling you that, "My water is better than your water."

That's really blowing your own horn.

 

Posted by: Patricia Strand on 05/17/2013 - 5:44 PM

Well, if I won a contest I might brag a little because I'd be pleased about it. But tooting own horn for sales, never. I kind of share John's philosophy on that. If this were my sole source of income, and I were forced to advertise, then I'd be very aggressive about it. Survival is a strong motivator.

 

Posted by: None None on 05/17/2013 - 5:52 PM

Dear Chuck, My blowing days are over...

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/17/2013 - 5:53 PM

Say it isn't so, Kelly.

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Posted by: Enver Larney on 05/21/2013 - 3:41 AM

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

My days living in north Hollywood....blowing my own nose in Charlie Chaplins hunting lodge on Vasanta....and a rather ungainly horn safely tucked away...what more can I say?

(amazing piece Carmen)

 

Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 05/21/2013 - 10:01 AM

@ Chuck -- Anyone have any artist's statements to share?

When I sit down to the odious task of writing a Statement, I remind myself of a few things:

1. Be brief, but share a little personality -- an artist's statement is not a bio or resume (CV).

2. Speak plain English -- this is not the place for excessive jargon, hyperbole, or esoteric, stream-of-consciousness rambling. Over-inflated writing is a big turn-off for most readers.

3. A Statement is not journalism; you're not required to address who? what? when? where? why? and how? But, hitting a few critical points -- specifically, just a touch of who? what? how? is a great way to . . .

. . . 4. Make your point -- never leave your readers thinking, "Huh? I still have no idea what this artist does!"

I frequently tweak my statement depending on whether it's attached to a show proposal, contest submission, leave-behind portfolio, etc. Here's my latest version, written to hang with a specific gallery exhibit:


"If a little dreaming is dangerous,
the cure for it is not to dream less
but to dream more --
to dream all the time!"
~ Marcel Proust (1871-1922)


It was just a matter of time until my 'day job' experience with computers and technology collided with my self-taught photography skills. This creative geekery -- digital art -- immediately captured my interest, and quickly became my primary artistic focus.

As an escapist living in an all-too-real world, I utilize digital cameras and a variety of computer hardware and software to create my art, which is then printed on paper, canvas, metal, and other materials. My images range from 'nearly real' photo-based landscapes and cityscapes to 'we're not in Kansas anymore' digital abstracts and fractals.

To tell my two-dimensional stories, I use vivid color (occasionally, carefully considered black and white), along with bold shapes, visual texture, and an endless supply of imagination.

For the viewer who is listening, each of my images shares ideas, emotions, and a lifetime of diverse experiences . . . always with a promise of more to come.


"My dreams are always in color."
~ Wendy J. St. Christopher



Here's a fun but educational blog post, highlighting the many ways an Artist's Statement can go horribly wrong -- :-)

http://glasstire.com/2008/06/03/art-narc-bad-artist-statements/

 

Posted by: Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac on 05/21/2013 - 10:20 AM

I agree, one needs to blow their own horn as long as it doesn't step on others to do it. There is a balanced way of promoting without having the ego look like a jerk. My mom thinks one should be more humble,passive,quiet, I can go on and on. She is not ambitious like me and wonders where I get it from. She gets sick of me talking about art and everything that comes with it and making a living. She every once in a while will encourage me to get a "Real Job" since selling art is unpredictable. Whatever I say and keep trucking along painting, doing shows, promoting and have my voice heard with my work. It means everything to me what I do. Wish I had more time to work on this piece I started about 4 days ago, but am preparing for my husband coming home from the hospital soon. "The Bacon Shortage"
Sell Art Online

 

Posted by: Fran Riley on 05/21/2013 - 10:26 AM

@ Leah -- I am so surprised to hear your Mom thinks you should get a 'real job' - your art is amazing!!! Don't quit ever =)

@ Chuck - "You either have it or you don't." Is there a secret to 'knowing' if you have it or not? When should you give up and move on to something else? Should you base it on sales (for us here) ? Does that tell you if you have it or not? Just asking cause I don't know the answer to that question and wonder all the time.

 

Posted by: Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac on 05/21/2013 - 10:34 AM

Thanks Francis, I think some Moms think they know best. It's weird though my step father was always hard on me and rigid when I was younger he is very supportive of my work and wants me to concentrate only on art and says I am talented and have something special that is going places. I really thought my mom would have said those things instead of him. They have kind of reversed with their personalities with their age

 

Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/21/2013 - 10:52 AM

Francis - I'd like to think the "it" is your desire and your drive. Are you driven to do what it is you do - no matter what ?
The ones that get noticed - are usually the ones who just won't quit.
There is always a path on the way to travel, but not every step of the journey provides us with satisfaction.
Hopefully the detours will lead us to pleasant surprises.

I certainly agree with you that it is hard to be recognized amongst family & friends. Quite frankly it behooves people that you maintain your status, & your position in their lives.

& the FB crowd ? Nothing but a bunch of screaming Mimi's - who have no interest in sharing air time with you - or anyone else, unless you are feeding into their drama.

So, where to go - is a good question. I guess you just have to go where people are looking. What are those billboard signs called that people wear on sidewalks to sell chicken ? Lol. I might try that.

& Wendy - that was pretty darned funny. I was certainly hoping that I would NOT see myself there.

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/21/2013 - 12:19 PM

@Wendy, thanks for the artist statement suggestions. I've still yet to write one that satisfies me.

@Leah, paint, girl, paint! Your work is your artist's statement.

@Francis: "You either have it or you don't." Is there a secret to 'knowing' if you have it or not? Good question, Francis. As many have stated above, I wouldn't wait for family members to decide if you have it or not. I knew I "had it" as a photographer when I was a teenager because everyone wanted me to "do" them and the newspaper called me and asked me to be their staff photographer after I won a Kodak contest, which I did during the summer, but I never wanted to be a professional. It was just a hobby and I took pictures mainly so that I could get them into the darkroom. The darkroom is and was where I do my creating. Then I went into the army, to Europe, so I took 35mm slides: One picture for each location. Film was expensive, but I had to prove that I was there.

Six or seven years ago I bought a scanner and scanned all my slides, made prints and took them to a gallery. The curator congratulated me on my work, said they would make nice calendar pictures, but if I wanted to "make it" in the competitive art world, I would have to come up with something original.

So I went back home to the computer and started "doing things" to the pictures, the same way I did things in the darkroom. I took those experiments back to him and he put me on the calendar for a future show. After some of my work was published in the newspaper, I had galleries calling me and I had about six shows my first year.

Then the economy crashed and galleries went out of business left and right. Soooo, the reason a lot of artists aren't making sales now is because: people either don't have money or they are afraid to spend it. But things are getting better.

Francis, don't be afraid to take your work to a gallery you respect and ask them if you have a chance with them. Most of those people are pretty bored during the day and will take the time to talk to you.

 

Posted by: Fran Riley on 05/21/2013 - 1:49 PM

Thank you Janine!

Thanks Chuck - I've been considering that. Thanks for the thread and subject!

 

Posted by: H Drew on 05/21/2013 - 2:08 PM

Do You Blow Your Own Horn?

There was this incident, it was Cinco de Mayo and I had been consuming burritos, tacos, and enchiladas as if there was no tomorrow, then..................................

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/21/2013 - 5:27 PM

Those will get you every time...

 

Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 05/21/2013 - 11:39 PM

@ Chuck -- the more I visit this thread, the more I'm enjoying Mr. Woody Wall, Love the photo! :-)

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 11:01 AM

Thanks, Wendy, I love the photo, too. I think it really tells a story: My body language pretty well sums up my feelings at that time. And 1950s state-of-the-art TV cameras in the background. His son contacted me on FB about a year ago because he found a WHBQ tag and I told him I actually knew his dad and had a picture of him. I emailed him a copy but I don't think he liked it for he never wrote back.

I was thinking about how lucky I was to work in television, because we had all those great lights all the time. Now it's art galleries--great lighting.

Black and white with back-lighting really was a favorite of mine in movies. Grew up with and loved those old movies and still see the lighting and camera moves in my head.

All I wanted back then was to be a cinematographer. But when I moved to Hollywood, what did I discover? A closed shop.

 

Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 05/22/2013 - 11:36 AM

I can't tell if that enigmatic 'look' you're giving is directed toward the shooter or Woody Wall? It is a wonderful photo -- very illustrative of place and time; but, it's the expressions on your faces that lays the groundwork for any number of great stories.

I would kill to sit and look through your photos! I think they'd appeal to three very demanding slices of my personality: the geek, the people-watcher, and the TV & Film fanatic. You must have a dozen books in your head! :-)

EDIT to add -- Sorry to hear Hollywood wasn't what you hoped for. I feel the same about the music business and, possibly, the art world . . .

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 12:55 PM

Speaking of blowing horns: Elvis footage I shot in 1956 is showing on Encore tonight at 8. "This is Elvis" shows him cutting a cake and feeding a jellybean to my wife. It's about 20 minutes in.

 

Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 05/22/2013 - 2:11 PM

Fascinating thread. Much food for thought!
Like Julia, my childhood conditioned me that tooting my own horn would bring unpleasant results. I've since become a big fan of the "Let your freak flag fly" philosophy, but there is still a lingering hesitation deep inside that I'd like to erase.

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 2:36 PM

While I tout that I toot, I still have the same old problems when it comes to selling my screenplays. I still feel uncomfortable calling myself a writer. I guess because I haven't sold one yet.

 

Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/22/2013 - 2:49 PM

I didn't know that it was you in the background.
With that added bit of information - it now tells a story. Lol. Body language is everything. The camera often picks up the subtle nuances that we miss.

I don't think anything is ever what we thought it would be. The curse of the idealist ,but that may very well be why we become Artists.

Great shot, thanx for sharing.

 

Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 05/22/2013 - 2:54 PM

Key word - "yet"!

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 3:07 PM

Thanks, Janine. And I know you're right, Kathi. I'm finally feeling more comfortable and know that I must "get out there and beat the bushes."

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 7:27 PM

Here is a very long article on selling that some of you may care to read:

How to Increase Your Art's Market Value and Make the Most of Your Career as an Artist

http://www.artbusiness.com/maxprice.html

 

Posted by: Fran Riley on 05/22/2013 - 8:04 PM

Great article Chuck! Thanks for sharing!

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/22/2013 - 9:04 PM

You are welcome, Fran, and I took a look at your work. It is excellent! Not just good: Superior! I am such a fan of textures and I use them all the time.

Artists: While I go work on my screenplay, take a look at Fran's work and tell me what you think:

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/francis-riley.html

 

Posted by: Fran Riley on 05/23/2013 - 12:36 AM

Oh my gosh. Thank you Chuck. Your very kind and I appreciate the support! Thank you for "tootin' my horn" for me =)

 

Posted by: Chuck Staley on 05/23/2013 - 1:44 AM

@Fran:I never toot a horn that doesn't deserve it!

I hope some others join the discussion. It's been so much fun.

 

Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 05/23/2013 - 10:02 PM

I just took a quick look and Chuck you weren't kidding... Fran, your work is great!

 

Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/23/2013 - 10:07 PM

Check out Fran's " White door" in the Doors & windows Gallery. My favorite.

 

Posted by: Fran Riley on 05/24/2013 - 7:50 PM

I am very humbled by your wonderful comments. Thank you very much!

 

This discussion is closed.