Illustration by Petra Larsen

Illustration by Petra Larsen


Exposure: Etiquette for Artful Living


Dear Babs, Please help me. I am currently living in a desolate land and deprived of adequate art exposure (and God knows how I love to expose myself to art). I once knew a wonderful artist who helped me with my art education but she left town several decades ago and I have not had any exposure since. Can you help? I am writing you because your signature says “Babs cares.”

—Richard, Wagoner, Oklahoma

Dear Richard, Babs does care! I’ve heard of Oklahoma, and I care even more now that I know you live there. What does one do out there? Thank heavens you became acquainted with Artillery—that’s a step in the right direction. It’s apparent you live in a cultural wasteland, but now that there’s the Internet, along with books and magazines, television and film—things that constantly remind you that you do live in a culturally deprived part of the world—you must embrace your world, or you will go crazy. Enjoy your life: create your own art, your own theater, your own music. Many people would envy your life. But I would advise that you travel when you can, and you can have the best of both worlds.

Dear Babs, What social media do you recommend artists use to promote their art and career, networking and or looking for jobs in the arts? Or is it best to let the galleries promote the artist’s work, then share it on social media? And is it still relevant to make announcement cards for your shows?

—Rochelle, Los Angeles

Dear Rochelle, Sharing your art on social media devalues your art, IMO. Usually artists reserve that privilege for colleagues and curators. That’s the thing with art. Real successful artists don’t self-promote. (Try and find a famous artist on facebook.) If you’re self-promoting, most likely you’re not successful, and self-promoting will not accomplish that… I’m pretty darn sure.

An event or exhibition is an invitation, so yes, by all means send those announcements out via email or snail mail. It’s a celebration of the hard work you’ve been doing (behind closed doors) that it’s now time to share with the public at a venue, and hopefully profit from your work that’s being debuted… not already all over the network. Now get back to work and leave that smartphone outta reach!