Second Realm

Eric P. Rhodes, Artist

Marketing Isn’t Evil: Why Every Artist is a Marketer


Marketing often comes with an unwarranted stigma in the art community. Many artists harbor the belief that marketing is somehow at odds with authenticity and pure creativity. There is a common misconception that marketing your art somehow makes you less of an artist. This could not be further from the truth. Artists have always marketed, even if they didn’t call it that. Leonardo da Vinci, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest artists of all time, was also a master marketer.

The Myth of the “Pure” Artist

The myth of the ‘pure’ artist – one who does not need or want to market their work – is misleading. Art does not exist in a vacuum. It needs to be seen, appreciated, discussed, and yes, purchased, to sustain the artist’s career. Artists are not just creators but also communicators of their vision, aligning perfectly with the principles of marketing.

Reframing Marketing: From Selling to Storytelling

For many artists, the idea of marketing is closely tied with selling, which can feel inauthentic or mercenary. It may help to reframe marketing not as selling but as storytelling. Every artwork tells a story, and marketing is simply a way of sharing that story with a wider audience. It is about creating a narrative around your work that resonates with people, enticing them to engage with it.

Marketing as Authentic Engagement

Marketing isn’t just about making sales—it’s about building relationships and engaging authentically with an audience. It’s about listening, receiving feedback, and creating a dialogue around your work. When you look at marketing through this lens, it becomes less about promoting a product and more about fostering a community of people who appreciate and understand your artistic vision.

Embracing Digital Spaces and NFTs

In today’s digital age, the way artists interact with their audience has shifted dramatically. Platforms like social media, personal websites, and new technologies such as NFTs offer exciting ways to engage with audiences. They provide tools not just for selling, but for creating an ongoing narrative about your work, your process, and your evolution as an artist.

The term ‘marketing’ may seem alien and intimidating to many artists. Still, when we look closer, we see that it is intrinsically linked with the artistic process. Marketing is storytelling, engaging, and sharing—it is every bit as creative as the act of making art. Embracing this reality can lead to a deeper connection with audiences, increased visibility, and ultimately, a more successful career as an artist.