P.R. for Artists TM & the Art of P.R.
Although L.A. is seen by most as the P.R. capital of the world, actually very few local artists know how to effectively promote themselves and their work. Most find it a daunting task, some believe that if they wait long enough others will do it for them, still others believe that P.R. is not an artist’s job. (It seems that no one ever explained that to Warhol, Madonna or Tarantino). Ask anyone to name their favorite successful artist and you can be assured that, at some point, a skillful promotion was an essential component of that artist’s success. Art is first and foremost a calling, but if you hope to reach a large audience, or to make a living from art, it must also be a business. Success is achieved when art and promotion have been effectively blended.
A Personal Journey: Creating and marketing your art are very different processes and the relationship between the two can be daunting and confusing, something I know only too well. I began as a poet, publishing in obscure journals; I then had some short stories published. From there I moved to journalism. I eventually wrote for such publications as Us Weekly and Rolling Stone and edited for a few magazines. I then made a leap to P.R. In 1990 I started Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. and published two books on P.R., The Alchemy of Success and Spin to Win. Our company has placed clients in a wide range of media including Time, Oprah, 60 Minutes, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other media outlets. Launching P.R. campaigns for others is an interesting challenge, but when the hardcover version of my first novel, Bang! A Love Story, was published, I came face to face with the dilemma of promoting my own art. I adapted it as a play and again came face to face with the issue. Since then I’ve had four plays produced, the latest being Modern Love and am presently working on Hang Fire, which I’m writing both as a film and as a play. So I understand in a very visceral sense the issues that artists face when promoting their own works.
Being a P.R. consultant did not save me from the artist’s mental trap. I found myself torn between art and marketing. It’s not easy wearing both hats. After awhile I discovered that I was ignoring my own well-worn advice to artists which is: if you’re going to give your blood, sweat and tears to your art, you owe it to your art to give it a true shot to succeed. If you hope to reach a wide audience, you need to approach your art from a new perspective.
Explaining and defining this perspective is what P.R. For ArtistsTM, is all about – P.R. as an art form. Whether you’re a writer, musician, director, or actor, whether you keep your screenplay in your trunk, your paintings under your bed, or your music in your basement, there are P.R. skills and tools that you can learn and master. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your art.