Thursday, May 31, 2018

The connection between Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and myself...

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly based on the Dave Gibbons illustration in the comic Watchmen
The times they are a changin' - so says the Bob Dylan song..... Then when Robert Plant of the Led Zeppelin won the album of the year at the Grammy in 2009 (for his work with Alison Krauss) he accepted the award saying: "In the old days, we would have called this selling out, but it's a good way to spend a Sunday."
Which bring us to... me.
And so there, I launched a campaign online for my work.
OK a campaign focused on instagram for my work to be precise.
Some films, few images.
The trick was to do this without "selling out" (or in more blunt terms "whoring myself"), meaning to keep the content true to what I do, all while drawing attention and exposure. A very fine line if there was one as it is easy to slip believe me.
Let's admit it - organic reach is dead. And I took it for as far as I could without spending money promoting my work. Am I famous online? Depending whom you ask. The major impediment of course is being introverted while running social media. Of being "out there" yet not feeling comfortable under the spotlight. Mind you it's a major paradox - I can easily lecture a full auditorium but need a major step into solo territory afterwards. Anyone who has attended any of my conferences knows I give myself from the gut and that I am very theatrical to draw the audience's attention (OK, it helps when students get into the room not fully awake or concentrating).
And if you saw me on television, I am one of those people "the camera loves" to use the jargon of the industry.
All of this intro is to say - yes, the times are a changin' if someone so retro like me resorts to do a campaign online (with specific objectives as I detailed in this post) then this means the usual methods are now far gone. What makes it tricky in my case is that, at the bottom of it, and despite the colors and the easy on the eyes artworks there is as strong conceptual/academic element, so the same artworks on Instagram, are actually topics I lecture about at universities which makes the cross-over a little odd.
So now you know what Bob, Jimmy and myself have in common - we adapt as best as we can with the times.
Only one of us won a Nobel Prize though.
And only one wrote "Stairway to heaven".
And only one is still trying to get exposure without selling out.