Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Deborah Maklowski's Impression of Bob Bahr

Bob Bahr's Presentation on Getting Your Name in Print, by Deborah Maklowski

Bob Bahr is the Managing Editor of American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing, and Workshop magazines and the Project Editor for Drawing magazine, so he's in an excellent position to offer advice to artists seeking professional media exposure. In his IAPS session, he highlighted 3 basic questions an artist needs to answer as he or she begins this process:

  1. What is your goal? Is it to increase sales? Reach potential workshop students? Gain gallery representation?
  2. Who is your target market? Identify the people (collectors, galleries, other artists, etc) whom you need to reach in order to achieve your goal.
  3. Who serves that market? You may want to focus on magazines for artists or for collectors, or on news media that reach a wider audience.

How do you get on the radar of those media? Participate in shows: art editors regularly review catalogs from juried exhibition and from gallery shows. Enter competitions sponsored by magazines and art organizations: you don't have to win to be noticed, but you do have to enter. Get active in on-line art forums and on art discussion websites: that's another place editors look. Or approach them directly: submit a story idea and a sample of your work either via email or snail-mail.

However you decide to proceed, Mr. Bahr reminded us that there are several things you must do to be successful. First, of course, be a good artist: do good work. Next, approach the right person: do your research and determine who has the "beat" that best suits your proposed story. Choose the right approach: don't use the phone! If you use email, be succinct and clear in communicating your story proposal, and include only one 72 dpi jpeg image: don't crash their email with huge files of multiple paintings. If you need to send more images, prepare and mail a professional hardcopy package, with photos or a cd of images, that again briefly outlines your story proposal. And what is that story? Identify your unique selling proposition, the "hook" to your story. Remember that art publications work for their readers. When choosing content, they're looking not just for pretty paintings, but for stories that will teach and inspire their readers. What's your unique contribution to that goal? Then, once you've gained their attention, be prepared and professional: be ready to quickly provide a resume, a bio, and an artist's statement, along with high-resolution tiff files and caption information for each image to be included. Be cooperative and accessible, and be prepared for the results!