In May of 2009 I participated in an algorithmic mathematical art workshop at Rutgers University’s DIMACS (Center for Discrete Mathematics and Experimental Computer Science). The three day program was a great opportunity to share my artwork and to be inspired by other artists, mathematicians, and computer scientists.
As I though about how to share my experience at this workshop with you in this post, I asked myself, how did this opportunity come about, anyway? A quick search in my email pulled up the answer: I was invited to present at this workshop as a direct result of an email newsletter, plus a previous art exhibit.
Here is the (partial) chain of events: I exhibited my artwork at a juried show in July 2008; a visitor to the exhibition saw my work and was interested enough to sign up for my art mailing list; I sent out an email newsletter in February 2010; this same visitor responded positively to the new work and happened to be in a position to invite me to the DIMACS workshop.
I have many other stories like this. Art marketing is challenging and requires perseverance, but the small, consistent things that you do will make a difference.
It often feels like this Feigenbaum diagram, which I included in my slides as a primer on how order transitions to chaos through a series of period-doubling bifurcations. Think of yourself starting on the left-hand side of the graph, plodding through all of the little tasks related to art business that aren’t directly related to creating art. It might not feel like you’re getting anywhere.
But whenever you take an opportunity to expose your artwork to an audience, the line in the graph splits – two new fans are born – and your capacity to reach more people grows. Before you know it, the whole thing blows up and you start to reap the rewards of the effort you put in to networking, exhibiting, giving out business cards, polishing your website, keeping up your records, etc.
So here’s an encouragement to myself and other artists to always remember to have a mailing list sign up sheet when you exhibit your work, and then use that mailing list!
By the way, if you haven’t signed up for my art mailing list, I invite you to sign up now. In addition to getting the inside scoop on my artwork and related happenings, you will have exclusive access to a desktop wallpaper version of Helios, one of my favorite artworks.
Personal highlights from DIMACS
Besides having the opportunity to share my own artwork, I benefited greatly from the presence of many creative and brilliant people. I am always pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth nearly everyone is at this type of event, regardless of how famous they are. I think it has something to do with the cross-pollination of different disciplines. Regardless, here are some of my personal highlights:
- Bahman Kalantari’s hospitality
- Heleman Ferguson’s demonstration of an ancient rope-twisting algorithm
- Ruth Mateus-Berr, Petra Ilias, and Walter Lunzer’s very creative and engaging presentation
- Hanging out with Ken Perlin, the creator of Perlin noise and a master of blending computer science and play
- Rinus Roelofs’ math-inspired sculpture
- Meeting Lillian Schwartz, a pioneering computer artist
- Gunter Weiss’ impromptu song about the progression of number theory, set to the tune of Drunken Sailor
- Dirk Huylebrouck’s demonstrations of the ancient history of math, including the Ishango bone
- A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Osmos, a creative independent video game
You can view the slides from my presentation, or watch it on YouTube: