Artists have a unique creative way of standing out. Yet, artists need their marketing tools, too.
To be honest I never had an elevator pitch. I always took the stairs, having far more to say about my work than I could fit into an elevator ride.
But here I am, past my years as a graphic designer (I should have had one then given my knowledge of marketing communications!) and I finally found my pitch, one that is authentic. It took all of about 30 seconds to write.
Mine is one of many examples. You can find a ton more by googling. The important thing is to make this pitch true to you.
I’m Kristin Maija Peterson, a visual artist who connects people with the everyday, ordinary, and extraordinary facets of the natural world through art, observation, science, and story.
I guess it’s that time of the year when I feel the urge to get plans and objectives down in writing that made me finally hone in on an elevator pitch. (I’m also planning on biting off the big-to-do and writing a freaking business plan, if only for myself. Otherwise, I will look back in five years and be standing in the same spot as I am now.
I know this sounds like bragging, getting an elevator pitch down in 30 seconds. Writing an elevator pitch is painful for most, a process to be sure, and something that gets revised from time to time.
Mine did not come overnight. I arrived at an elevator pitch that felt authentic by really looking at the body of work I was creating and why I love the process, my exhibiting experience, interacting with others about my art, and some serious time journaling.
All the advice on perfecting elevator pitches is enough to draw complete blanks in one’s head. It must be memorable, and impactful, and highlight what makes your work, creative or otherwise, truly unique. A tall order for such a snippet of a sentence or two.
For emerging artists, this marketing tool is right up there with writing an Artist Statement in terms of dread and angst. To this I would say, be still. Listen. Then write what comes to you without judgment or editing. Many, including myself, practice what Julia Cameron author of The Artist’s Way calls morning pages.
I’ve read mixed reviews about The Artist’s Way, so I forgive any eye-rolls. To be honest, I only practice morning pages and artist dates from her book.
If you are not familiar with morning pages, they are simply sitting down with a notebook, a journal, or paper and a writing instrument of choice and writing, just write what comes to mind, anything, for three solid pages. Yes, your hand will ache at first. Yet, it’s this tactile act, the physicality of writing, away from technology, that puts us in touch with our true selves. From this practice, it’s possible to discover through lines and wording that lead you to a solid pitch and statement.
Your elevator pitch and your artist statement, when they speak authentically of you doing you, will attract the people you seek, be it an audience, a collaboration, or an opportunity. Once you have one, practice using it, it can help open doors for you. Being able to articulate what you do and why you do it allows you to connect with others on a deeper level which can turn into landing a grant, a commission, and art sales.
For this and other marketing how-to’s for artists, check out Springboard for the Arts Work of Art Series.
I have not taken my elevator pitch out for a spin just yet. It’s very new, just like the year. Curious to hear what you think. Should artists have elevator pitches? Do elevator pitches feel too unnatural for you to say out loud — to another person? (Practicing it out loud will let you know if it feels real or cheesy).
If any of this is helpful, a good reminder, or just another have-to-do, I’d love to hear it. Jot your comments below.
I respond to all.
ARTWORK SHOWN ABOVE: The Earth’s History Is Written In Her Stones. Sharpie pens on vellum paper / 11 x 14”