On Promoting Interstitial Art

By Paul Watson on .

As I’ve been working on The Book of the Erinyes I’ve been trying to work out who it’s likely to appeal to.

The problem is that it doesn’t fit comfortably in any one area. It sits between art and craft, between bookbinding and book art, between mainstream and underground. It’s art made in the interstices.

Personally I find interstitial art to be more interesting, but as an artist it makes it very hard to find existing markets in which to promote it.

When you’re trying to sell or promote artwork (or indeed anything) the first thing you need to understand is your potential audience, because this usually dictates how and where you market your artwork. There are many existing routes you can use if your work fits neatly into a genre or discipline, but if your work floats between established definitions then it’s far more difficult.

This chain of thought led me to the Interstitial Arts Foundation, which was founded by a group of literary, visual, musical, and performance artists for the purpose of developing and promoting interstitial art. There’s quite a lot to digest on their website, and I’ve only read a fraction of it so far, but I recommend it as a very interesting collection of ideas.

However I’m still left with the problem of how to get The Book of the Erinyes “out there” — how to raise awareness of it so that I can sell some copies of the limited edition handmade book and of the various other related artwork (I’m planning an unlimited paperback print-on-demand version, and various limited edition postcards, not to mention a free ebook version).

My personal view (and, please, if you have a different view, leave me a comment below) is that The Book of the Erinyes might appeal to two key audiences:

  1. Book Arts/Bookbinding Arts — a more traditional arts audience, albeit still in a grey area between the more fine-art area of Book Arts & Artist’s Books, and the more craft-orientated area of Bookbinding. And of course it also involves Letterpress printing, which is another separate area!
  2. Arty & Weird — this is my working name for a sub-cultural strand that seems to cross various boundaries, but can be broadly defined as those people who have an interest in art combined with one or more of the following interests:
    • graphic novels (particularly those by people like Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman, and the Hellblazer series),
    • goth or alternative music sub-culture,
    • films by David Lynch or Terry Gilliam,
    • books by the likes of Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, and Jeff VanderMeer.

    I promise I’ll try to think of a better name for this imperfectly-defined audience — if one already exists please let me know!

So, having worked out who I think might be interested in The Book of the Erinyes I now have to find ways to reach them.

And this is where you, dear reader, come in. I’m soliciting suggestions and ideas as to how to reach my target audiences. Please leave me a comment below if you have any ideas.

Thanks to the Interstitial Arts Foundation for citing & discussing this post.

Share on Tumblr

Adrian Reynolds
.

A term you might like is ‘slipstream’, which is already in use to encompass books in particular that aren’t quite one genre or another: sf thrillers, fantasy with a magical realist aspect, that kind of thing.

Barbara Simler
.

The Book of the Erinyes looks like a fantastic project — I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. Wish I had some good advice on reaching target audiences, but I’m still struggling with that one myself.

BlackCat
.

I know that old post is old, but since it appears that you’re still working on this project… have you ever thought of trying to aim some advertising at the Pagan community? Although (sadly) there are not many modern-day worshipers of the Erinyes, as you might expect there are a great deal of mythology and art lovers among them who might be interested in your book. :3

Paul Watson
.

The project is certainly still ongoing (It’s a huge project!).

Yes, I hadn’t thought about cross-marketing to a pagan audience, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.