Making Art Socialable

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ArtistEngage connects artists to the world

Here's an evergreen question: how does an emerging artist get his or her work out there? These days, the answer seems to lie in navigating an ever-proliferating, often-overwhelming array of apps and social media possibilities. Somewhere between figuring it out on your own and overly formal "how to" conference lectures is room 505 at the venerable Music Building (584 8th Ave.), a sprawling warren of 70 rehearsal spaces untouched by time since it opened in 1979, where ArtistEngage, a band of music and visual artists, including noted DJ Journey (Will Jackson), is offering a free, densely informative workshop series (Wed. 4pm-8pm) that began in July and continues throughout August.

"We're organizing a community of artists as we flesh out the dialogue on what obstacles people face or what success they are achieving through social media, self-branding, and taking their careers into their own control," says Ruhi "Roo" Shamim, the Music Building's Community Director and Content Producer. "In the 70's, artist skills meant creating something physical in a raw space, like wiring and plumbing. Now artist skills are wholly digital but we are also creating a physical environment that's always important to people's dialogues."

The workshop's third meeting on July 24, led by musician/marketer Dave "Ravin" Iannoa, offered a thorough explication of Key Actions for carving out one's stake in today's digitalscape: exploration, experimentation, amplification, partnering, and measuring, with illustrations drawn from artists' careers, most notably visual artist Borbay, who systemically fulfilled his vision to become a successful professional artist by canny self-marketing and tireless audience cultivation. One, he selects subjects relevant to others (ie. a painting of Jay Z). Two, he documents in detail the process of creating each piece through videos posted on Daily Motion and amply tagged blogs on Word Press. Three, he pursues key partnerships. In one instance, Borbay created paintings outside the Guggenheim for 5 days straight, documented and shared the process through social media and then partnered with the Guggenheim in blogging about each other. When Time Out New York named him one of NYC's most creative people, he joined with the magazine to blog extensively about the story. He partnered with the Sidewalk Café by bringing in his fans to watch his process live, thereby increasing both parties' audiences.

If you missed the first workshop sessions, no problem. The series is being videoed by the CBGB team and ArtistEngage plans to go on the road. "Our goal is to create a trans-media documentary, 'Flip the Switch,' and take this workshop to different cities," says Roo. "The artists engage in workshops and events we're creating to flesh out this documentary and engage people on multiple media platforms. It's all an experiment. As we go along we're seeing what works and what doesn't work."

R.S.V.P. for ArtistsEngage at:

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