The dream of any artist is to have their work become well known. In the past, I've written about the idea of having your own museum.
It's not possible in the real brick-and-mortar world unless you're a famous, dead artist -- not a great lifestyle choice. But I showed how it's possible, with a little work and a minimum expenditure, to have your own museum on the Internet.
So where else can artists show their work? There's always the chance of an exhibit at a gallery or a museum or some other venue. The problem is that it's transitory and can only be seen by relatively few people. I've have about a dozen one-man shows at local venues over the last few years, and I've had some great write-ups in the local press. But I'll bet that more people see my work every few days on my Internet sites than at all these shows combined. Putting up a show is hard work and, in the end, it's not that rewarding. The memory soon fades.
What about an art book? Imagine, a book just about you, your work, your thoughts, all packaged in a form you can physically hold in your hands. Page after page of beautiful illustrations that you can just fall into.
But there are problems with putting together a real book of your art. First, you have to find a publisher willing to foot the bill or, failing that, put up your own money to self publish. If someone else is publishing your book, you may not have that much of a say about how your work is presented. If self publishing, you can pick and choose, but you will probably have to pay someone to lay out your book. There's also the question, vital to any book of art, as to the quality of the reproductions. The layout may be dicey, the reproductions just so-so, your pictures cropped to fit the page, color pictures reproduced in black and white. The list of nail-biting problems is endless. And, if there's an error, it will be immortalized in thousands of copies, with no way to remedy it.
But the greatest problem with real world books is that they are transitory in nature. After a few years, your book will be out of print. If you self published, you may have a few copies laying around the house. In the end, they will sit on someone's shelf or be found at a used book store. And, again, there is the problem that the book will only be seen by a limited audience.
But there is an answer and it's the same sort as the solution to the museum puzzle -- become a publisher of electronic books.
In my next post, I'll talk about picking a format for art books and possible ways of distributing them.