Politics and the Artist

Politics and art make great bedfellows. Politics can help artists and artists can help project those ideals which matter to them. It could be an issue in which they are for or against or it might be about making sure someone is elected for political office. During the political season when people tend to be very polarized and are very vocal, some artists like to express it in their work. If you follow politics and feel strongly about someone or something, it tends to be easy to come up with subject matter which reflects your opinion. If you have not done so before but you are that type of person, then what are you waiting for?

I have talked to artists in the past who see the ability to express their political views through their work a constitutional right to be excercised. It offers a way in which they feel empowered to contribute their talents through the freedom of speech. Free speech is not just along the lines of the freedom of the press and the ability to say and write what you want. It also encompasses expression via the arts.

The other great thing about politics from the perspective of an artist is that it allows for many opportunities for exposure via publicity and possibly directly through a campaign office. Exposure is something many artists at all levels artists seek and take when they can get it. Not only can it get people looking at your work but it might even open some unexpected opportunities in the future. With the media writing and discussing almost everything under the sun about those campaigning, getting a piece of that publicity can be quite easy.

So how would you do this? First I would decide if I want to link my work to something more local or national. Local level politics tend to be more within reach and easier to catch the attention of those people running for decision making positions. Local news outlets might even be willing to give you some face time on their morning or evening broadcasts. Print and online outlets will be interested as well. Overall it will be easier for you to make an impact and be seen at the local level. If you are the type of artist that markets your work primarily to those in your geographical area, this might be the best option. If you feel you have a higher calling and want to look toward national elections getting the attention of the media outlets may still not be that hard, especially considering there would be a far greater number of them but you do chance getting more buried with all the other stories surrounding those elections. This may translate into more people seeing your work but less at the local level.

Once you find a campaign I wanted to support (I guess you could also choose one to denigrate) try to latch onto something relating to the campaigns itself. It does not have to be controversial however as an observer of the media and political events I have noticed controversy tends really sell well. If controversy is not your style I would try to choose something that supporters would appreciate. Perhaps a portrait of the candidate in an introspective pose, a well designed slogan used by the campaign, or even illustrate some of the principals the candidate says they stand for. Since I have been in the art reproduction business some of my favorite political works of art have been of President Clinton, President Bush and President Obama in which the artists obviously had great affection and portrayed them in a dignified manner. While the news might be less interested, a positive piece about a candidate will have the greatest potential of getting the attention of the campaign staff. You might even get the appreciation from the person running for office in a very public manner.

 I would also consider investing a little money for a paid press release to give your work even more exposure. As I said earlier the media loves to publish things about politics. With the help of a paid press release service like PRWeb and some others (just do a Google search on the best paid press release services) it is even easier to get your work out there. Not only do news outlets look at these releases but many bloggers will jump at the opportunity to republish it. You may even find the exposure you get more than you were ready to handle, especially if the subject of your work get’s seen by the right people. There are tons of great resources out there on how to write a good press release. Just make sure you include how people can see or get a copy of your work (link or actual image file) your political views, what inspired you to do the piece and foremost what your ultimate goal is with the work (i.e., help your candidate win, expose the lies and deceit by his or her opponent, etc.).

If you are interested in expressing yourself politically through your art, now is the best time to start. Don’t wait too much longer either because after this next election people tend to be politically weary for some time.

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