The seeds of Sexy Networking were planted a decade ago while I was learning how to present my own fine-art photography at The Electric Chair Gallery in Oklahoma City. I spoke often with the owner of the gallery Shilo Brown (now a successful singer and songwriter) who saw what other artists and bands were doing, or not doing, to brand themselves.
Bands would play at the Electric Chair and only invite their friends. They didn’t have CDs to sell, or stickers, an online presence or even flyers with their contact information. Artists would display work that was unframed; they didn’t post an Artist’s Statement or have a gallery site.
These creative people essentially arrived for a show, did their time, and then faded away like ghosts. If you really seriously enjoyed their work there was no way to follow them. Fans had no way to see where they would be next, or to support them by buying their work. They wasted an amazing opportunity to connect with people, stay in touch and build their brand.
Many of the people who had a show at the Electric Chair were at the beginning of their career (including me). None of us had established a wide reputation and we had very little money to spend. What Shilo and I discussed was how many easy it was to brand yourself and do promotion for free.
Most fundamental brand-building and promotion can be done with an investment of time alone. A small amount of money can bring you professional materials and services that will make you look just as legitimate as anyone else out there. Growing a fan base, communicating with them and telling them about your projects and events is so easy if you know how to do it properly.
Sexy Networking began with the discussions I had with Shilo and my own fledgling experiments to get the word out about my fine-art photography and create a personal brand. Since that time I’ve been invited to show work in Belgium, The Netherlands, England and China. My work has been added to the collection of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the Leather Archives. I’ve literally made connections around the world and had opportunities that never would have been possible without my presence on the internet and hard work creating a personal brand. What I’ve done you can do too. The things I’ve learned can be used by anyone who wants to reach and build a wider audience.
In the next part of this introduction to Sexy Networking, I’m going to talk about my experience working with professional dominatrix and alternative models on marketing and promotion.