By Daniel Callahan, Arts Extension Instructor
WHO AM I:
I am ultimately a mystery, living as a human being named “Daniel” socially understood as an African American, cis-gender male, engaged in this collective experience of life.
WHAT DO I DO:
I tell stories. I show stories. I create expressions, designs, and experiences. I play with thoughts and ask questions. I observe and craft meaning from life.
I consider myself a transmedia artist and designer; meaning that my work mixes, morphs and ultimately transcends the mediums, which I use, and the industries in which I work. Through my practice, I look to bridge the gap between art, artist, observer, and environment. While my mediums are in constant flux and range from film, photography, music, painting, poetry, and performance what remains constant is my aim to create holistic, immersive experiences that promote wonder, inspire reflection and engage transformation.
In virtually all indigenous cultures, art is regarded not as a series of objects in isolation, but as an ecosystem of instruments for ritual - used to align, balance and relate the mundane with the mystical - the known with the unknown, and the “us” with the “other” to bring about meaning and harmony to all. In my practice, I use ritual as a method; a way in which to approach not only my art & design, but also my life. Through my practice, I look to become a fuller human being and create work that is deeply informed by, but ultimately transcendent of, time, culture, and geography.
I found my way into the world of marketing as most artists do; bleary-eyed and out of sheer necessity. Unable to afford a marketing strategist (let alone a team), I had to pick up what I could over the years. Marketing and I were more formally introduced through my graphic design practice. I’ve worked for newspapers, magazines, independent music labels, not-for-profits, small businesses, and other artists and organizations from many different industries and walks of life. The through-line for all of them is their need to tell their stories in compelling and authentic ways to their audiences and core constituents.
For many artsy, non-corporate people such as myself, words like marketing and branding sound at best foreign and at worst, gross. Also, while I don’t use these words to describe what I do, the practical, research-based and communicative aspects of these things are extremely important, especially for smaller non-profit and arts-based organizations. I find my client’s missions and programming to be so critical and yet their resources and margin for error so small that learning how to work smarter (because they are all working extremely hard) and maximizing efficiency and impact is therefore crucial for their sustainability and success in the long run. My aim as an instructor teaching arts marketing is to demystify marketing, make it more palatable for non-business types and teach the elements and processes that make up a strong marketing strategy for arts organizations.