Wichita artist Wade Hampton earned his chops in the '90s as a member of The Famous Dead Artists. It took a lot of hype to get people interested in coming to art exhibitions and an artist had to crow like a rooster to make that happen.
Social media didn’t exist, so hanging printed posters in every window and sending 500 postcards through the mail was typical. Artists also developed press packets and hand-delivered them to every news outlet. Calls were made to friends to help spread the word. Hampton just had a show opening last Friday night at Local Roasters, a new coffee house here in Wichita, and the hype he developed for the exhibition was an art form in and of itself.
Thirty-two Facebook posts featuring photos of his new works, a 3 ½ minute video, t-shirts, coffee mugs, friends sharing info left and right via Facebook, cash-and-carry colored pencil drawings, and he even got the roasters to roast, bag, and sell a new blend of coffee named after his pen name “Wade Hate.” The coffee? Cup-o-Hate, of course!
If you wanted to buy a painting or a drawing at the show all you had to do was approach any one of the many Hate Helpers wearing a Santa hat and they would easily take your money and present you with your art. He had coffee tasting going on and an impressive food layout complete with chocolates. Colleges should hire Hampton to train art students in marketing. Okay, so maybe as an art student, this much hype isn’t your bag. But surely there are one or two examples in the approach you can use!
Notice I haven’t even spoken of Hampton’s art? Sorry. I have been too busy admiring the frenzied performance that is a Wade Hampton art show.