Maria Jenson + Heidi Johnson On Marketing Artists + Art Events with Erin Yoshi

Maria Jenson + Heidi Johnson On Marketing Artists + Art Events with Erin Yoshi

Welcome to another podcast takeover with Erin Yoshi. For International Women’s Month, we are going to talk to some of Erin’s favorite women in the creative field, each offering something brilliant, raw, and powerful.

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Today we talk with guests Maria Jensen and Heidi Johnson about marketing artists and art events. Heidi is an accomplished public relations strategist, artist manager, and self-made entrepreneur.

“I’m actually from LA, so I think this whole crazy journey for me really did start in LA. My background is in dance and theater, and my husband is an artist and who works in the film industry. So all of these intersecting cultural worlds had us always going to art events. I joined the MOCA contemporaries when I was living in LA, and I always found it interesting to go to these beyond-the-scenes visits. But everyone seemed to be afraid of asking the artists and curators questions — I would always ask the questions people were afraid to ask.” — Maria Jenson [0:07:36]

Maria, our other accomplished guest, a leader in advancing innovative strategies to sustain creative communities in the midst of a rapidly changing urban environment. We open the show by asking Heidi and Maria about their journeys into the arts and what their responsibilities include. After hearing about the various galleries and artists they work with, Maria tells us more about one of her projects, ArtPad, explaining its evolution and aims.

Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery
Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery
Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery
Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery
Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery
Somarts Cultural Center + Gallery

Following this, Heidi opens up her marketing strategy playbook and shares a handful of her most useful marketing tools. She touches on some of her favorite PR methods and tells us about how the experience should be at the center of your efforts as a PR manager.

Toward the end of the episode, we find out how artists can prepare themselves to work with publicists along with the importance of networking. To conclude the show we find out from Maria and Heidi about their exciting upcoming projects.

HiJinx Art Management + PR logo
HiJinx Art Management + PR
i Johnson (left) with Cheyanne Sauter, Executive Director, ArtShareLA
Heidi Johnson (left) with Cheyanne Sauter, Executive Director, ArtShareLA

“I grew up in Los Angeles, my mother was a creative — a writer — and so I grew up in a creative household. However, it was a chaotic household and I always felt the need to be in charge. So I got into that role which then led me into production which led me into publicity. And I really loved publicity. But I didn’t love the entertainment industry, because I grew up in it. So after moving to New York and a couple of other agencies, I came back to LA and I had a lot of friends who were artists because I grew up around them. I thought I’d start doing PR for all those people who could never afford PR.” — @hijinxpr [0:04:30]

New Book By Katie Love

From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love

Author Katie Love: The Comedian Turning Heartbreak Into Humor [Podcast] coverThe year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.

Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”

Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!

So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.


Key Points From This Marie Jenson + Heidi Johnson Episode:

  • Introducing Erin Yoshi, our Not Real Art podcast host for the month of March.
  • We welcome today’s guests, Maria Jenson and Heidi Johnson.
  • How Maria and Heidi were drawn into the arts.
  • Maria talks about the boutique experience she was offering with ArtPad.
  • Heidi shares some powerful PR strategy tools.
  • What Maria’s marketing events focus on.
  • Maria and Heidi talk about how to create simplicity out of chaos.
  • How Heidi has honed her skills in the PR space.
  • How artists can prepare themselves to work with publicists.
  • Why it is important for artists to learn to speak their narrative.
  • Heidi shares her parting thoughts.
  • Hear about Maria’s current projects.

“I would go to these events and I always felt like people were afraid of engaging directly with the art. So they’d talk to each other or wait for friends to arrive.” — Maria Jenson [0:08:58]

“Sometimes you just want to feel welcomed and be able to be at all levels of art, whether it be as a collector or whether you’re just someone who has never been to an art event but you want to check it out.” — @hijinxpr[0:15:34]

Artist + NOT REAL ART Podcast host, Erin Yoshi
Artist + NOT REAL ART Podcast host, Erin Yoshi

“The one thing I felt was missing in art in the early 2000s was they hadn’t fully embraced PR in the way that other industries had.” — @hijinxpr [0:21:04]

“There are those of us who are well-suited to create something of chaos.” — Maria Jenson [0:28:57]

“Now I am moving into AR and VR events — it is about being an experience and less about it being an art opening, where everyone is super stiff and afraid to ask questions.” — @hijinxpr [0:23:38]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: