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Whenever it comes to the relationship between artists and art market, we inevitably face the two mutually exclusive attitudes: the first is that true art and true artists are non-for-profit and should not even think about being for-profit; the second is that that very “true art” cannot exist without the art market. But let us put aside all the differences between what is true and what is not true because the subject is and will be covered in numerous books. Let us instead look deeper into what is happening in the Russian art system right now and how the artists and the market interact with each other. To keep it short, let us focus on two elements of this system: recently emerged online schools for artists and amateurs, and marketing for artists, also known as (self-) promotion. The artmarket and art business naturally draw most of their criticism from artists. There are just a few art groups and projects ready to work consistently to transform this system. 


One example is the project “Artists’ Promotion Agency” (the APA) launched by Ilmira Bolotyan in 2018–2019 []. The APA is a set of online and offline events aimed at the promotion of the artist herself; virtual and onsite coaching for unconfident, confused, or in-crisis artists, for up-and-comers, college graduates, and others. Presenting the visual content in a coaching-like manner and using Instagram as a platform for promotion, Bolotyan relatively quickly established her reputation as a specialist in the creative promotion and personal branding as well as in artists’ and curators’ coaching. She did all that without having any special education, relying solely on information gleaned from the Internet and on her personal experience.


The APA project started as an Instagram blog  in September 2018 and ended in August 2019 when a big online-academy bought a content of Bolotyan's Instagram devoted to promotion of artists. What actually turned the artist’s blog into a promotion platform was the fact that the Russian art community fears of — or finds improper — talking about the commercial — integral — part of the artlife. Even though, the artistic background cannot be complete without knowledge of the marketplace and promotion of artists. The results of the project you can read in an article "APA, or Adventures of Marketing in Contemporary Art" and here, EXHIBITIONS OF ARTISTS’ PROMOTION AGENCY.

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