This is an excerpt of a conversation between Mathilde Morant (Viti Project) and Stuart Waplington on one of our AMA sessions on the group. They were discussing Mathilde’s lighthouse project and brainstorming some of the ways she could promote it on Instagram. Mathilde’s Viti Project, started in 2018, is a long journey of making a watercolour painting of every lighthouse in Iceland.

Here’s a suggestion for one way to talk about this project. You’ve basically got 120 stories you can tell there because every single lighthouse must have its own story. It could be anything from the history, the technology, who built it, how you got there, how you managed to travel to get there, what the challenges were for you to paint it etc. Maybe about the weather where you had to wait for it to get better, about travelling to some of these places, maybe you have to take a boat to get to some of these lighthouses. All of this backstory to each of your works is really interesting. 

Now that you have got a lot of potential content for months, we would advise you to systematically tell the story of each picture every few weeks. When people put art on their walls, they really like to have a story to go with that art. People come around their house and ask them about the art and they want to be able to say that it’s a painter from Iceland who’s painting every single lighthouse. It took her five years. I brought it because I really like the story behind it. It used to be a manned lighthouse and there was this story that happened to one of the lighthouse keepers or whatever it is. Or it could be like she had to get to this lighthouse by boat in this incredible weather which made it really hard to paint under a shelter. There’s going to be a story behind each one that you can tell and in doing so you are also showing some of your motivation. If you look at this in two-week periods then at the end of nine days of story in two or three posts you release the print. So there’s a process, you do some stories, you do small posts and then at the end of the story release the print and then you do it again with the next lighthouse.

This becomes a thing that people start engaging with over time. They get into the series and might end up collecting two or three of the lighthouses when they get a story that particularly resonates with them. And because they’ve engaged with each one they know it’s only available for five days so if they want to own that print then they have to act quick during that time. This also gives you a lot of content to grow your following. Building up these stories about each painting gets people excited about that painting and by looking at each successive story they know that they’re going to have to make that decision of buying the print.

In a way, this also goes beyond the subject matter and becomes a human interest story about your passion for doing it and seeing this project through. It becomes more universal and the lighthouse becomes a symbol for your determination to see this project through and it can become a symbol for other people as well in some kind of metaphorical meaning.

Updated on 13 March 2024

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