How Artists Can Use Social Media– Part 2

part2

by Gary Smith for Imaginet

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In the previous post – How artists and photographers can use socials media – I introduced some ideas on art promotion. This article explores this theme further and looks at ways of selling and advertising one’s art online.

Art is always searching for new modes of expression and Twenty First Century artists are questioning and reshaping the boundaries of artistic expression largely through digital technology. At the same time they are increasingly using the medium of the internet to sell their work.

Conventionally, art has been sold in a physical gallery or from the artist’s studio but today’s digital technology as well as social media have broadened the scope and the possibilities for artists. As a result many artists are bypassing galleries and agents and selling their work from web sites created from online resources or from free template driven sites like Weebly.com. The possibilities for selling art online have also increased exponentially with the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and many other social networks – especially Pinterest, which we will talk about in more detail soon.

Examples of artists’s making use of social media

A good example of an artist using online resources and social networking is Lori McNee.  (http://www.finearttips.com/)  She has established herself through her highly visual and interactive website from which she not only promotes her art but also offers video tips and painting techniques. Michel Keck is one of an increasing number of artists who are using the internet to sell their works using the internet  She bypassed the formal galleries and has sold over 1,500 paintings to art collectors  internationally. (http://www.michelkeck.com/about_the_artist_a/208.html)

Art as an online experience has also been bolstered by digital galleries and collections.  One of the most impressive examples of the way that art has become more accessible online is the Google art Project. (http://www.googleartproject.com/) This highly interactive and extensive site allows one to see collections of famous art and zoom into close-ups of the actual works.  Sites like this provide access to galleries throughout the world from the comfort of your computer screen or tablet.

Interviewing online gallery owners also highlights the advantages of this medium. Many bricks-and-mortar galleries are now selling more art online than in their physical gallery. When asked why they had started on online gallery in conjunction with their physical gallery, one owner stated that they had started the online gallery in order to “…harness the power of the internet to create a platform from which genuinely talented but undiscovered artists could launch their careers.” The site has been extremely successful in promoting local artists.

Using social media to improve presence and sales is a method increasing being used by artists. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are used by online galleries – with one gallery owner, stating that she often receives inquiries via Twitter about art for sale.  Animator Paul Heard sums of the potential of social media: “I’d go as far to say that I wouldn’t be doing what I am today had it not been for social media”.  (http://mashable.com/2012/01/20/artists-social-digital-media/)

The online world provides a plethora of ways to learn about art techniques. Notwithstanding the study of famous artwork from sites like Google Art Project, one can, for instance, watch a video on the process of creating an abstract painting from Youtube.com. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NSjnE86XuE) Networks such as artists2artists.net provide guidance and advice from experienced curators.

Tips:

1. Use online art galleries to exhibit your works – but be careful and discerning. There are hundreds if not thousands of online galleries that offer to host your work for free or a small commission. Many of these sites can bring you some exposure but be cautious of sites filled with advertisements and freebies and which seem to be tacky; use Facebook and other social networks to check on the credentials of a gallery before committing yourself.

2. Use Twitter and hashtags to promote your website. Hashtags increase the probability of art lovers finding your works. More on this in the next post.

Next:  100 Ways to Sell your Art online and Learning About Art Online.

View part three in this series

Gary Bruce Smith is a freelance writer and artist. View his Google Plus profile.

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