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social media – being an artist on the internet

I am not an expert at this, by no means. I’ve been an inconsistent blogger, a late bloomer with a genetic scowl and an introverted disposition. I am not an internet personality. I have not charmed the art consuming masses. That’s fine.

Remember when this was the most significant scam young artists had to fear?

But I’m wondering what is the next relevant online venue for visual artists? Most current platforms have choked out our audiences with algorithms. Every once in a while they let your work show up in feeds, giving you a taste of what you could have exposure wise if you’d just buy an ad/create a paid campaign. I don’t know many artists that bother. In fact, hilariously, many of the ads that show up in my feeds are advertisements proclaiming they have the secret to boosting your art career, and you can have all their tricks and magic, if you just buy their whatever. It’s funny. Artists trying to sell and being taunted by ads created by people who can already afford to do what the average artist can’t: pay for advertising.

Also, I’m not going to snapchat.

I’ve noticed an uptick of scammy spam from grifters trying to trick artists into paying them to be on their websites/book. They lure with promises of exposure and plastic everyone-is-a-winner trophies. And they’re soliciting through social media, pretending to have made that new relevant platform artists can use to be seen again. Which is kinda silly for even other reasons. Whatever that venue is, or should be, has to not just be for artists. It has to foster those who may be interested in their work, but without being just about selling.

Maybe I’m old-internet-fashioned, but I still depend on having a website, because, in the end, this is where my work is, and I can always be found, regardless of the latest social media fad.

I’m also still not convinced that paid ads are the answer for visual artists anyway. They seem more useful to sell fad products like scented lipsticks and cheap bathing suits. I feel like paid ads feel insincere, and as a fine artist, your perceived authenticity is valuable. I guess it depends on how far you’re willing to let your product be viewed as product. It is, indeed, product, but presented more as a piece of jewelry in a display case than dish soap on a shelf.

There are more working artists now than there has ever been before, all vying for the same relatively small audience, or trying to figure out who their audience is. Couple that with the massive talent out there as well… The audience for ultra absorbent paper towels and cheeseburgers is much bigger.

Free webinar, but not so free online course in how to grow your career as an artist. Shouldn’t schools be doing this instead?

Then there is SEO. I think the sites that get the best SEO results are the sites promising to tell you how to use SEO. You’re confusion gets you there to see their banner ads. In fact, I may just get more traffic to my blog because I’m talking about SEO for artists.

I know one thing for sure. If you don’t share your work, no one will see it. I don’t mean that in a ‘build it and they will come kinda way’. Google analytics proved that wrong to me. But still, if you don’t share your art it can’t be seen.

Friends who started their art careers before the internet was such a big player: what exactly did you agonize about when it came to finding an audience or patrons? I’d like to think there was simply less existential terror over it, since you didn’t have Facebook or Instagram to even consider, but knowing human beings, I’m sure there was some common horror.

I wish we were all more free of the fear of failure, financial ruin and desire for approval. But yet, those fears are probably part of the allure. Double edges and all that.

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