It’s not that I’m Amish and shun modern-day marvels like light bulbs and atheism, but I like to keep things simple. I was late to jump on internet bandwagon’s like Twitter and YouTube and still ask myself, why do I find it necessary to tell whoever is listening that my cat’s so fat he fills the sink bowl in the bathroom? And why am I uploading a video of this? In the ADD rush of present day society, it’s hard for an artistic soul to collaborate harmoniously with a force as daunting as the internet. Our independence is swallowed up in the cyber masses and we feel as if we’re conforming. Remember when it was cool and rare for a band to be discovered by MySpace? Now, anyone with a recording device and lung capacity has a music page and thinks they’re the next big thing. The internet is an evil, dreadful place.
I take that back. The internet is what people make of it. Learning, mindless entertainment, missed connections, retail therapy, stalking and in the case of my article, marketing. I am an artist. I paint pretty pictures and have sold a few without the direct help of the internet. I had a few paintings hanging up in a little café down the street and left my contact information on a makeshift stock card plaque. Once I had a table at an open air market and gained a few sold paintings and commissioned projects, but I still felt my art needed to reach a greater audience. How and where would I be able to do this, and for free? Paging Dr. Obvious, paging Dr. Obvious! The internet.
Everyone and their brothers have Facebook. Your aunt, their mailman, my exboyfriend’s mother, registered sex offenders, everyone. I’ve allocated a photo album for images of my art and you should do this too because, voila, you’ll have an online portfolio building before your very eyes. Set the privacy settings for that particular album so everyone can view them. Keep adding photos throughout your artistic journey. Do it. Now.
To better enhance my cyber presence I’ve created a MySpace page completely devoted to my art and free for the public to view. I’ve gained random fans this way. While MySpace might be the slutty and rebellious sibling of Facebook, you can customize the look of your page to fit your whole persona. I’ve done just that. My MySpace page is strictly art related. Sometimes I binge for thirty minutes just requesting artists’ friendships. It can’t hurt to have your Top 8 be made up completely of other great painters, can it? I have 400 million intelligent, cultured and talented MySpace friends, and what do you have? Underage half-naked chicks? Lame.
There are other free sites like ImageKind and FineArtAmerica where you can upload high-resolution photos of your art and sell the prints. Have you ever ran into the problem of someone wanting to buy an original painting you’ve already sold? Or turned a corner to find a large group of shrieking Japanese school girls asking for multiple prints of one painting? Sites like these take care of the dirty work. They handle custom orders, printing, framing, shipping and payment. They give you codes for personalized banners that promote your art which you can embed in other personal sites, like MySpace. When you sign up for a print-selling site you also join a community of other artists who in turn become fans of your work. I’ve sold a few prints here and there and had my ego inflated due to all the positive feedback I’ve received on my art. You can opt for the free profile or pay a little extra for more exposure, it’s up to you. Oh, and you can’t forget a great place like Etsy. Take advantage of cyber-boutiques! And make sure you read the fine print.
You’re probably thinking I’m a narcissist, but I’m not. I’m an artistic narcissist and obviously have a WordPress site where I ramble away about my creative process and other things. I’ve put art banners and buttons throughout my page too. My blog is yet another outlet for me to convey what I am and what I do, and to show you where else to go if you like it.
Now, pay attention, kids. This is where it gets tedious. Go grab another cup of coffee or take a stretch break.
[Insert elevator Muzak]
Good to go? Great. Have a seat again. The key to having a better impact in cyberspace is by linking everything you’ve put out there to each other. You know those “bio” or “about me” sections on all these websites?
“Hi, my name is Blab McBlabberson. I like blab and long blabs on the blab. I’m also an artist, check out my site! http://www.blabart.com.”
Or caption and/or tag options you have for photos?
“This painting is titled ‘Blab’ and it’s 4 x 4’, acrylic, egg yolk & spider whiskers. Prints are here: http://www.blabart.com.”
Be sure to take time and link everything together. In my Facebook art albums I’ve included the dimensions and medium of each piece and a link to its print. You can link Painting #1 on Facebook or WordPress to the specific Painting #1 URL on Etsy, ImageKind or Fineartamerica, taking a few steps out of the process for a potential buyer or fan. On my WordPress site you can link certain words or photos. As soon as I publish a blog, it makes an announcement on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve linked and tagged the crap out of blog articles and while it might sound repetitive, it’s not. Every bit of consistency and diligence helps. There has to be some sort of psychological theory advertisers live by that includes branding and product bombardment as a successful way to increase sales and revenue. Why, just the other day I was tempted to buy anti-aging cream. I’m 25.
This was my little blurb about how I’ve habitually used the internet to gain more exposure than I could just sitting on my butt and doodling into the horizon. This is how I’ve greased the wheel. Nothing has been scientifically proven or FDA approved, but I believe my advice will help you get on your feet. Just remember to be diligent, patient and consistent while starting up and maintaining your cyber boutiques. Give people the option to click to different site even if its intentional or accidental on their parts. You never know who will stumble across your stuff and be your fan for life.