Episode 222 – New Markets for Artists / An App as a Work of Art

An App as a Work of Art

Another approach to making an app or a game on Face- book is to make it a work of art in itself that is worth passing around. The app I made with this in mind is called “Box that opens when you close your eyes,” and it is a series of images and phrases that you can share with friends. The way the game is set up, you can put in perhaps twenty or more items, and then when people share one, they get a message that says that if they share it ten times, they will unlock a new gift, meaning that they will unlock another one of the picture and word combinations I made up.

Here are three examples of gifts that I made which are intended to be charming enough to share: a self-eating cake (accompanied by a picture of a cake); a soup that heals all wounds (with a  picture of a soup bowl); and a Qwerty Party (with a picture of a keyboard). All of these are a little more artsy than the quiz questions, but they are also more likely to be passed around if people are using them to send messages to friends. I made that one a year ago, and   it has been used fifty-seven thousand times so far! Is it art? Yes. Does it help me? I think so, because friends enjoy it and pass it along and they are reminded that I am an artist who works with abstract and poetic concepts. You could say I  am “branding” the work that I make under the name Praxis, which is the name under which my wife and I collaborate as artists.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 221 – New Markets for Artists / Make a Quiz

Make a Quiz

You can make a quiz about anything at all. It can be intelligent, funny, and even educational. To give some examples, I created two quiz apps on Facebook. One was called “Are you an artist destined for greatness or a minor one?” In it, I set up about eight questions to answer. I had fun with it and created questions like “Why do you make art?” The three possible answers were: 1. I can’t think of anything else to do; 2. I want to make money; and 3. For art’s sake. Other questions included “Do you think money and art mix well?” Possible answers to that question were: 1. Sometimes, but not usually; 2. They go together like soul mates; and 3. I hate money because it seems to hate me. Of course, I was trying to have fun with my answers and make it entertaining. I  also got to decide what the final result would be depending on how the questions were answered. One of the final results was this: “Wow, wow, wow! You are a hottie, and it will not be long before you are plucked from obscurity. You have talent, charm, and make art that rocks the inner worlds of your audience. Soon you will be the spokesperson for your generation. Be proud, and lead the masses to cultural literacy!”

Go Viral

That quiz is fun, so it tends to get passed around, and as a result my name is seen in more places, because not only am  I listed as the creator, I put my name into some of the questions. To get the attention of curators I made a quiz called, “Are you a cutting-edge fine art curator?” And this is the description: “So you’re a curator, but are you cutting edge? Will you be chosen to curate the next Whitney Biennial or perhaps the Venice Biennial? Take this quiz and find out where you stand in the quirky art world that will determine your fate.” The quiz-taker answers more art world questions, and when they’ve finished, the app tells them what I think. I posted this quiz on the Facebook walls of curators and as they filled it out, they passed it on to other curators. One of the questions I asked was, “Who do you think are cutting-edge artists?” Among the answer choices, I included myself and my wife as one option and put us next to Picasso, John Currin, and a few friends. I was having fun with this one, but you can see how it also gets my name out there to curators. Not only that, quizzes likes these tend to get passed around, and because the result of the quiz is published on your Facebook wall, you will have it working for you while you do nothing. In other words, at no cost to you, your name could be passed around as part of a quiz while you get the benefit of that promotion.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 220 – New Markets for Artists / Make Your Own App

Make Your Own App

Now that I have explained how an app can be a dangerous tool for hackers, I will tell you how they can be useful to you as an artist, both as tools for promoting your work and as a means for creating an artwork in itself. With tablet computers becoming more popular and smartphone use on the rise, we are going to see more and more apps in the future. As the industry grows, greater security measures will be taken to reduce the number of hacking apps. However, just as the battle to stop junk email and spam is not over, this will probably take a while. So in the meantime, in the same way that we continue to use email, we can continue to use apps—and create them as well.

First Steps to Take to Create a Game or App for Facebook

Let’s begin with how to make an app on Facebook. Unlike iPhone apps and other smartphone apps, Facebook apps are designed to be played with on Facebook itself. You can get very creative with them, but Facebook makes it easy by offering templates that you can modify. For example, there’s a survey app or quiz that you often see on Facebook, with titles such as “What I have in common with Justin Bieber” or “What kind of animal are you?” The point of these is to get you to fill out your answers to a series of questions, and based on your answers, you are given a final grade or category of some kind. These may seem childish, silly, or worse, but people love to fill them out, and this is an easy way to begin to understand how you can use them.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 219 – New Markets for Artists / The Fine Print

The Fine Print

For example, there are apps that change your screen image or “wallpaper” to holiday themes. These simple, free apps can be the worst. One such app will tell you that it needs permission to access your phonebook. You might not think twice about it, but why your phone book? You have to evaluate the situation every time. In this scenario, there is no reason why an app that sends images needs access to your phone book unless it were designed to steal all your mailing addresses and info. It is very easy to download apps without thinking, but this goes to show why it’s so important to read the fine print. If you download an app, just read a little bit about the permissions the app requires. Any app that asks for access to your phone book is suspicious, so you should read reviews of it before downloading. This is less of an issue for the iPhone because the apps are screened carefully, but it can happen from time to time and is still a concern. Now that most people have their smartphones synched with their computers so that their calendars and email addresses are stored on their phones, an app can access all kinds of information and send your friends junk mail from your email address. This is not to scare you but rather to make you conscious of some of the dangers of downloading apps.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 218 – New Markets for Artists / Applications for Phones and Tablets

Professional and Polite

Trying to establish connections with people professionally and politely will get you very far, because most people stop pursuing a connection as soon as a call or email isn’t returned. At the very least, you deserve a response. That’s my feeling when I am trying to connect with someone. Sometimes I even continue to follow up on principal, because I believe that everyone deserves a response when writing and asking a question politely.

Applications for Phones and Tablets

Passwords are important, but there are other ways hackers can get into your computer, your mailing lists, and other information. Since the invention of the iPhone and the Android system and phone, there has been a proliferation of applications, or “apps” as they are known. You can download apps for reading books, for playing games, for finding local restaurants, and much, much more.

Apps are also available for Android system phones—which were developed by Google—but with one critical difference. On the iPhone, which is produced  by Apple, the apps that   are available are very tightly controlled by the company. That means that when  someone  is trying  to create  an app to sell in Apple’s online store, iTunes, they have to propose it to Apple first. If Apple likes it, then they will make it available for download on iTunes, but if they don’t like it, they won’t. This is because Apple wants iTunes to carry only squeaky-clean apps with nothing unsuitable for children, which means no nudity or adult references of any kind (although apps that make farting noises are OK). For Android phones, the store allows apps to be uploaded much easier and there are fewer restrictions. This is because Android developers wanted their apps to be even more popular than Apple’s, but problems are arising in both companies, so it’s important to remain updated and informed.

Phone Apps Have Access to Your Information

Before you download an app, you will have a chance to read a description of it and, most importantly, a list of what it has access to on your phone. In order for an app to work, it has to be able to access some of your phone’s data and controls. I just downloaded a timer app, which is like a kitchen egg timer, and I use it to time my meditation sessions, which are twenty minutes long. When I was about to download it, I was told what it would need access to: it was just going to change my phone controls to stop my phone from going to sleep. Apps that manipulate photos will let you know that the app will need access to your phone camera, whereas apps that help with driving directions will need access to the global positioning system or GPS in your phone. That’s all OK, but some apps are designed to hack your phone, so read carefully.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 217 – New Markets for Artists / Writing to a Curator

Writing to a Curator

But here is another story about someone I was pursuing through Facebook while writing this book. I added a curator as a friend and sent him a message asking if I could interview him for my radio show. He wrote back and said OK, but he was traveling, so he told me I could contact him the following week. That was after we had exchanged about three Facebook messages. 

When I followed up with him the following week to set a time for me to interview him by phone, he didn’t answer me. I wrote to him on and off for another two months and I never got a reply. I couldn’t catch him on live chat either. After I had written many unanswered emails he eventually replied and said he would be happy to talk and that we should pick a time. He apologized for being busy. I did the interview, it went well, and I now consider him a friend.

I wanted to include this example because this is what happens in the best of circumstances. I knew this guy wanted to be interviewed on Yale Radio, which hosts my radio program on the arts, but the fact is that most people will not return email and calls unless you are persistent. It is a fact that seems counter to reason, but I have found it to be true on many occasions. I have interviewed many businesspeople who have said the same thing: You must call and write to people over and over again. So for the people that do not have an interest in knowing you (like the guy I was interviewing), you have to work harder still.

How to Follow Up

I learned about professionals’ approaches to this kind of active networking by talking to businessmen and women who try to make new contacts all the time, and also from a friend who had recently quit her job. My friend, who is a fundraiser with a successful history, felt she was being harassed at her job and went to Human Resources. The Human Resources person asked her not to press charges and instead to take their comprehensive coaching and placement package for as long as she wanted until she found the perfect job. It was a generous offer, because it meant she would be given the personal coaching she needed to land the perfect job, for as long as it took.

I read over all the materials she had been given and there was a section on following up that nicely summarized what I had heard before from many different people. It  mentioned that when trying to get an interview or meet someone, the most common complaint was that people don’t call back or return emails. Their solution to this problem was straightforward: Never say that you will just wait for their call; always say you will follow up. That means at the end of every letter you send and at the end of every voicemail you leave after you have sent in a résumé or an application or a set of images, you must say something like, “If I don’t hear from you, I will call (and/or email) in two days.” Then you contact them in two days. It could be the very same email you first sent, with a note added to the top saying you are “following up on the email below.” Then you can end it by saying you will follow up with a phone call. Go back and forth this way until you get a response. You could change the subject of the email to “Following Up.” This is really a polite and professional way to contact someone without being a stalker. For most people, this kind of persistence will make you seem very passionate and determined. I send letters and do follow-ups twice weekly. That means you can call or email on a Monday, and then again on a Wednesday or Thursday, and do the same the following week. If it really goes on for months you can sometimes take a week off—but not more— until you get a response.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 216 – New Markets for Artists / Real-Time Chatting/Messaging

Real-Time Chatting/Messaging

Recently, I was using Facebook and making use of the chatting or instant messaging option. In essence, that means privately chatting in real time on Facebook. I had been emailing a curator and I had even had a meeting with him. Although the meeting was good  and he wanted to work together, I could not get a reply from him when I sent a follow- up email. He had asked me to send him emails but was probably too busy to answer

them. I wanted to make sure I would be working with him as planned, and then one day I was on Facebook and I saw that he was online and available to chat.” So I sent him a message, something like, “Hello, I wanted to ask you . . .” Just like that, in response to an unfinished sentence, he wrote back right away: “What can I do?” So through quick chatting in real time, we sealed the dates for an exhibit. Facebook chatting can be very useful this way.

Immediate  Answers

Facebook chat is really a powerful little tool because it’s even more intimate than writing messages or emails. When you engage someone in a real-time conversation, it is like having them on the phone, because you can go back and forth very quickly. Once you have become friends with someone on Facebook, you can open the chat window to see if he or she or any of your friends are online at the moment. If they are online you can open up a chat with them by just saying hello or commenting on something that they have done recently. Can this be obnoxious? Yes, but so can email and anything else if you use it in an impolite or intrusive way. If your messages and chats are kind and sincere, you should be able to get kind, sincere responses from the people you are trying to reach. In the case I just mentioned, chatting helped me to seal a deal, which was very satisfying.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 215 – New Markets for Artists / A Word of Warning about Facebook Games

A Word of Warning about Facebook Games

As you may already know, there are games you can play on Facebook which tend to involve inviting your friends to play with you, from Scrabble, which I love, to games like Zombies, where you “bite” friends to turn them into zombies, to games where you make a farm or build a zoo. When friends invite you to play one of these games, it is tempting. I first learned about Facebook when a curator invited me to create a Facebook account, and the next thing I knew he was biting me and asking me to be part of the Zombies game. I couldn’t believe it—it seemed so childish—but I did it, on the basis that he was (and is) a very important person for me to know. I ended up getting addicted to the game and started biting all my friends. That is how these games are designed; they’re made to be addictive so that you’ll invite your friends to play them.

Game Problems

But here comes the problem. These games can be designed by any independent software developer who wants to make them. Most designers aspire to create a game that will be used by millions so that they can profit from it somehow. Other designers have darker ambitions, like getting into your friends’ accounts. Whenever you decide to accept an invitation to join a game, a dialogue box will open that tells you what information the game has access to, and that information will usually be a list of your friends. That means by clicking the “allow” button, you are giving it permission to use all that information. I strongly suggest you refrain from playing any of these games. It is because of them, in part, that Facebook accounts are now getting spammed, like those annoying posts you might see from people who are actually your friends, saying things like, “I got a free iPad, I can’t believe it! Click here to get yours.” When you click the link you are shown sites that mimic Apple’s real site and then they ask you for your zip code, email, and whatever other information they can get from you. There are tons of these types of scams, and their common goal is to get your email address so they can send you spam directly. Beware, and try not to participate in these games unless you are designing one!

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 214 – New Markets for Artists / List of Targets

List of Targets

The next step for you to take at this level is to begin making a list of people you want to meet. If you don’t know who you want to meet, you can begin by searching for art in your geographical area, or you could look at the Facebook page of a local museum and see who their friends are. Some of those people will be collectors you could meet with. The key to finding a market for your art lies in making relationships with people who can help you. You will meet some people who are interesting and some who are not, which means that you will have awkward meetings and enjoyable ones, too.

Take These Steps

Make a plan to contact four new people every week through Facebook. That means not just sending one note to a bunch of people, but rather sending an individual Facebook message to someone you have found who collects or curates art or owns a gallery. This should be someone who is near you or near a city or neighborhood you could easily get to. The reason you give for wanting to meet can be simple: You are trying to meet more people and want to talk about art, that’s all. Make a list of at least ten people, and after committing to writing a certain number of letters per week, make it your job to pursue and make new friends in the flesh through Facebook. If you do this, you will be taking advantage of one of the greatest benefits of the platform, though certainly not the only one.

Commenting and Communicating with Institutions

You should also look at galleries and museums you enjoy and “like” them on Facebook. That will make them show up in your news feed, and then you should occasionally comment on something or “like” one of their shows. This will put you on their radar, and they will have a tendency to click on your page and see who you are and return the favor. Put up images regularly on your Facebook page and tell your friends about your art, also ask questions. This will stimulate conversation and spread the word about your art.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 213 – New Markets for Artists / Real-Life Connection through Facebook

Now That You Are Using Facebook

Just like in the art world itself, on Facebook you need to make friends with interesting people who are involved in the arts and are a part of the community you belong to or want to belong to. The easiest way to find the right kind of friends is to look at art publications or even well-known personalities in the art world. The Facebook page of Jerry Saltz, a New York art critic, has the maximum or about five thousand friends on it, and among them are tons of New York City art world personalities, from collectors to curators, museum directors, writers, and artists. In fact, the Saltz page in particular is very popular, because he manages his page with a certain savvy, and it shows. He has a talent for posting questions and making statements that generate comments in return, sometimes hundreds of them. Those comments are the art world talking to itself. All of the commenters are involved in the world of art, especially the New York world of art. Reading their conversations will not only provide you with insights into that world, it will help you to familiarize yourself all its key players.

Real-Life Connection through Facebook

Facebook is incredible in its ability to make real-life connections and meetings with curators and collectors possible for you. As you build your network of friends on this platform, you can also send messages to them easily. In fact, you can send a message to almost anyone on Facebook without even being their friend. I discovered this as I was looking through the friends of a curator whose page I found by searching for the word “curator.” As I was looking at different people who were friends with the curator, I saw that some were art collectors. I looked at what the collectors were saying on their walls and commented on it or “liked” it. Then I would send them a direct message, even if I wasn’t their friend, by using the “send message” option.

Facebook  Messages

One of the nice things about sending messages within Facebook is that Facebook inboxes are largely free of junk mail, so people actually read their messages. Once, I decided to message a collector who lived in New York City, and I asked her if she would have lunch or coffee with me so that  I could introduce myself. Remarkably, she wrote back right away and gave me her assistant’s cell phone number. I made a time and met her, and it was the beginning of a lasting relationship. I messaged a museum director the same way, and I went out for coffee with him, just to get to know more about him and see if there was something we could do for each other. For all the criticism that social networking gets for being isolating and not “real” enough, I say that if you want it to, you can use it to set up meetings with people in the flesh who can help you and support you or just become real, lasting friends.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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