Episode 230– New Markets for Artists / Daily Work

Daily Work

You should make it part of your daily social networking routine to look at the work of friends and other artists as well as any institutions that have Facebook pages and comment on what they post. You can spend as little as fifteen minutes a day on this, but it makes all the difference in the world. When other people—including those associated with major institutions— see that you like their post or comment, they will remember who you are and will be inclined to comment on what you are doing. This is essential because through it you are becoming part of a community, and you must contribute to that community if you expect others to appreciate your posts.

Programs like HootSuite can help you to do much more than just easily post a message across platforms and organize your social media accounts. They can also send out tweets and messages that you compose in advance, and they can send them out on a scheduled basis.

Is It Cool and Authentic?

Recently, a friend of mine was opening a small store and we were talking about advertising his business. I told him that it was essential that he have not only a Facebook page, but at least a Twitter account and foursquare account as well. When I elaborated, he said, “You’re making me feel old”—and he is in his early thirties.

This is something you may be feeling if you’re over thirty, because most of this is new to you, but let’s look at that statement for a minute. Why was I making him feel old? Because he wasn’t familiar with online promotion and he felt that it would take him a while to learn it, so he was resisting evolution and change. Of course that is very natural and it’s understandable. People have the same reaction to smartphones, but in spite of the learning curve, I see older people tapping away on their smartphones every day. If you want to become fluent in social media, you can. It’s really not that hard, but you have to have the will to do it. You also have to realize that you’re not alone, and there’s a lot of support out there for you in the form of books and videos.

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 100 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Social Networking

Social Networking

It used to be that everyone had to have a website to show their work in a digital format to the world, but now with platforms like Facebook, Flickr, and other sites, it is free and easy to put up images. And with Facebook, you can put up images as they are made and get comments right away. I think that a website, a fairly simple one, is necessary, but social networking will help drive traffic to your website. There is much more to Facebook in that you can actually meet people who can help you and who are real! For example, most of the people I friend on Facebook are involved in the arts. I look at other pages, in particular Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page, and comb through people who are interested in the arts: collectors, museum directors, artists, and more.

It is amazing how you can connect directly with people. If you search on Facebook for “art collectors” and then check “people” on the left, you will see amazing resources for meeting collectors. There are groups of collectors and all kinds of pages for them. This is a valuable resource. I have written directly to collectors introducing myself and asking them to lunch. I have met with museum directors this way as well, and I think it is one of the best networking tools for artists out there. The other photo-sharing sites are an easy way to upload a set of images and share them, but Facebook is good for actually meeting people and talking to them.

Friending on Facebook

There are many ways to promote and share your work on Facebook, but I will go over a few basic steps.

  1. Begin adding about five to ten friends a day at the most (or Facebook will stop you). Make these friends art-related, such as artists you admire or collectors, curators, gallery, and museum staff. When you add someone as a friend, send a personal note, even if it is the same one to everyone. Something simple like, “I would like to be your friend because I like the work you are doing with [the name of a museum or some- thing related to them], and I would like to keep in touch. Sincerely, [you].”

  2. As you build up friends, start writing to them all the time. Spend part of each day, maybe thirty minutes or so, sending notes or making comments on other people’s postings. Write thoughtful comments on images that people who you want to be friends with upload. If you have a Facebook page already, you know the value of this. If someone comments on a photo or comment of yours, you take an interest and often write back. The more sincere and interesting the comment is, the more response you will get.

  3. In your status updates, send out links to new work you are doing. Try to avoid talking about your pets, children, domestic minutiae, and other nonessentials. You want this to be productive time, so use it that way.

  4. Warning! Do not use the same password on your Facebook account as other accounts, like Gmail, because that makes you an easy target for hacking. That means someone else breaks into your Facebook account and sends commercial messages to all your friends. Beware.
  5. The last Facebook tip that I would suggest is to limit your time on it, for while it may be a helpful tool, in excess, it is a major time waster. As of this writing, in 2011, Facebook is the biggest platform, but there are many, many others, some of which are yet to emerge. I personally try to keep it to a minimum, so I don’t spend too much time in front of the computer, but keep your eye out for new forms of social networking that are sure to arise!

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 38 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Weaving Your Own Mystery

Weaving Your Own Mystery

This chapter will not just help with writing, but with understanding how to create a story about yourself that invites others to ask questions.

Writing, for most artists, is one of the more perplexing tasks they face. In this chapter I will discuss approaches to writing anything online. That would include getting media attention as well as critical attention for exploring ideas and issues that may be present in your work.

Writing is not a skill that comes easily to most artists, which is why you so often hear the phrase, “the painting speaks for itself.” However, thinking is something that artists must do. Thinking about the world of ideas, the world of colors and context, or poetry, politics, the environment, and more. These are all ideas that may already be present in your work or ones that you have thought of to some degree. If you can think about these things, then you can write about them, too. Perhaps not as well as you paint, sculpt, make photographs or installations, but nevertheless, you can write about issues that are important to you.

Social Media

Think of how a social media platform like Facebook contains so much writing by people who do not consider themselves writers. I find the most interesting posts on Facebook are about what someone is thinking or struggling with in their mind. It usually doesn’t relate to their work, but to thoughts and ideas we all have. The posts about loved ones dying and about how much they meant to someone is an example that resonates with most of us. But comments and fairly long status updates can include writing about art and how someone feels about a recent show, or a recent political event, or something much more personal—about struggles in the studio, or struggles with health and more. This kind of writing works on Facebook, meaning it gets comments and interactions with other Facebook users. The artists making all these posts mostly do not consider themselves writers, but are indeed writing about art and life in a way that relates to their work. Part of the reason artists seem to write well on Facebook is that they are not thinking that they are “writing,” but are rather communicating to others in a way that is not so self-conscious.

Looking and Writing

Being an artist is about looking at the world in a peculiar way, a curious way, and then reflecting some of that investigation in the work itself. It does not matter if you are an abstract or figurative painter, or a photographer or conceptual artist: the work an artist makes reflects the culture around them and how they perceive it. From the grotesque to the political to the poetic, visual artists offer new ways of looking at how we all perceive the world around us. The more every artist is aware of this process, which is often intuitive, the more there is to write about and explore.

If you are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media, there is often a question of what to write and how to meet people that you want to talk to on these platforms. For most artists, the questions is how to meet collectors, curators, and others who could help them in their career.

Writing for Online Audiences

The method I would suggest for writing on Facebook and most other online platforms is to be at least sincere in what you write (as opposed to sharing jokes and videos), because if you want to meet people and attract them to your art, then show off how thoughtful, kind, and sensitive you are. When I get a comment on one of my images on Instagram, for example, and it is more than “awesome shot,” this catches my attention. Perhaps it is something like, “this is my favorite, it’s beautiful,” or even something longer and less vague, like, “this reminds me of those ice cream trucks when I was little and the music they played.” That last one was not particularly descriptive, but it showed that the person writing had a particular memory and feeling associated with the image I posted. If someone wrote that on one of my images and “liked” a few others, I would notice. I would read their comment, and the next thing I would do is click on their name because I want to know who this sensitive person is. Is it an artist, a curator? I will find out by looking through their images, and in my case, I will begin to look at their images and might even comment to return the gesture. It is really that simple in the broadest sense, but is harder to do than it sounds.

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.

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