The world of Social Media and where I fit in as an artist
Painting I know. I’ve been doing it for years and that is where I’ve always felt I’m at my best, even when I’m frustrated and flailing around. The world of social media is new territory for me and new is a bit scary and intimidating. I started by doing lots of research, then jumping right in. Albeit I did jump into the shallow end of the pool. I wrote about some of my early experiences with the social media rabbit hole in this blog post half way through my first year of blogging. Many basic social media concepts, are still quite basic for me half a year later, but I’ve found that progressing at a snails pace and biting off what I’m comfortable with plus a little more every few months is helping me grow and it’s keeping me from giving up.
I don’t think social media is absolutely necessary for every artist but I’ve been very surprised at all of the benefits I’ve discovered so far.
One of the benefits of engaging in social media is that once you’ve made your plan public you are held accountable. Even though I often have my doubts whether anyone is paying any attention, I do take my commitments very seriously and try my best to meet them, even if all you readers out there aren’t really holding me to them. I found it interesting to look back and realize that the experimental and figurative paintings I worked on last year didn’t get much if any mention in my social media accounts. I was much more driven to finish paintings that I felt a publicly accountability for such as the Monthly Miniatures and my commissioned paintings and I didn’t give the rest of the paintings the same attention that I feel they deserved.
Another great social media benefit is forcing yourself to consistently write about your artwork. This is the dreaded part of being an artist that most of us despises. Why do we have to explain ourselves in words, when the whole point of what we’re doing is communicating an idea visually? By making this a consistent part of my weekly schedule, it’s helped me better understand what is important to me about my artwork and where I want future paintings to go. I think that this will ultimately help me make better paintings. I’m curious where the experimental paintings mentioned above may have taken me if I had worked out the ideas more fully in all of my different social media outlets.
What else have I’ve learned? I learned that you like to see paintings evolve and not just the finished piece. I always think of the middle stages of my painting as the awkward part and never shared that part of the process until this past year.
My biggest challenge: consistent posting. I’m currently posting on Facebook, Instagram, this blog and sending out a monthly newsletter. Though regular posting is great for so many reasons (keeps things fresh for you, it’s easier for me to write when I make it a steady habbit, and it’s supposed to keep the SEO chugging along), it’s really hard to make the time. On average, I’ve been splitting my schedule pretty equally between studio time and business time but new habits are difficult.
Engaging in social media helps me get closer to achieving both of my artistic goals: to make good paintings, and make a living doing what I love. This leads me to the upcoming post “The Business of Art, 2015 Retrospective Part 3 of 3: Selling Artwork”. I hope you’ll check back soon and and learn how social media is helping me find homes for my paintings in ways I never would have expected.