This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art. She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...." For ten years, Luann also wrote a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.
SHOW YOUR WORK: Introduction
Now is the time to up your online marketing!
As our paradigms shift, and “shelter in place” takes over, the time to master online marketing is here.
For those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to have a partner who takes care of the “busy work” of art-making, FASO is here to help.
I will bow to the experts on those strategies and techniques. One thing I do have is a partner who can help me through tech glitches. Beyond that, it’s up to me to do any social media stuff.
But if I didn’t, then it would feel pretty overwhelming to take this on. As I imagine you might, too.
So my advice for you today is:
Tiny, baby steps.
You didn’t learn to drive in a day, it took more than a week to master your craft, it takes a lifetime to learn how to be a good person in the world.
Take the same approach with your social media stuff.
Start with what you know. What platform are you already somewhat familiar with? Facebook? Email? Start there.
I have a separate page for my art biz, but have to admit I often cross-post to my personal page, too. After all, friends of friends of friends on a personal page, especially if made public so everyone can see our posts, can widen our network.
And pictures are the easiest thing to post! We are hard-wired to “see”, even over reading. A beautiful pic of your latest work will be an attention-getter.
But there are a jillion ways to work that pic, and tell your story. You aren’t limited to posting a picture of finished work. So my first tip today is:
Do it more often.
Like many people, I have “good intentions” for making online marketing a daily practice. But even when this all started, I let the ball drop.
Part of that was tying down what we needed to shelter in place.
Now I’m realizing that with so many “daily tasks” taken off my plate, there is no excuse not to share my work more regularly.
Do it better.
The best way to “do it better” is to do it more often. But I’ve also realized I need to get better at my picture quality. I’m experimenting more with light and composition. (My 3D work can be really hard to get right, and my latest jewelry line with gemstones means I had to update my lighting to catch their best color.)
I’ve even gone back to digital cameras, which have more tools than my 5-year-old smartphone and can create images with more megabytes.
Then go deeper.
People love to see our creative path. So instead of just the final project, how about sharing your process? Show the steps you use along the way: How you set up to start, from beginning sketches to final coat of paint. Even errors that get corrected will fascinate your audience.
We can go even further back, too! How about a photo of what inspired you? This can be an image of the original
view/object/landscape/person, along with the sketches that were inspired by it.
Further back? Where are you making it? In your studio? A rough sketch in the field? Your new studio at home, as you shelter in place?
How about even further?
Tell your story!
I remember the first time former FAV writer Lori Woodward gave me a peek into her landscape painting process. I had no idea it was “normal” to adapt a sketch or photo to improve the composition! (I thought landscape painters painted only what they could see.) A small insight, probably, for most painters, but a huge one for us non-painters. Suddenly, my respect for such people (already high!) went higher. I realized there were levels of production I hadn’t even imagined.
The same for another artist friend, Nicole Caulfield. I knew she uses digital photography to set up her still-life subjects. But in an online post, she also shared how she corrects for lens distortion in her finished sketches. I had no idea this was a “thing”, and it increased my already-profound respect for her work.
In fact, recently I wrote a blog post on my own website sharing my experience in a friend’s vineyard painting party in Learning to See.
People were delighted! And I’m sure there wasn’t a single point in that story that every painter doesn’t already know.
That’s the trick of story-telling: Stepping outside our accrued knowledge and expertise, and thinking about what looks magical to others. Too often, we think of “other artists” as our audience, and think and act accordingly. (And yes, often other artists are a great audience and collectors, because they know what’s amazing about how we do it.)
But to a bigger audience - ‘ordinary people’ - we are the folks who ran away to join the circus. Everyone has their unique interests and skill sets, but we tend to admire those we aren’t familiar with. (As in, “OMG, you know how to put my knee back together?!”) (Er, actually, I don’t want to see pictures of that.) Hence, the “magic factor” we take for granted in making our art.
In this series, I’ll continue to share ways to tell your story: How to get to the heart of you, what you do, and why you do it.
But for today, think of one thing you could post on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, any platform you are already familiar with.
What is one thing you can share with your current audience, and your potential audience, today?
If this article inspired you today, please pass it on to someone else who might like it, too. And if someone sent this to you today, and you liked it, you can see more advice on art marketing at Fine Art Views, more of my articles on FAV, and read/subscribe my blog at LuannUdell.wordpress.com.
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