This post is by Dina Brodsky, guest writer for FineArtViews. Dina is a contemporary realist miniaturist, painter, curator and Instagram art marketing expert with over 400K followers. "Instagram revolutionized my career as an artist! Now I'm happy to share my Insights For Artists course with you to empower your success as an artist!"
Several years ago, when I was struggling to make a living as an artist, I first heard of Instagram through one of my many part-time jobs - teaching painting to early teenagers. I watched the app transform/ emerge from a place for kids to store selfies into the most powerful platform in the art world. Along the way, I discovered how the Instagram algorithm works, and how to use it to get my work seen by an absolutely massive audience, including writers, collectors and gallerists. Eventually I realized that this platform has completely transformed not only my art career, by giving me more control over every aspect of it than I’ve ever had, but my entire life, by making it possible for me to make a living by making art, rather than making ends meet via juggling disparate part-time jobs. Eventually I started teaching other artists how to break down the algorithm and take control of their career. Here are 5 things that will happen if you take full advantage of Instagram:
1. You’ll Stop Having to Rely on Galleries
Galleries have always held most of the power in the art world, and individual artists have held very little. That’s because galleries were the gatekeepers - for a long time, having your work hung on a gallery wall was the only way that artists had of getting their work seen. Galleries also had access to art critics who would write about your work, collectors who would buy it, or, occasionally, museums, who would add it to their collection. Instagram gives you the ability to get your work seen by more people than would ever see it in a gallery space. A lot of the people who see your work on Instagram will be students, or other artists, but some will want to buy your work, write about it, commission you, or, if you are teaching - take your classes and learn from you. Finally - remember that gallery directors are on Instagram as well, looking for new artists to exhibit and represent. Most of them will look at an artists’ IG account before looking at their website, CV, or any other type of portfolio - if you do choose to work with a gallery, you will have the ability to pick one that works best for you, and your relationship with them will be on a more equal footing.
2. You’ll Have More Time to Make Art
After I finished graduate school, I found myself struggling to make a living as an artist. I applied to some grants and university teaching positions, but was rejected from all of them. I found myself working a series of part time jobs, which included teaching, jewelry making and working as a studio assistant - all of this left me with very little time to actually make art. By harnessing the power of Instagram to find an audience for my work, I ended up being able to support myself by painting and teaching workshops ( which fill up via Instagram). I believe that I’m not alone in having spent years juggling my desire to paint with the need to pay the bills. Instagram makes it possible to pay the bills by painting, therefore allowing you to spend more time in your studio making art.
3. You Will Find Opportunities, and Opportunities Will Find You
Instagram is a universe in which anything can happen. Curators, gallerists, podcasters - a lot of people are using it to discover artists for their next exhibition or interview. It’s like a virtual business card that you can exchange with a fellow artist, or give to your favorite art critic. By putting your work into this universe you are opening the door to an infinite number of potential opportunities. And, of course, you can look for opportunities as well - there are galleries and brands that will find your work if you use the hashtags they are using for their open calls and campaigns, and you might end up with free art supplies from some of your favorite companies.
4. You’ll Discover More Art Than You Can Imagine, and Connect With Artists You Admire
There’s a reason the entire art world is on Instagram - it really is an easy, intuitive way both to share you art, and to discover art and artists you like. It’s incredible to think that behind every “like”, comment, or share on Instagram is a real human being, with a life as complex and interesting as your own. So explore, and reach out to artists you like - in the worst case scenario, they’re busy, and will ignore your message, but in the best case - you will form a connection, inspire and be inspired back, and may even meet in person eventually. Instagram gives the opportunity to show, share and sell your art, all of which are incredibly important, but don’t forget that the chance to find new art, meet like-minded artists and form relationships with them might be one of the most magical qualities about the platform.
5. You’ll spend less time thinking about Instagram (or: You’ll Spend Less Time on Instagram)
Instagram is an absolutely amazing business tool, but it’s also an app designed to be addictive, with an algorithm the company is extremely vague about, and therefore has the ability to cause a lot of anxiety. The best way to think about Instagram is as a virtual studio assistant, that can attend openings, network with other artists and take care of your branding and marketing while you get to stay in your studio making art. That being said - this only works if you understand what makes the algorithm tick - how you present your work will determine which proportion of the people following you already will see your posts, and how many people will discover it through the explore page or hashtags. All this takes a bit of effort to figure out - once you understand it though, and find something that works for the kind of art you make, you can just let the platform work for you while you make art. You will no longer have to think about Instagram, wonder why someone else’s posts are more visible than yours, or whether or not you have to follow back people who start following you (you don’t). Once you understand your tool, you can stop thinking about it, and get back to making art!
"If you'd like to learn more about Dina's courses, please visit https://www.insightsforartists.com/ifa "
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