Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Art Advice: Stop Complaining and Focus on your Online Presence!

Q. I read about an artist who sells work daily online. It was frustrating because I'm lucky to sell once per month and my paintings are better than his. Am I doing something wrong?

A. What works for one person may not work for you. It is also tough for me to give you ideas when I don't know your strategy. Being successful in marketing your art online can be like entering an iron man competition-- you will be tired at the end of the day and you will most likely have a few bruises... both physical and mental.

The strain of trying to discover the online marketing plan that works for you can prove to be very taxing. The key is to not set your expectations too high. Just because you have not sold many pieces online so far does not mean that you will not be successful later down the road. You also want to make sure that you don't distract yourself by wishing you were at the same place as another artist-- you can end up wishing all of your time away.

While it is important to have ambition it is also important to be realistic-- leave your ego at the door. Just because you have read about an artist who sells thousands of dollars worth of art online each day does not mean that you will have those same returns starting out nor does it mean that the artist is being truthful in the first place. Also, remember that just because you think that your art is just as good as the work by this individual-- or better --does not mean that success will come easy for you.

Don't waste your time complaining-- you will find little sympathy. You need to remember that most of the successful artists who sell online had a collector base offline to begin with. Other successful artists online have had to work long hours both online and offline in order to reap the fruits of their online marketing effort (that is where the bruises come in... if you were wondering). One could say that a great deal of luck is involved either way.

The best advice I can give you is to be relentless in your online marketing efforts. Join social networking sites. Create accounts on art sites like http://www.myartspace.com/. Post videos of your art on http://www.youtube.com/. Place links to your personal website-- or the main site that you use to sell your art-- on the profile of every website that you have joined. Communicate on those sites and include links to your art. Maintain a blog about your art and comment on other art blogs. If you want to market your art successfully online you need to establish an online presence. You can't expect a website and one post to do all of the work for you nor can you establish an online presence if you are rarely online... so spend some time each day and post, post, post. If it is important you will find time.

Starting a blog about your art-- and art in general-- can be a very interesting venture. For example, if you honestly feel that the artist you mentioned does not deserve the credit and collector base that he has obtained... why not review his work on your blog? Don't be nasty about it or do some sort of 'his art, my art' comparison-- just critique his work and see what kind of reaction you get. You never know, the artist in question might end up returning the favor which may result in his blog readers-- and collectors -- visiting your blog... at which point they can make the decision about who creates 'better' art. Shifty? Perhaps. However, throughout history artists have reviewed their peers. Trust me, you won't be breaking any rules of etiquette. Isn't that a better idea than simply complaining?

If you establish an online presence other avenues may open as far as selling your art is concerned. I know a few people who have been invited to exhibit their work after someone observed their work on a forum. It can happen. The hard truth is that you won't get anywhere if you spend your time complaining about what others have accomplished. That goes for online art marketing as well as offline art marketing.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

4 comments:

Arabella said...

yep, pretty much.

Goose said...

I get tired of reading complaints in art forums about who is selling and who is not. It can get bad when people say that you have sold out just because you have had some luck selling online. I know at least a dozen people who have made a career out of complaining instead of working hard. I don't know if you go to the myspace art forum or not but there is a woman there who has complained about how unfair things are for her for over three years. People like her complain but when you ask them to post images of their art they post the same stuff they posted years ago. People can slack with their day job and they can slack in the studio also.

Jérôme Gras said...

For better days: make like me! renounce success and money definitively!

Believe in failure©

mio said...

"Qui vend plus d'une toile par mois est forcément un mauvais peintre!" Joke or not?
Là n'est pas la question.Je pense qu'un artiste,quel qu'il soit,est avant tout un HOMME LIBRE et doit le rester.Son immense privilége est de pouvoir s'exprimer sans contrainte donc sans rien attendre en retour.
Tout le reste n'est que futilités et n'a aucun sens.
I paint as I breathe,just by nature's needs.