Since I was a teenager, my obsession with the web has fueled my passions. And it was amazing to be able to watch it’s evolution over the late nineties and into today.
Communities evolved from forums, yahoo groups and web chat to social networks and now, Twitter. Internet’s advancement from text and java based worlds to the multimedia interface it is today is evolving so fast that we are finding it harder to keep up.
Benchmarks are harder to reach.
Our approach to marketing through the web also, constantly adapts.
And it’s no longer a subculture or minor few who use it. The web is becoming integrated with everything we use today: fridgerators, video game consoles, cell phones, alarm clocks, weather thermometers, etc. WiFi is now located in every major McDonald’s, free of charge. Even major cities are beginning to offer city-wide WiFi (though that still needs some improvements…). It’s an unavoidable force and a powerful tool for visual artists.
I’ve observed companies move from corporate powered to consumer driven. No longer are we force-fed products or ideas by companies or politics. We have the option to follow traditional media or people-driven information. Social media has provided a more democratic world. Obviously, not without it’s flaws, but a more open and free arena of communication and progress. We are seeing the audience itself determining what is worth our attention and money. And depending on how we as artists and creators utilize that power, it could make or break a us.
Artists are no longer confined to the institutional restriction of years before us. We’re no longer restricted by old-fashioned advertising, gallery owners or local demographics.
Our gallery is now the WORLD.
We can invest time, create, market and network on our own terms at our own costs. We can almost completely promote and fund our projects without the need of patrons, art grants or investment capital. If we’re savvy enough.
If we’re CREATIVE enough.
And at a time where the economy has taken a blow on society, jobs are at an all-time low and degrees are looking currently useless, we have the power to take advantage of this new world to make things work FOR us.
With ambition, creativity and sound planning, we can self-educate and position ourselves how we dream through the accessible technology and information available on the world wide web. It’s only a matter of will and intellect.
How much are you willing to work for this?
How much are you capable of making happen?
At the rate of which the newer generations and ourselves are integrating with technology, so should our business. And with this power, we can and are advancing, causing the gap between the corporate power and the little guy to vanish.
The youth are using the online tools, social networks and free information available to them to make things happen. And some are finding huge success. Talented or not. Intelligent or not. They’ve got the will. They’ve got the fight. They have the time.
We must evolve and adapt along with the web, if we want to see success. If we want business online.
My 7 tips for Artists Who Want Success on The Web:
1. Develop a socially integrated website. Your website is your territorial mark, identity and authority on the web, and should connect to your entire web presence: social networks, shops, other websites, blogs, official profiles, etc. It marks what is yours and what is legit. Syndicate your social networks into your website.
2. Keep updated and in the know about web technology and digital marketing. Because things are moving so fast, you don’t want to miss out on good opportunities and tools that would otherwise improve you and your business. Blogs, newsfeeds and web magazines involving this subject matter are good to read up on regularly. Subscribe, bookmark, add them to your Facebook feeds, etc.
3. Use social media networks to advance your art career. Twitter and Facebook are examples of networking sites where you can connect with your businesses’ demographic audience. Blogging is great for gaining awareness of your product/service and connecting with your customers and developing your brand. Youtube and Vimeo are great sites for sharing your video promos, video blogs, tutorials, or personal stories. And when it comes to creating product or promotional materials for your art/service/brand, there is Zazzle, etc.
4. Learn all that you can on html, web design, graphic design. Good design supports your business’s reputation. Either teach yourself the skills, take a class or have the money to invest in someone who can help build your brand’s style. Something that complements your art and your art brand.
5. Learn the art of podcasting and blogging. Writing and sharing are a huge part of your art career. You want others to understand your work or the story behind it. There are a variety of wonderful tools out there that can help you do that. BlogTalkRadio is still very popular and there are micropodcasting sites like Cinch with apps you can use on your phone to talk on the go. Blogging is easier than ever. Tumblr is a beautiful community of creatives and their design is simple enough for a child to use. Many sites like WordPress and Blogger still work just as well for blogging too.
6. Create multiple sources of income. For example, I am a painter (I sell my art), I offer advice to artists on the subject of business and art (e-books), I have collectables and clothes for fans, I license my work as fine art prints to the mass audience and corporations (royalties). These are not only great ways to make extra income, but to generate awareness about you and your art and brand.
7. Learn to be aware of the collector’s suggestions, interests, and issues with your artwork. Understanding your target audience and learning about what the buyers want will keep you in the know, yourself, and keep help your art business improve itself.