Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Artists

Lyn Bishop’s My Art Space profileHave you noticed the number of social networking sites specifically created for artists these days? It seems like there is a new one coming online daily. Could this be an indicator of the growing influence that the Internet offers in showcasing and, dare I say it, selling art.

These online communities are often free services (or pay to upgrade) where artists can showcase their work, chat with fellow artists online, build their network, host a blog, and create an online portfolio without having to build a stand alone website. It offers a venue for the artist to share their skills and receive feedback on their work from an international community.

As for me, you can find me on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, Twitter, ArtReview, MyArtSpace, as well on some smaller sites.

I’m interested in the role that social networking sites play in our daily life, both personally and professionally. I’m curious, with so many communities to choose from, how do you make the choice of where to hang your work in the virtual world? Do you choose one site and focus all your efforts there, or do you choose a handful and try to keep up with all of them?

At the end of the day, have these social networking sites been helpful for your art career? Have they helped you find collectors, curators, collaborators, venues or offered you other benefits? Have you developed new and meaningful friendships with other artists in the community? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s a partial list of some of what’s out there. Feel free to share others.

Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace

Art Review, MyArtSpace, Deviant Art, Renderosity, Artmajeur International, Artistportfolio, The Untapped Source, The Vision Grove, Absolute Arts, Dripbook, Found MyselfMy Art Info

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11 Responses to “Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Artists”

  1. Alyson B. Stanfield Says:

    Yikes! It’s overwhelming, Lyn. I’ll post a link to this on my blog tomorrow and hope you get some response. I, too, would be interested. Speaking for myself, people who don’t know me from ArtBizCoach.com will contact and find me on Facebook and Twitter. It’s kind of amazing.

  2. Alyson B. Stanfield Says:

    Okay, changed my mind. I’m going to post on Thursday as a Deep Thought. Hopefully we’ll get some responses from folks and gain insight.

  3. Karine Swenson Says:

    Hi Lyn! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etsy, myspace, and I have a blog. So far, my blog and etsy have done the most for me. But I am still new enough to Facebook that I wonder if it might have possibilities. I find it difficult to keep up with all of them! I will be interested to see what others have experienced!

  4. Ann-Marie Watkoskey Says:

    I would consider myself a young professional artist. I belong to both Myspace and Facebook. I joined them for the sole purpose of reconnecting with college friends (Facebook) and high school friends (Myspace). Along the way, others have been added who go beyond the already known friend/aquaintence parameters. I like to keep all my friends updated on the lastest pet portraits I’ve completed, and this can be easily done through these social networking sites.

    These social networks, in terms of trying to market your art have some pros and cons, especially when it pertains to the type of artwork that I do and the process that is involved with it. Although I prefer to have a consultation with a pet before I start my pet portrait, I still can work from photographs if my friends are not local. In most cases, my friends in Myspace and Facebook live nation/country wide. So that is a limitation and makes it difficult to truly benefit utilizing these social networks as an artists marketing tool. The positive is obviously, I still can work from photo, and my friends can foward my recent uploaded artwork onto their friends. The other downside, is the fact that they are your friends, and as friends, in the case of commission work, the tendency to go lighter with your pricing is greater. For me, these social networks give me the chance to share my artwork instantly with the expectation that I could be notified at anytime that someone will be interested in a pet portrait commission.

    Just recently I added two friends on Facebook for whom I did pet portraits a year ago for. This is very exciting, because now they can keep updated on what I’m doing, and they can pass my information onto their friends—my strangers.

    Where I live, with the exception to the young college students, most are out of the loop with the social networking going on. At the local level, for me to have the most success, I keep in touch with the old fashion methods, writing letters and sending cards to my past clients, and attending art shows – my greatest success with many of my retired folk clientelle.

    I have not gone crazy with extra artist’s websites. I personally do not think its worth it for artists who strictly do commissioned work

  5. Nicolette Tallmadage Says:

    I’m on Facebook, Twitter, IndiePublic, ArtReview, Plurk, etsy, Flickr, Myspace, LinkedIn, and have several blogs. Whew! it’s quite a lot to keep track of! I’ve been doing quite well with Twitter and blogging, but that’s probably because I’ve been focused on them the most. I’m planning on doing more with Facebook and etsy within the next few months and from what little I have done with them, I’m expecting the response to be pretty good. I’m finding it’s better to focus on a couple of things at a time, learn them really well, then incorporate others gradually. And to cut those channels that don’t give you a good response.

  6. Sandy Belk Says:

    I’m on facebook, myspace, twitter, and I blog. I haven’t gotten any work for these yet–but I do enjoy it. I’ve heard that other person get work from these sources–so I’ll keep at it. . . .

  7. TracyWall Says:

    Hi Lyn,
    Found you from Alyson’s blog….
    I’m a member of Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, and only joined those because someone asked me to. I’ve yet to “use” them and have little other than my blog address on them. I even wasn’t aware that there was “artist social networks” out there.

    Because I have a full-time business in addition to my art, I can’t seem to find the time to pursue any of these. As far as marketing benefits, they may not directly bring in patrons, but let’s face it: the larger the web, the more flies you catch. I can also understand that full-time artists lead lives with lots alone time and and touching base with other artists is comforting.

  8. Yamile Yemoonyah Says:

    I’m also an artist and I have my own blog (http://kabai33.com). I am also on Facebook, Myspace, RedBubble, LinkedIn, Twitter (new) and Stumble Upon.
    RedBubble is an artist site where I sell prints, posters, cards and shirts and I love the site. When I looked for a site to sell the most important thing to me was how easy it was to integrate into my blog, Facebook etc. RedBubble has a shop widget that can be put on any site or blog and there is a Facebook app. But most important is the community that is very active in promoting and enhancing RedBubble. I use Stumble Upon to promote other artists (who in turn sometimes promote me) and I use Facebook and MySpace to let people know what I’m up to and find more people interested in my art. I’m new to LinkedIn and Twitter and still have to explore that.
    But I’m absolutely sure that the art industry is going to change becausre of Web 2.0 sites just like the music industry has. Even Damien Hirst sells online :-) I also plan to start a new category on my blog: “web 2.0 for artists” because I believe there are a lot of talented artists out there that don’t even know about the possibilities the internet has to offer us.

  9. Caroline Roberts Says:

    I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and I have a blog and a stand-alone website.

    I use Facebook primarily to keep up with friends and family who are spread out, rather than to promote my art. At least for now – think the election proved that it has more possibilities.

    I use Twitter and my blog, From the Studio, to talk about art and painting with other artists. I was surprised when Twitter got me a spike in visitors to my blog, just because I mentioned it in a tweet. I’m finding the blogosphere great for connecting with other artists.

    I plan to join etsy at some point and make sales through that since my website is set up as a virtual gallery only.

    I use an email tagline (Thanks to Alyson Stanfield for the suggestion in her book) to advertise my website and blog with some success.

  10. Jill Says:

    Having a blog on Blogger or WordPress is a must. Facebook and Myspace can be good social networking site to use, but both have drawbacks. Myspace has major security issues and it often seems that you end up with more bot messages and comments than real people. Facebook has better security but that can hurt an artist as far as promoting. For example, if you post links to your art on Facebook art groups one after the other you will most likely get a warning or even have your account disabled by an admin because they see it as spam. Hmmmm an artist posting links to her work in an ART GROUP is spam? O well. Facebook is not really the best social networking option because they expect you to only add friends you know. So if you add people at random you will get warned even if you include a message stating that you are looking for people to network with. So no, Facebook and Myspace are not exactly the best options for artists who want to promote themselves online.

    The art social networks like Myartspace and Deviantart are far better. But you have to know what you want from the site in my opinion. Deviantart has a sorted history of copyright issues, complaints, and a lot of other negative nonsense. I recently read that Photobucket allows a partner company to sell prints of any image uploaded to Photobucket unless the user has that option turned off. The problem with that is that Deviantart has a partnership with Photobucket. So when you upload art to Deviantart it also goes to Photobucket which means the other partner company could be selling prints of your art right under you knose. A few people are already mentioning lawsuits again Deviantart and Photobucket over the issue. So it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

    Another problem with Deviantart for me is that most of the artists on the site are anime and manga artists. It is very hard to find fine art on the site because a lot of people label their art wrong. Deviantart is supposed to have a staff person who manages that with a volunteer team but they don’t seem to do much about it. So you end up with drawings of popular anime characters listed as fine art or classic or even sculpture. It is a mess.

    Another issue with Deviantart is their deceptive numbers. You can’t delete your account on Deviantart. So when they claim to have millions of users you must ask how many are still active. They actually state that they can’t allow accounts to be delete because it would mess up their code which is a bunk if you know anything about website design. They just want to have the appearance of big numbers for investors and press. For what it is worth they do give instructions on how to remove your content from your page but the account itself and your login name remains.

    I also like Artwanted. They have been around since the 1990s and recently had an upgrade to the site that makes it look very nice. Unfortunately if you visit their forums there is a lot of bickering so it is not the best place to meet and greet online. They also limit free users of the site. You can only upload five images per month with a cap of 50 per year. So unless you buy their Premium service you can only upload 50 images per year. I don’t know if you can sell with a free account or not because that part of the site turned me off. But they do allow everyone to have their own url.

    Another snag with Artwanted though is that they have had little press even though they have been around a decade and they are not doing good at all considering that other art sites have the same traffic rank as they do on Alexa and other traffic ranking sites. I guess they can be blamed on bad marketing. By all accounts Artwanted should have been as popular if not more popular than Deviantart.

    Myartspace is a good one. They cater more to artists like me who work in a fine art direction. They don’t feature anime and manga artists and what you see featured is the kind of art you would see in a New York gallery or at a contemporary art fair. Some might say that is elitist but since I enjoy the mainstream art world it works for me. Myartspace is the only site I know of with members who are represented at galleries like Mary Boone in New York. So people take it serious. There are draw backs though. Mainly the lack of a community forum at this time. The fact that free users can upload as many images as they want as well as video and audio makes up for it though. The comments other users leave me are normally detailed feedback compared to the ‘I love your art’ type comments I get elsewhere.

    There is also the New York Art Exchange (www.nyaxe.com) that the same people who made Myartspace just opened. From what I’ve read it is an ecommerce solution for Myartspace users but they did not want to conflict the social networking community by putting too much focus on selling art. That is kind of nice because Imagekind and Redbubble can be very annoying because you are reminded that the site is primarity a site for selling art no matter where you go on the site. Social networking and ecommerce are two different things and when I want to network I don’t want to be talked into selling something or buying something by flashy banners and scripts.

    I guess the thing to focus on is using all these sites as much as you can. Each site helps to promote you so it does not hurt to use all the free ones. But the best thing to do is to have a blogger on a popular blog service so that you can post contantly about your art and what you are working on and so you can direct people to the sites where you have art for sale.

    Niche social networking site that focus on art are better than Facebook and Myspace in my view because the buyers who join networks like Deviantart, Myartspace, or even Saatchi Online know what they want and know that they can find artists with ease.

  11. Deep Thought Thursday: What are you getting from Web 2.0? — Art Biz Blog Says:

    [...] Bishop wants to hear how artists are using social networking. I do, [...]

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