Why Artists Are Afraid to Join Social Media

There are an alarming number of artists who are dragging their feet when it comes to joining in on the conversation through social media; does this sound like you? Perhaps you want the world to see your work, but you are struggling to understand how to use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook to your advantage. Maybe you have a fear of becoming a social media zombie, or you’re afraid to leave your comfort zone of simply blogging or having a website for people to view your work. Being able to interact with other artists and art lovers might seem intimidating, but it is detrimental to the growth of your personal brand. Social media isn’t going to disappear, so if you choose to be a laggard on adopting this medium you’re only going to slow yourself down. Here are three concerns most artists have about entering the social media stratosphere, and solutions on how to overcome such obstacles.

risk-plagiarism

Copyright infringement; manufacturers stealing original designs and mass producing them; fraudulent downloading and printing of original material

 

Solutions:

-Register for Pixsy. You can synch your original photos and Pixsy will scan the internet for replicas, even “checking under the couch.” This is especially helpful for photographers. This is currently in private beta mode, so pre-register now in anticipation of when the site goes live.

-It never hurts to conduct a Google search using keywords that would describe your items every now and again to monitor the results.

-Watermark your photos close to the center to avoid being cropped out, and upload smaller, more compressed files. Watermarks are annoying and ugly, but a necessity for photographers. Document work at an angle instead of straight on to make it harder to copy.

This painting is considered public domain today, but if Manet had internet in 1863 he might want to watermark his image

The original “Olympia” is considered public domain today, but if Manet had internet in 1863 he might have watermarked his image like so (This is actually a “master copy” I painted in art school)

 

Challenge- which Apps to use

Figuring out which social media platforms to use or bypass; updating on a regular basis; making timely and relevant updates

Solutions:

-Instagram and a Facebook page are a must for artists. Check out my previous blog post on how to rock Instagram here. Posting your work on Pinterest is great for weavers, ceramicists and craftspeople. Twitter is perfect if you’re involved in a lot of art shows and events. Plus, Yoko Ono is on Twitter and she’s really fun to follow.

-Set up a HootSuite account for your social media accounts. This allows you to schedule in advance, and saves the trouble of posting similar updates on different SM platforms. With the free version, you can link up to 3 accounts at once to HootSuite. You can also schedule reoccurring material if there is something important that should be shared more than once.

-You can also use ScheduGram or other apps that are designed to schedule specifically for Instagram instead of bombarding your viewers with a ton of photos at once. For instance, I made the decision to unfollow Ai Weiwei after my Instagram feed was taken over with his “leg as a gun” campaign for weeks on end–the frequent posts became too much. Your followers will become bored or annoyed, and may decide to unfollow or tune you out if you overdo it.

Challenge: fear of using Hashtags

How to use them; what’s appropriate; what not to hashtag

Solutions:

-Hint: There is no need to hashtag your own name. You are searchable by your name and username on Twitter and Instagram.

-Find and follow artists and peers whom you respect and admire before you post to see how others are talking about the same subject as you.

-If you can find specific hashtags that are popular or trending amongst your community, use them when it is appropriate. For instance, I used #pancakeart and #discgolf for this Instagram post:

This lead to the post going slightly viral by the time I woke up on Monday morning. Not only did I receive a shout out from master Pancake Artist Kevin Blankenship, but my disc golf pancake was also featured as the cover image in a “best of Instagram” blog on All Things Disc Golf. Instagram gets very exciting once people you don’t know start liking your posts and following you.

Conclusion: Unless your name is Lisa Yuskavage and you’re selling your work for millions of dollars in a New York gallery, you’ll want to get online so that people can discover you. Though there are risks and challenges, it is also a very fun and rewarding medium that you should get to know and embrace.

Want to keep learning more about harnessing the power of social media as an artist? Follow my blog! http://www.sarahrado.wordpress.com

3 Philly Artists Who Rock Instagram

There are many social media outlets through which artists can showcase their work, but it is mind boggling for many to pick and choose which to use and which to forego. For instance, I keep bugging my amazingly talented graphic designer sister, Julie Rado, to get on Instagram. “I don’t want to have another reason to have my nose buried in my phone!” she said. Point taken. No one wants to be “that guy” who is so engulfed in posting, pinning, poking and tweeting that we lose touch with reality. However, social media is a powerful tool for artists that can help develop and show off your own personal style, as well as keeping abreast of what others in your field are doing.

Philly is home to a great number of artists, and many of them use social media to get their work out there. There are a few Philly artist Instagrammers who not only use the program exceptionally well, but are also trendsetters and totally ahead of the game. Here are 3 of my favorite Philly art peeps to follow (all profile descriptions are directly from their pages):

@StreetsDept : Conrad Benner

Born and raised in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Photojournalist. Lover of street art, graffiti, and urban exploration. http://streetsdept.com

@Beeenies shows us what "real art" looks like… #Philly #streetsdept #vscocam

A post shared by Conrad Benner (@streetsdept) on

All you have to do is look at the number of followers that StreetsDept has on Instagram (a quaint 93 thousand) to realize one thing: This guy KNOWS street art. You’ll also notice that Benner makes it a point to interact with his followers who comment, which has to be a challenge given his number of followers; he is genuinely interested in what you have to say and you will be noticed. I’ve picked up a few other important cues from Mr. Benner that I feel help me stay current as an artist, Instagrammer, and lover of all things Philadelphia. First off, he uses VSCO Cam with his pictures. According to Ellis Hamberger, “Instagram set[s] out to make your mobile photos look good, VSCO hopes to make them look real.” It’s the photographer’s photo app, so if you’re a film enthusiast, check out the VSCOCam app.

Another really cool thing that sets StreetsDept above the pack is that he often takes over the feed of Visit Philly as a “guest Instagrammer” (see below). This is a fascinating and lucrative career for an artist—if you have thousands of followers, that is!

@adam_wallacavage : Adam Wallacavage 

Photographer, Chandelier maker, Militant Ornamentalist. For chandelier inquiries, contact JonathanLeVineGallery.com or awallacavage@gmail http://WWW.ADAMWALLACAVAGE.COM

It looks weird in here but sounds normal.

A post shared by Adam Wallacavage (@adam_wallacavage) on

Adam’s original inspiration for creating these Octopus chandeliers was from the octopus on Wednesday’s bed (Addams Family comic books). He is also a photographer, which explains the amazing photo editing skills documenting his work, unbelievable travel adventures/parties, and his love of the Philly skateboarding scene. Not to mention all of the super creepy and fascinating details of his house, which I really have to see in person someday. Adam has totally mastered the video capability of Instagram, which not many people can say. Notice the underuse of hashtags and tagging other people, which is refreshing- but when you already have 48 thousand followers, using these sparingly is A-OK. Scrolling through his comments you can see how many people are interested in buying one of his chandeliers–he wisely provides that information right in his profile description.

Adam is a great example of a Philly artist who has mastered the art of documenting his work on Instagram.

@getupart : Get Up Art 

Owner/curator of @getitgallery For shirts and other clothing visit http://www.getup.us Email/booking: getupart@gmail.com http://www.facebook.com/getupgetup

There are a ton of street artists in Philly, but not all of them capitalize on their catchy spray-painted or wheat-pasted art. Get Up Art does just that, and he does it in a creative way. He first takes a spin on Philadelphia icons (Ben Franklin with a boombox, the Phillie Phanatic spray painting a wall) and creates a really cool multi-layer stencil:

Thanks to @tmoms for letting me paint

A post shared by Get Up (@getupart) on

and makes them into stuff you can buy, which is even cooler- and posts it on Instagram, referring you back to his storefront where you can purchase it.

Soon

A post shared by Get Up (@getupart) on

Street art has a history of being controversial, as it can be considered illegal and under the same umbrella as graffiti, vandalism, and defacing property. That’s why it’s so interesting and ballsy to see it being sold, as sometimes the artists prefer to stay anonymous. Well-known street artists like Shepard Fairey do have merchandise for fans, although that is sometimes controversial too…but if that jawn wasn’t making people mad, it wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?