If you don’t make work, you have nothing of sustenance to grow your social media presence around. Selfies, photographs of your breakfast, your #ootd, and new nail color polish are not going to gain you the “fans” and followers you are seeking. You are actually more likely to repel them. Keep the majority of your personal posts to a personal page, open only to those that actually know you. As an artist, you have a responsibility to remain somewhat professional on your public profiles and pages. This means actually showing that you are an artist.
How do you show the public you’re an artist? Make art and then share that art. It’s actually that simple.
Don’t worry about making “good” work or only showing what you believe to be your best. If this is your concern, you’re simply making excuses to not put your all in and do the tasks that need to be done to help yourself become successful.
Followers, fans, collectors, and curators are out there seeking new talents to love, learn from, buy from, and exhibit. If you’re an artist, you have the power (literally, in your fingertips) to get on their radar. If your instagram/facebook/twitter/tumblr feeds are filled with mundane details about your life instead of the details of your art, you’re missing opportunities and chances to make things happen.
Think about it. Put yourself in a curator’s shoes. A curator/gallery shows your friend, likes their work, but it doesn’t quite fit the theme of their upcoming show. They search around figuring they must know someone just as great and find you. SCORE. They love the piece you posted up three weeks ago on instagram but… that’s all they can really find. Your feed is mostly filled with everything but your work. You look like a hobbyist that doesn’t take their career seriously. If I were curating a show, I wouldn’t want to take a chance on an artist like that. Curators and galleries invest time and money into their artists. Why would they do that for someone who looks like they rarely make work?
This applies to followers, fans and collectors too.
The best part about making work, and every day that you can, is that you learn from yourself as you go along. You’ll find yourself consistently improving and others can follow along in your progress.
Use social media to encourage your productivity. Set a goal to post a new piece of your work or part of the process once every three days. Force yourself to sit down and create something. Once you’ve spent a bit of time on it, show it off. Once you hit your goal for a few weeks, up that to two posts every three days.
Nothing is going to happen if you make excuses about why you’re not creating.
Seriously, stop reading this and go make something. Then, I dare you, to post it up.
Thank you to my good friend (and talented fellow artist) Brandi for reminding me of this perfection: http://zenpencils.com/comic/50-neil-gaiman-make-good-art/
Maria Teicher is the co-founder and art director at The Art Is Not Dead. She is a painter, photographer, and teaches artists how to use social media to strengthen their online presence in a professional manner.