Thursday, 8 April 2010

Facebook fan pages - a useful marketing tool or the potential for too much influence on an artist's work?

In these 'anything goes' days of art, when marketing appears to be a vital key to success in an arts career as it is in every other walk of life, I have been wondering what effect the growing use of social media  is having on authenticity, development of technique, sincerity, the pursuit of excellence, the artist's 'voice'? Does that sound rather pompous? Am I  being very un-cool in even raising this issue?

Like many other artists I am increasingly aware of the importance of self marketing in this vast, highly competitive field, so I am currently pursuing the social media labyrinth. And I have to confess that from my facebook fan page to discussions on Linkedin, I am avidly following the reactions of my 'fans' and the comments of fellow creatives.

Facebook provides a great platform for market research - you can see at a glance which piece of work is achieving a positive reaction and which is not. I have had a page for a couple of months now and I have really enjoyed interacting with my 'fans' and seeing how they are reacting to my work. However at the same time I am aware that it could be a dangerously seductive trap and that it would be very tempting to produce work based on the perceived popularity of each piece that I post.

For me painting for the market would take the joy out of creating and would stifle my work.  I confess I now have the luxury of being able to follow my path without worrying too much about whether my work is fashionable or not.  Like most artists I am convinced that the next piece I produce will be the 'masterpiece'!  This is what drives me to keep creating, experimenting, learning and riding the roller coaster of successes and failures.  Hence the two new pieces below.  Not the most popular on my facebook page, but they have been infinitely satisfying and challenging for me!