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!


  1. Hi Annie,

    I found your blog via your post about this on LinkedIn.

    For me, I think these two paintings are beautiful works. I love the colors you used and the sharp angles you convey for the mountains. Really spectacular pieces to me.

    One of the best pieces I advice I have received is to create work that you like, because if it becomes popular, that is a strong seller, it would be terrible to have to continually create artwork that you are not fond of. I don't think the creative process should become tedious because I think if it does it will show in the work.

    Please keep doing what speaks to you as I think it will definitely speak to others.

    Nice to find you.
    Kathleen Krucoff

  2. I have always done a number of craft shows where I have learned to listen to the comments--both positive and negative about my work. While I do not change my work to reflect their comments, I do absorb them and try to answer them in some way. For instance when everyone was stating that their seams were straighter than mine, I decided that I was not a straight seam type of person and made my seams even more curved.

    I love to see if people are getting what I am trying to convey--otherwise I work harder to convey the concept better.

    Love your work.

  3. Hi Annie - Like Kathleen I think these pieces are gorgeous. I love the palette and sharp angles.

    A gallery owner once told me, "Every painting eventually finds its rightful home". So keep creating what you love!

  4. Not so much influence for me on my work, I'm fairly set in my style and values. This is as much of a social outlet as a marketing tool for me.

    The only influence on my work, is that I feel I should be working more and networking less.

  5. You raise the ages-old question of whether the artist--writer, painter, whatever your medium--creates for him- or herself or for the world (i.e., to sell and make a mint).

    I don't think there's a correct answer. Personally, my work--book design--requires clients (patrons, in a sense), whether publishers of self-publishing authors. So I'm concerned that there be people in the forest to hear the sound of the tree falling.

    I understand those for whom it is enough simply to create what they love. But for those of us who require the adulation--okay, maybe not adulation, but certainly paying clients--social media represents the chance to leverage the ability to attrct an audience and garner interest for our work.

    There's no way to convey just how grateful I am for that opportunity.

  6. Very interesting discussion, and one that has different answers for everyone. Getting comments from others could unduly influence your work in a "negative" way as you mention, but if you are creating for the consumer, it is a barometer which can be helpful. There are compromises in every approach to art, but following your heart, no matter which direction you choose,is the way to become successful long-term.

  7. Great topic, Annie. I consider my fan page as another website or blog. I show very much the same information there. Some people prefer to follow an artist's work/activities via one platform over another. It's always wonderful to get feedback on our work, but if I'm not happy with a piece no amount of favorable comments will convince me otherwise. I always paint for myself. Kathleen expressed it very well in her comment.


    two awards for you,
    win by votes.