This article is by Brian Sherwin, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
In general artists have long had a love/hate relationship with art related press. The exposure that can be offered by an influential art magazine writer or major newspaper art critic is desired-- however, most artists find that those traditional paths of exposure are simply out of reach. Needless to say, through the years I've met thousands of artists who are bitter over the lack of response they have received from traditional press. However, many of those artists have found their own spotlight in the form of art blogs-- specifically art bloggers who focus on exhibit reviews, artist interviews, and critiques-- some of which are just as notable as writers working in print. Thus, I'd like to take some time to discuss art blogs further-- and why I think artists should seek them.
Before I delve deeper into the subject I'd like to reflect on history. I can remember when I first started art blogging. In those early years the traditionalists of the art world, as well as print media, scoffed at the Internet. They felt that the Internet was not a viable addition to press as a whole-- many art writers were ridiculed for their online efforts. Content was King-- and many working in print thought that they had a stranglehold on information and influence. Today content is still King-- but things are very different. Traditional media continues to fade year after year while the art bloggers who spurred this addition to art criticism and art journalism have risen to become influential in their own right.
In recent years the lines of importance have continued to blur. In the recent past print was the only consideration for most artists. That is not the case today-- which is due to the fact that so many artists have learned that a high level of exposure can be gained online. Technically an artist may receive more exposure from pursuing art blogs online than by trudging through the traditional routes of print.
I realize that assumed quality is an issue for some artists-- they want the professional prestige that a review or interview in print by a notable art critic can grant. That said, there are a few things an artist should think about before dismissing art blogs, and other forms of new media for that matter, as a viable means of gaining exposure:
- Art blogs have (fast) international reach that continues to 'grow'. A review written by an art critic in a print art magazines or newspaper may look good on your resume-- however, there is a time gap to consider if exposure is your goal. The information provided in print is hampered by however long it takes for the magazine or paper to be offered to the public. On the other hand, a review written by an art critic who utilizes a blog has instant reach the moment the review is posted online.
A blog article will most likely reach thousands of readers representing several countries while traditional print is still in the early stages of publishing. The blog review, interview, or critique will continue to spread virally long after the pages of the traditional print review, interview, or critique have gathered dust.
- Art blogs have staying power compared to traditional print. As mentioned above-- a blog article will continue to spread virally long after the pages of traditional print have crumpled and gathered dust. This is a lesson that several major media sources have been slow to pick up on-- and are only now rushing to take advantage of. The Internet is not going away-- it will continue to be a stronghold of shared information, so to speak. Thus, the more information-- in the form of articles about you and your art-- that can be found about you online the better. Traditional print is contained to a page-- alternative print, if you will, has no borders.
- Art blogs are on the rise. Again, with each passing year the role and influence of traditional print media continues to fade. Art magazines and newspapers are starting to cut back on specific art writing positions in order to function-- and one could say, to survive. For this reason alone alternative forms of art writing beyond traditional print will continue to rise in popularity and influence.
I'll put it this way-- you may never have your artwork reviewed by art critic Roberta Smith in traditional print-- but you may attract the interest of power art bloggers, such as Paddy Johnson or Hrag Vartanian. Arguably a review by Johnson carries more weight-- at least online-- compared to a review by Smith. In my opinion, as long as an artist is receiving exposure online the assumed importance of the writer does not matter. Getting your name out there is all that matters.
The gatekeepers, if you will, of the art blogosphere are arguably less strict than those of traditional print-- but that may change in time. In other words, a wise artist will take advantage of the changing 'landscape' of art writing while it is still in the stages of discovery and professional acceptance. Content matters-- and artists should be actively seeking their fair share of online content while the 'getting is good', so to speak.
- Accept it. You may not attract the attention of major print art publications-- but that does not mean you should give up on being written about. Seek out art blogs, art-zines, and art newsletters-- such as www.informedcollector.com, that may be interested in featuring your artwork or the opinions you have about art in general. There are thousands of art blogs that have decent traffic-- traffic that you can benefit from if you attract the attention of an art blogger. Furthermore, influential art bloggers are often easier to contact than writers who have influence in traditional print.
Speaking from my experience of writing professionally for various art blogs I can tell you that artists from all walks of life and stages of career have found value in what bloggers, such as myself, can provide as far as exposure is concerned. I've interviewed artists who are virtually unknown and artists who have had their work sell for over a million dollars at auction. These artists may not share artistic direction or financial status, but they all share an acknowledgment of what online exposure, by means of art blogs, can accomplish. They all share a desire for the recognition that the Internet can provide. To put it bluntly-- don't limit yourself to traditional print.
Art writers who utilize a blog format are often actively seeking artists to write about-- especially if the artist has an interesting story or opinion to share. I imagine that the majority of artists desire to be covered by a major art magazine, but until that day comes-- if it comes --the art blogosphere, art newsletters, and art ezines are the next best thing. One could argue that they are the best choice for artists who focus on marketing and selling art online.
In closing, being written about on an art blog can bring a continuous flow of traffic to your artist website for years to come if you include links to your art within the context of what is posted. In other words, an article about your art on an art blog, art-zine, or online art newsletter will most likely be viewed by more people than an article about your art in a magazine. Recognition is just a few clicks away! The times have changed. Take advantage of this new breed of art writers and the form of publishing they embrace. Seek them out!
Take care, Stay true,