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 Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY, artnet, WorldNetDaily (WND) and Art Fag City. Sherwin graduated from Illinois College (Jacksonville, Illinois) in 2003 -- he studied art and psychology extensively. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 24,123+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Being active online is crucial if you desire to 'connect' with your target audience. You may want to think about participating on online forums / blogs that cater to the scene or interest that you regularly explore with your artwork. As mentioned in Part 1... this type of 'online focus' worked for Banksy during his early years. Furthermore, building 'social bridges', as mentioned in Part 2, is easy to do online.
Example of building a 'social bridge' online: The artist focused on painting fishing scenes will most likely gain a larger fan following by sharing images on online fishing forums, groups, and so on. In fact, this strategy is likely more valuable to the artist in this scenario than posting artwork on 100 online art networks. He or she should strive to gain a heightened reputation among fishing enthusiasts -- people who are apt to want those fishing paintings in their home or office. Being active on online fishing forums, blogs, and social networking groups is one way to do that.
Know your target audience: Your average fishing fanatic may not be the type to visit a gallery... he or she may not frequent online art networks for that matter. BUT he or she may LOVE to view those fishing themed paintings... and perhaps want one on his or her wall -- all because the artist reached out to that community directly by taking part on forums / groups dedicated to fishing. The artist in this scenario is establishing a 'social bridge' by participating on the same websites that his or her target audience frequents. Go where your audience is.
A few more thoughts: I thought of the late Thomas Kinkade while writing this series. Kinkade was not exactly known for receiving art coverage from the BIG art world sources. You won't find his paintings at prestigious art galleries in NYC or London. Furthermore, you won't find his artwork in the pages of ARTnews, Art in America, or any of the other mainstream art magazines... unless a 'jab' is involved. His audience simply was not there. Kinkade realized this early on.
Thomas Kinkade could have wasted his time -- as so many artists do -- trying to reach out to an unapproachable audience. Instead he sought his target audience elsewhere... and became one of the wealthiest artists the world has seen in the process. In a sense, Kinkade had to snub the circles of the art world that had snubbed him -- and reach out to his audience directly. He knew that his audience was more apt to pick up a rural lifestyle magazine, visit a Christian blog, or take part on an online forum focused on 'home style' crafts and home decorating. He embraced those directions (or at least his PR team did).
In closing, I'm not suggesting that it is easy to reach the financial OR popular status that Thomas Kinkade and Banksy obtained. Both of them are iconic figures in their own way... and both benefited from a number of factors that helped to propel their careers. However, I do think that artists interested in selling art can learn a thing or two from their art marketing playbook. Kinkade and Banksy (at least at first) both sought a target audience outside of the mainstream art world. They built 'social bridges' to reach their audience directly... and a lot of that 'bridge building' happened online.
Take care, Stay true,