Yesterday I gave a lecture at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, CA in conjunction with the current exhibit “Beyond the Comfort Zone: New Directions in Quilting” for which I also served as a juror. My talk was on increasing the odds for having one’s work juried into an art exhibit of any kind. I gave this same lecture 6 times last year at a national conference and twice regionally since. Each time I give it I come away with a bit more knowledge than I had going in.
Yesterday there seemed to be more interest though in how I market my work than in the subject at hand. Would I suggest a website or a blog first? Should an artist do Linked In or Facebook? Which is better Word Press or Blogger? How do you find art consultants and so it went. On the beautiful ride home I really came to realize how little ‘success’ I have gleaned from all this highly recommended social media. Most of my connections on Linked In are other textile artists. You scratch my back if I scratch yours?
I went kicking and screaming onto Facebook two years ago this summer. Soon I was re-connecting with old friends and roommates, and friends of old friends and old roommates, long lost relatives and those not so lost, textile friends a go go, former neighbors and current neighbors, old people, young people, friends of my daughter but not my daughter, and daughters of my friends, old boyfriends of mine and old boyfriends of my daughter’s, dog lovers and cat haters, cat lovers and dog haters, right wingers, left wingers, Bible belters and atheists and people who love my work in Yugoslavia and beyond.
Quickly it took over more of my days than I would have imagined and real-time friends were heard to comment about how frequently I was posting on FB which was humiliating to one who joined so reluctantly. Upon reflection I saw that yes indeed FB had become the surrogate connection as I isolated more and more as a working studio artist. Upon realization of that I felt sadness that my social interactions had been reduced to a virtual world often with ‘friends’ who I have never even met!
I am in process of pulling back. As in step away and no one gets hurt! The artist who convinced me to join FB to market my work during the Open Studios process in 2010 is seldom on FB. She posts mostly when she has something to share about her art. And I imagine she has a rich social life in real time.
Really Facebook is like life: everything in moderation. I am not making any grand gestures as to how I am going to eliminate it from my life entirely. I have already had enough of grand gestures in giving up creature comforts as I age. Life is to be lived and enjoyed and participated in so my new goal is to participate more in real time and less in virtual time. I’ll keep you posted!
connie rose says
Glad your talk went well yesterday. I’m quite sure, as well, that social media hasn’t helped me sell my art although it’s been wonderful for connecting, as you know.
I’ve pulled so much away from marketing myself/my art (which was why I got into social media in the first place) for so many reasons…the most meaningful of which is that by trying to market my art, I’m categorizing and defining myself as a particular kind of artist, one that only works in a particular medium. When in reality my art keeps morphing into the next thing/medium I’m drawn to. If I try to market myself, then I have to build an identity as such, and I see now that that has held me back, tied to the past if you will. Not allowing me to grow as an artist.
Anyhow, I realize these comments are a little off your topic. But to get back to the matter at hand, now that I’m not trying to use FB to market my art, I’m enjoying it much more as just a medium of communication.
Sorry we didn’t connect yesterday — it was a money thing for me, in case you were wondering!