You Gotta Get Your Stuff Out There

An artist I know has just begun to put some of her work on the web. There were two reasons for her hesitancy: (1) she makes some very complicated pieces and was, for a long time, concerned about having her ideas copied before she could get them fully developed.  (2) She was somewhat influenced by another artist who refuses share his work in any way on the internet due to fear of theft.

What finally convinced her to put work on the internet was the advice of a mutual acquaintance who said, “You just gotta get out there and shake your booty. You want people to know who you are, and the only way to do that is to show off a little, put your stuff out there and be ready to tell people why they need to take it home with them. ” Sound advice I think.

But there are some legitimate concerns associated with putting your work out there, the first and foremost being that people will steal it. There are many on the internet who know nothing of copyrights and others who simply do not care. If it’s out there, it’s free and available, so they take it.

The other side of the coin is that if you don’t put it out there, nobody knows that you have made it, and that means that nobody except those you show physically become at all familiar with your work. Now that may be fine with you. Many of us ultimately make art for ourselves, but most of us would be pleased to sell a piece once in a while. The odds of doing that are much better if you have a larger audience.

Sure people will pin your work and like your work and make desktop backgrounds of your work, all without your permission or supervision. But some of them may like your art enough to reach out to you and negotiate the purchase of an original piece. Again, the odds of that happening are far greater if more people are aware of your art. Several artists I know say that their goal is to sell art to people they don’t know—to make work that appeals to people who are not family or friends. That can’t happen if those strangers don’t know what you do, and as stimulating as showing your work physically might be, whether it’s in a group show, solo show, or gallery presentation, you cannot possibly reach as many people as you could with carefully placed postings to internet sites, including your own.

Now it becomes a question of how much of it you put out there, and how you represent yourself. Once we make that decision to put our stuff out there, we take responsibility for our internet presence: what we show, how we show, and where we show. There is certainly no requirement that we put everything we make on the web or provide unrestricted access to what we do publish electronically.

And, of course, there are those aspects we can’t control: who’s going to pin it, who’s going to like it, who’s going to link to it, who’s going to steal it. But there a significant number of aspects we can control, and there are many tools available to make this job easier.

What those of us who decide that we want to show and sell online have to do is balance our own comfort level with the necessity to publicize what we do. It’s not easy because there are opportunities—and scams—everywhere. Of course, there is still the bricks-and-mortar approach, but those opportunities are scarce and put our work in front of far fewer eyes. There is, however, no reason that we cannot use multiple venues and multiple strategies to offer our work. But regardless of the approaches we choose, we have to take the first step: we gotta get our stuff out there.

Date: Sunday, 4. August 2013 23:34
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Audience, Marketing

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