By now, all artists have heard the advice that to be successful, we need to have a blog. It’s now a classic bit of advice that get handed out to artists at every conference and workshop we attend. And while there’s a grain of truth to this advice, like so much advice given to artists, it often gets over simplified. We hear stories about artists whose blog got the attention of big name galleries. Or artist who sell so much from their painting-a-day blogs, that they can quit their day job. These anecdotes are often presented as evidence that art + blog = crazy delicious success. Sure, this stuff can happen. But its rare. And besides, it misses the point.
A blog is not about marketing (although it can act as marketing). And it’s not about making sales (although it might help you sell). It’s about communicating and interacting. Art-making is a very lonely and isolating act, and a blog helps you get you out of your head and your studio, even if only virtually, and connect with other real people. My blog connects me to the blogs of other like-minded artists around the world. We tell each other stories. We share new stuff we are working on. We vent about our problems, and share our successes. I call my blog “Open Studio” for a reason: like an open studio, my blog also gives me a place to talk about my art to anyone who wants to drop by. It gives me a place to me geek out on my art, and talk about theory, tools, ideas… whatever. And if that makes my blog a good place for potential customers to drop by, awesome. Heck, maybe I’ll even sell some photographs. But I’d do this even if no one dropped by for the cheese and crackers.
(For a good perspective on the whole blog=success formula, check out John Scalzi’s latest.)