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.)
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I couldn’t have said it better myself. When I find myself getting too caught up the idea of blogging as a marketing tool for my art, it becomes a chore that makes me feel slightly dirty. When I blog for the sake of interacting with other artists, and all the other reasons you mentioned, it feels good and like I’m part of a community. Art is indeed a lonely pursuit, and it’s great to be able to connect with others once in a while.
Absolutely! There are certainly easier routes to becoming rich or famous.
For me it’s a form of social interaction. After hours spent alone in the studio—I need it! Otherwise I end up living completely in my head.
Well put Dan, but I’ve grown to expect a parallel point of view with you.
Well darn – guess I’ll keep the day job after all.
Thanks for the post! Interesting….
I agree totally. And I’m glad I met YOU.
Blogging is definitely a great way to get to know people we otherwise would probably never come across. We get the read the good and the bad. Perhaps it is too addictive. When things get a bit slow in my studio, instead of working it out, I’ll go read my favorite blogs. And find I’m happy when others are having a slow time, also. I sometimes find tips for overcoming those slow times.
art + blog = crazy delicious success
Oops – I didn’t mean to send that so fast! So, backing up – that’s what I initially thought about blogging in the beginning.
It has opened up communication lines with other like minded people, brought opportunities I otherwise knew existed and a few sales here and there.
art + blog = crazy delicious success
I think I might have to make a T-shirt for this…
Very well put Dan. I know my blog has helped bring traffic to my site, which has in turn helped my search rankings, and brought more business. It is a nice side effect to the primary purpose, to make my site more of a two-way experience instead of just one for the viewer.
It helps me to sort out some things I am thinking about by writing them down, and it is a nice bonus to have some interaction on those thoughts.
Make the t-shirts!