As a society, we are well aware that the internet is where the majority of business, communication and advertising now takes place. From workplace groups, to sponsored Instagram posts, to building a company profile on Squarespace, the online world is now blended almost seamlessly with so-called ‘real life’.
The internet now provides us with everything we could possibly need. Online marketplaces like Amazon sell everything from art supplies to daily groceries, whereas entertainment platforms like Poker Stars bring traditional gaming content straight into your living room. Facebook connects almost 3 billion actives users to one another, facilitating conversations around the world.
So, what does this mean for artists? Well, as examined on this very website, it provides them with a place to connect, discover, learn, promote, sell and create. Profiting monetarily from your own artwork is now more accessible than it ever has been before and, even if you’re not interesting in making money, there is a whole universe of inspiration at your very fingertips.
In this post, we’ve collated the very best online resources available for amateur artists, whether you want to connect with like-minded souls, are seeking fresh ideas, or are selling your finished pieces.
A great starting point is social networks. Popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit have millions of active users, discussing everything from local restaurants to fitness regimes to their opinions on the latest blockbuster movies. If you can tap into your niche amongst these never-ending streams of information then you’ll benefit from stimulating conversations, alternative perspectives and a supportive community. Many artists use social media to promote their own brand, connect with similar creators and build a loyal audience. This is vitally important if you want to sell your work, but it can also be useful when building a portfolio. 100 000 hard-won Instagram followers proves that there is an interest in your output, which may swing you that funding or exhibition space you’ve been chasing. Social media often gets a bad rap these days, but don’t write it off completely as it can be incredibly beneficial when used properly.
Online Galleries and Museums
As technology has continued to develop and improve, many world-class art galleries and museums have been able to upload high quality still images and videos of the pieces in their collections. This means that, even if you’re on the other side of the world, you can still experience seminal works of art from Degas, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and Yayoi Kusama. This deep well of inspiration is now more easily accessible than it ever has been before at any point in history. It’s a great opportunity to both research the history of art and stay abreast of new developments. Some favourites include the Vatican Museums, the Getty Museum in LA, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the National Gallery, London. These institutions host some of the greatest art collections on the planet and are well worth a visit, either virtually or in person where possible.
Many artists find themselves in the position, these days, of having to be their own agent, marketing department, production team and secretary. Navigating the art world can be scary for anyone, but especially when the internet is allowing it to progress at such an astronomical pace. It’s a good idea to build a linktree or online portfolio page so that you have somewhere to refer interested parties to, whether that’s a newfound friend, a sympathetic colleague or a potential buyer. Website building platforms like Squarespace or portfolio hosting sites such as Portfolio Box are essential tools in your artist’s arsenal when it comes to marketing and self-promotion. You can also use services like Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule and organise social media posts, so that you have an interesting and consistent flow across all platforms. Although you may not be an artist solely in order to satisfy your online audience, using these tools will free up more of your time for creating new work.
Sales and Selling Profiles
Once you’ve sorted out your online social media presence, bookmarked enough sources of inspiration, and built a marketing plan, it’s time to start selling. Of course, this is an optional step, but it’s deceptively easy to accomplish and can lead to all sorts of interesting occurrences. Websites like Society6 and Redbubble coordinate a third party to transfer your unique designs onto products like wall hangings, framed prints, mugs and t-shirts which can then be bought by customers online. Alternatively, websites like Artfinder and Saatchi Art facilitate art sales at a higher price point, dealing mostly in original pieces rather than copies or prints. Artsy offers more than just a marketplace, connecting collectors, artists and auctioneers so that enduring and mutually beneficial relationships can be forged and enjoyed far into the future.