In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to escape social media. Every business needs it in some way to survive in the modern market. Most art curators, museums, and galleries, such as Charles Saatchi, have a social media presence.
The short answer is, social media can be a powerful tool, but it all depends on how you use it. Social media is making art sales easier and even allowing us to sidestep galleries.
But how do you use it to its fullest?
Go directly to buyers
Historically, being associated with a gallery provided artists with validation. These days, collectors don’t care about your proven track record. Hearing a name repeated at parties and art fairs serves as validation of your success.
Having a prominent social media presence contributes to your name being thrown into the mix. More often than not, most collectors buy what other people buy and what people buy is what’s happening right now. And what is social media, if not the present moment displayed on screen?
Buying art on social media completely cuts out the middleman. Collectors know artists are happy to sell their work privately, for half the price of a gallery.
Ultimately, Instagram serves as a tool for artists to boost their work to the people who can make a difference. This example from VICE, where bp laval and Genieve Figgis got their work recognised by Richard Prince, illustrates this point perfectly.
Easier to finance art
Using social media to promote and sell art actually comes with financial benefits for artists. When selling work through a gallery, they take 50% of the money from a sale, because of the historic association between a gallery and an artist’s validation. By using Instagram or Artwork Archive as your gallery, you can collect the full amount from your sales.
Building a following on social media can also make it easier to finance your upcoming projects. Having an eager audience at the ready means an artist can share a link to a Kickstarter page and instantly receive donations, from fans and strangers alike.
Social media gives fundraising a new meaning. It is much easier to spread the word about upcoming projects. Art Business News points out that once you have 10 thousand followers, you can use “swipe up” links on Instagram stories, to redirect your audience to an external link. It allows you to get the attention of your followers, sending them to your desired location.
The easy access issue
Although social media makes art more accessible to buyers, some artists are rightfully concerned about how accessible their work is to the public. It is so easy to take a screenshot of someone’s art and pass it around so many times, the artist’s name and ultimately, credit for the work gets lost.
Those who are concerned about losing credit for their work, could consider including a watermark with a text adding app, like Quick or a free design site like Canva.
Hopefully the above illustrates just how powerful a tool social media is in the modern art landscape. The worst thing an artist can do is cling tightly to the past. Embrace this new marketing tool and see just how it can change your career.