The most beautiful images in the world are not on Google. They are on Pinterest. Artists need to be part of this phenomenon.
Where do most people go to look for images online? The answer is of course Google images. Lets narrow that down. What if you wanted to find paintings by watercolor masters? Would Google images still be the best place? There is a better service called Pinterest. There are good reasons for this too.
The fact is that Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site. If Pinterest was a supercar and it lined up on the grid with the other big media services (Facebook, You Tube, Google+, Twitter) it would be Pinterest that reaches 100km/h first by a long way. Pinterest is the Bugatti Veyron while the others are family sedans. Will Pinterest grow to be the biggest of them all? Give it some time. For artists and collectors Pinterest has much more to offer and here is why.
1) Pinterest is a curated search of top quality images. Images posted have been selected by real people because the image is beautiful or interesting and of high quality. Google image search is an algorithm at work - a big impersonal net. Pinterest images are repinned and liked according to the opinions of real people too. If an image is offensive it will likely be reported and removed quickly. Pinterest images are the images people want to see. Pinterest's co-founder, Ben Silbermann, did work for Google so he knows what he wants to improve.
2) Pinterest boards are beautifully turned out. If you want your images neatly organised, easy to view and relevant right before your eyes then there is no better place. No sifting through poor or irrelevant images, suspicious websites and commercial riddled pages. Pin boards are exciting to view because they are immediate, attractive and accessible.
3) Pinterest is a positive environment. Tired of cynical social media? Snarky posts from disgruntled trolls getting you down? Not on Pinterest. Pins are inspirational, helpful and great to look at. The members are fussy about great content and this sets Pinterest apart. Positive environments are good for artists to share their work with collectors.
4) Repins lead to more visits to artists websites. The beauty of Pinterest is that it is generous with links to the original website that the image appeared on. These links are carried forward with every repin. The potential for new visitors growing just from one image is huge. No other media has this potential at present.
5) Pinterest is open to non-members. Visitors can search and view member's profiles, view pins and click to the member's websites from those pins. No other social media site has this open approach. This makes Pinterest an amazing resource for search and inspirational art.
6) It is social. Yes the ability to share, like and comment is there for members too. The sharing is not just for images. Video, articles and services can also be marketed and found. The great part is that the focus is razor sharp. You get what you want and in excellent quality too.
7) Time suck? Sure you may spend too long on any website. The good thing is that you are not getting sucked into posting and responding to comments all the time. Banal comments are not part of the way the site works. If anything artists will be inspired to get off the site and start doing more art!
8) Art marketing is classy on Pinterest. Your work looks great and is appreciated for what it is. The good thing is that art sales are done on the artists own website and not on Pinterest. It is wise to have your shop on your own domain, but use Pinterest's marketing potential.
There are other reasons to use Pinterest, but these eight stood out for me. Pinterest easily integrates with other big social media platforms too. Most importantly art collectors and artists can meet, share and be inspired. Try it.
What to paint? Can an artist rely on inspiration alone when faced with a blank canvas? Facing creative challenges is part of the deal when choosing art for a career. The secret is not to overthink it.
I have been working on a series of paintings inspired by the approaching summer. Although I have always been too impatient to paint similar scenes in a series I find that I am enjoying this recent spate of summer inspired work. Very strange! No really it is for me and that is why I have been sitting at my desk today looking at these six or seven paintings wondering what has happened. Where did this creative burst come from?
For one thing I know that I am more conscious of time. Not to bring you down or anything but recently there have been people close to my family that have passed on. I have also lost my faithful ridgeback this week from old age. I miss having the old guy around the studio. Truth is painting is a therapy too so this probably explains the need to paint fast and loose without questioning the subject too much.
Looking at these paintings makes me realise another thing too. Although I love painting country scenes, light in trees and our veld - deep down I am a coastal boy at heart. There is something about the sea and sand that is simply within my understanding. I can sense the sand, salt and wind. I know that feeling when I paint these scenes. They are not contrived. It is real. I think there is much more to come on this subject before I turn to other painting topics.
Back to the subject of inspiration and time. Inspiration happens when I work. Sure I get ideas, but inspiration is what gets my hands dirty and things happen. That is when the idea taps into the infinite well of inspiration. Too much thought hinders inspiration. Get painting. The first painting may be a warm up. I scrape it down and start again. Never walk away from the failed painting. It is simply part of the warming up process for the main event. Then crack on and paint until exhausted!
Time is a damned liar! It fools the young into thinking there is plenty still to come. It taunts us when we get older and dares us to think we can cheat it. No there is only one moment and that is now. If we use this moment then we can call it even. So I cannot overthink my painting and dwell on what should be done. I know what needs to be done. I have to get on with it.
We all do.
Appreciating art takes time. Time is in short supply in the connected world. Can artist's still win collector's hearts online?
Internet marketers talk about engagement. It is the hottest word in the struggle for sales online. The competition to get us engaged is fierce in all areas. Business to social media use many tricks and strategies to make us feel close to the message so that we buy or endorse. Marketers know that they only have seconds to get our attention before we escape into the ether.
Have we all become conditioned to instant gratification? Maybe the "New York minute" has become the "internet second". Can art compete? Can artists and collectors engage in a meaningful way online? Why does it even matter? Well the issue is critical for artists and the art world in general.
Most artists today need the internet to market their work or simply to publish their ideas. Traditional galleries can only cater for a tiny percentage of artists. The old model is under pressure. There is a huge opportunity for artists and collectors in this brave new world, but there are still two big problems.
The first problem, as already mentioned, is whether there can be real engagement between artist and collector. Does the art speak to the collectors heart and soul when it is reduced to pixels over the internet? Given that a painting seen in person is usually more impressive than online how does the artist win over the collector? This remains a challenge.
The second part is the time it takes to consider art. Online decisions are made in seconds. Retail products are simple enough to buy. We know the brand, colour and price range so we can click on the buy now button with confidence. But not with art.
Art takes time to appreciate. Art is unique. Often collectors will view work they like and consider the art for days or weeks even before deciding to buy. Clearly something very different is going on here. This is not a typical online purchase situation.
The collector who buys online is a discerning person. Patient, deliberate and a romantic. There is no escaping it. Art is about romance. A seduction of sorts between the artist's abstract concept and final creation to the collector's emotional response. Here lies the difference between online shopping and art appreciation. The art collector is a romantic seeking something more. An experience shared, a chance meeting and an understanding. It is an experience that holds mystery and some risk too.
The internet does give the artist and collector the opportunity to share something beyond the typical banality of commercialism. It is in the romance that our doubts fall away.
Is there still time for romance? I believe there is.
What do you think?
What will trip up any artist no matter how good the art work is? Avoiding this one trap will make your art life much easier.
There are many obstacles and challenges that every business person has to face. An artist also has to run a business in which the artist has to cover all bases. Not only must she be business savvy. but also produce work of sufficient quality and supply to make a living. However this is not a retail business where stock can be purchased and sold. This points to the problem that we all have to face.
The biggest stumbling block is where you, the artist, measure your self-worth against the quality of your art. This is not the same as trying to produce good art. If your self-worth is attached to the perceived quality of your art then you will be riding a roller coaster of emotions.
The result is never good. Think about extreme mood swings, stress, despair and creative blocks to mention only a few consequences. What about the good moments? They are never enough since you will always have your eye on the next punch to the ego. You are no longer in charge of your feelings nor your art career.
To escape this cycle of highs and lows you will have to be aware at all times. Awareness is a process of recognising vulnerable moments. This may be when you show off a new work for the first time. Approaching a gallery or online sharing. Will the community out there appreciate your work or will it remain anonymous? Do you rely on sales or merely responses to social media as a yardstick? Whatever form of attachment you have to the outcome will only bring uncertainty.
A healthier approach is to revel in the creative process. Quality is subjective at best. The fact is that with regular output of work and a positive approach to learning and creating, the quality of your work will follow a natural upward trend. This is inevitable. This alone should inspire any artist to give regular attention to creating.
It helps to include your business development as part of the creative process. After all every e-mail, blog post or social share is a creative act. You are making something that was not there before so use your creative soul to be authentic. With care and attention you will have a growing art business over time.
Yes not every day is a fantastic day. So what? It is the consistent focus on growing your art and business over time that results in success. The only failure comes when you do not try.
As for your art. Well that is your forte, but the response from potential collectors is beyond your control. Release yourself from attachment to other people's reactions. Trap avoided!