How should artists use the Internet to promote themselves?

I am an artist that has been drawing since I was four, dabbled in oils for a while then took a ten year break from art all together. I just recently picked it back up about a month ago and with my husband’s blessing I have decided to pursue an art career part-time. There’s a lot of information that I have been reading and researching on the Internet but it can be overwhelming sometimes!

Any advice for beginning artists like me? I have a goal to build up my portfolio to twenty art pieces by the end of this year, and I am currently enrolled in an art business and marketing webinar course online (it’s a 2 month course). I’m reading books, reading tips online, practicing my painting, I have a website and social media pages for my art. Am I missing something? You can be honest with me. I know most people do not think it is realistic to pursue a career as an artist, even part-time.

7 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    If you need to make money with your art then you need to think about your art as a product that addresses a market need. A great example of this is Dreamweaver rugs. They make totally cool rugs that you could easily hang on a wall as art. But they turned their art into a company, and they are diversifying product to meet consumer demand.

    I teach people how to do this in my course: Launch Your Own Company. Here’s the link:

    If you want to do fine art, then you should use your web presence to become part of the online conversation about fine art, but you should not sell your own art. This is what most fine artists do– they sell online from gallery sites not from their own.

    A good example of an artist doing this is Molly Hatch. Her art is in major museums (google it – her plate collages are so amazing) and she is Anthropologie (the type of stuff they sell that is too nice to really use) and she is a major contributor to the online discussion about ceramics and contemporary design.

    Here’s a link to the course I teach about building an online presence to be part of a larger conversation:

    Good luck!


    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      Maybe I should email this instead, but I would love a course by you and Cassie on how to help your kids with things like marketing their products. I have two kids that are constantly creating things that aren’t just great to me, but to others. My issue is I have no idea how to take the next step to marketing what they create…hell..I don’t even know what the steps are.

      • Melissa
        Melissa says:

        It’s a lot easier and faster to learn about the market by selling other people’s products first. Curation is a really valuable skill, probably more valuable than the ability to create original work.

        Once you and your kids have some experience marketing other people’s work, it will be a lot easier to see where their own creations fit into the market.

        It’s not as romantic as being an artist or a designer, but if you have taste it is still a satisfying way to build a business.

  2. Emily
    Emily says:

    I love this advice! It makes so much sense that if you are a fine artist, rather than a product designer, that someone else should be the one to put a market value on your work. Someone who really knows the market (which is not necessarily your job).

    Another thing I’ve been thinking is if you don’t know which to do ask yourself: is my process simple and repeatable? If so, it’s a product. If not, it’s an art driven process and lends itself better to the second example here.

    You’ve saved me a lot of trouble today. I almost launched a newsletter that I’m sure id never send again – at least not with any regularity. I’m going to do some blog posts about my thoughts and ideas instead.

  3. jessica
    jessica says:

    I think initially it’s doing the work and figuring out what it means to you.
    Once you’ve began the process and finished a collection you’ll know if it’s for you or for them!

    My husband authors/illustrates/develops and distributes his own series. What makes his books sell are the storylines, which is from the artist POV.
    Luckily, he has enough business experience to take on the marketing/product side, but if he were to do it as a full time gig his value is in the creation process. He hasn’t spent a dollar to promote them, they just sell, which is a great thing for an artist and creator :)
    He gives some away for free and charges for others. Maybe there is a way to do fine-art in that mode.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      Wow, that is so neat. Does he self-publish? My daughter is working on multiple things and I have no clue how to help her with that stuff. One of the things she is working on is a book. I’m not good with any of the stuff your husband seems to excel at. ;)

    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      “He hasn’t spent a dollar to promote them, they just sell”. Your husband is really fortunate. So fortunate that this really isn’t practical advice.

      No one’s marketing plan should be based on “Field of Dreams”.

      Instead, I would start off by building a brand. It can be a personal brand or a separate persona that you make up to suit your goals. The point of the brand is to establish authority within a particular niche.

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