Public Learning Network

Gareth Hemmings PLN statement.

The project I wish to undertake is the Personal Learning Project. I would like to have my own business selling my art digitally and creating artwork for clients. Although there are many websites which post art digitally, I would like for my business to be a place where a community of artists can gather, be commissioned, and share their artwork.

This is important to me because I have heard stories of artists who never make it off the ground because they have not properly marketed themselves for a rapidly-evolving market. It is a very competitive field, and knowing how to start a business in the online age is a huge benefit in getting started. And in the future, I would like my business to help other artists who may stumble in getting themselves out to the online world.

I have divided the results of my research into three sections:

1. Art marketing, learning about the business model of an artist

2. Artist community, how/why to grow and foster a healthy one, and

3. People to follow.

Artistic Marketing : This presentation from the Academy of Art University discusses how to grow your art carrier. What I like about the presentation is the idea of having an artistic persona. More specifically, putting yourself out there in a way that the viewer knows who the artist is. That is something that I want to focus on in my business. More than just being a place for artist to sell their work, I want this business to be a springboard for an artist, so that they can go to bigger and better things. They won’t be able to do that if their art is known, but they as artist aren’t. : This interview with Ann Rea is a unique look at creating a business for artists. This is slightly personal because Ann Rea has been a huge artistic inspiration. In this interview, Ann Rea is answering questions from followers. Some of these questions are technical, like how do you price your art, but the reason that I put it on was more for the personal questions brought up, like how do you further your art career. This is straight out of the mouth of a professional artist, and is information that I will keep in mind. : Adrian Salamunovic is one of the most unique artist out there, creating pieces made of human DNA. In this presentation, he talks about six myths of marketing artwork, and six tips on how to market your artwork. These tips are meant for a single artist and their physical artwork, but most of what is said here can apply to the digital world, and he does go over websites and social media. This presentation has good advice for selling artwork, and the tips help get the wheels turning in the listeners head. : An outlier for the Huffington Post, this article created by Tom Ayling discusses how to get started on marketing yourself online as an artist. While the post talks about the “pen and pencil” artist, they focus more on the writing artist. However, the lessons being taught here can apply to any artist, and especially apply to what I am planning. While somewhat on the short side, it covers a lot of topics that are important for my business, such as “creating a community of brand ambassadors.” As artist, we need to grow in our craft, and I not only want my business to help artist grow financially, but artistically as well. : It’s nice to sometimes put things in perspective, which is exactly what this Forbes article created by Deborah Weinswig does. The article talks about how social media has effected the artist world. The article compares the total sales of online art vs offline. The article further states that social media platforms, mainly Instagram, is the cause for this shift. The article also says that online art prices are usually cheaper than physical art prices This would be the main reason why I would have this be a completely online business model : This BBC article by Alex Hudson is similar in effect to the Forbes article. It talks about how the online art business is growing, and the ever changing environment of art. The article focuses on London and the U.K, and the changes there are even more severe. The articles states that there is an estimated 20% market growth for online artist, and a quote from the article states that an online company can sell more in a month than a gallery can in a year. This article shows that around the world, the importance of the internet for artist has never been more prominent. This slide by Cory Huff shows how market your content into the world. It is accompanied by a webinar, which can be found at The webinar is more thorough, but the presentation can speak for itself. The entire presentation has 66 slides. The contents of the slide is comprised of checklists for the viewer, examples, both of topics and of people, and a step by step process of how to grow financially as an artist. The presentation has a lot of examples of people who’s market practice is something I can consider, and the checklist is a handy tool. : This is a podcast with Jason Horejs and Barney Davey called Grow Your Art Buisness with Effective Planning and Strategizing. Horejs does have another podcast called RedDot, which also talks about the business side of art and art advice in general, and I also would recommend listing to it. The podcast does talks about some practical advice, but what sets this apart is that they talk about the mentality one should have with their art business. Both artist are well experienced with business work, and it shows in the podcast and in the advice.

Artist Community : This Tedx talks video highlights the importance of working with a community. Steven Peterman tells his story on when he first worked with a community creating exhibitions. His “sketchbook library” is almost like the skeleton of what I want my company to be. While my idea is a business, I want artist from around the world to have a market place. In a sense, Steven Peterman is the scale that I hope for in my own business. : The title of the U.S.News article made by Jeff Greer is pretty self-explanatory. The article discusses how to start, and how to keep strong relations with your contacts. Some of the article is focusing on a single artist instead of an artist community. However, the information given can apply to the business I have in mind. At the end of this article, Jeff Greer brings up the topic of social media misuse. That is a subject that caught me by surprise and made me wonder how responsible I would be for the community I helped create? This is a really short article with a really simple yet important message. Crista Cloutier writes in the article about her experience trying to start a monthly get together with the artist in her town. Cloutier then explains how the pros of being in an artist community outweigh the threat of having your artwork copied by someone else, which the artist community calls art thieves. While the article at times is somewhat odd, I agree with the points that Cloutiers made. : DeviantArt is what I would like my company to look like from a design aspect. DeviantArt is a social media platform dedicated to artist. Photographers, writers, and illustrators can all post their work on DeviantArt. With over 38 million members, it is one of the largest online platforms for the artist, and with 65 million visitors per month, it is one of the best way to share yourself with the world. My business would be very similar to DeviantArt, except the members will be selling their works and their talents through commission work. : If DeviantArt is how I want my company website to look, then Absolutearts is how I would like my company website to function. Absolutearts is a website where artist can sell their paintings, sculptures, and photographs. The website is well organized. Customers can search from theme, medium and price range. My website would differ in three different ways. One, I would have a heavier focus on digital art, something this and most other art selling websites tend to neglect. Second, there would be more attention drawn to the artist. : While the blog is extremely useful, Freelancer nation itself is an organization that is close to what I want my business to be. The name speaks for itself, Freelancer Union is an organization founded by Sara Horowitz.  Composed of over 350,000 users, many of which are freelance artist. The organization main goal is the give a voice to independent freelancers. The organization also gives benefits to its members. My business would be focused solely on artist, but my goal is ultimately the same as freelance union, to help independent artist to be heard online. My business is not a union.

People to Follow : Marketing Art Online is a helpful twitter feed to follow because outside of the tweets that they make, they also collect articles from many sources that relate to online marketing for artist. They have articles, retweets, and even blogs all accessible through their twitter feed. This makes it very easy for someone like me to gather information from a variety of sources. Updates are daily, and are usually twice a day. With over 7,000 followers, this is a trusted source for marketing information. : Freelancers Union’s blog is a useful resource for any types of artist (writers, photographers, ect). The blog is updated on a daily basis from Monday to Friday, sometimes even twice a day. The posts give tips and advice to freelance creators. If you have something specific you want to know, you can use the helpful tags to get to the specific topic, such as how to get commissions through the Clients & gigs tag. The blog is very helpful for artists looking to getting themselves out in the world, and for me, it also talks about the artist community as well. : An artist online, David Conrey uses his blog to focus more on the business side of being an artist. However, it is still a blog, so the “human” aspect is still there. The content of the blog is varied. He will either post about art and art challenges that he has done, or talk about art marketing. With years of experience under his belt, his business advice is often very thought provocative, tending to just tell it to you straight. : While this focuses more on handmade crafts, Indiemade is still applicable and useful for any type of artist. Most of the posts are made By Cynthia Boris. The articles focus on the social media aspect of marketing, such as how to get yourself out there through twitter. For learning how to use social media for marketing, the Indiemade is one of the handiest tools available, and one of the most well organized. : Fine Arts Views is one of the best websites for learning the ins and out of selling art and artistic tips in general. In their words, Fine Arts Views aims to give “Art Marketing Ideas and Straight Talk about Selling Art, Marketing, Inspiration & Fine Living”. The blog updates daily, sometime with two posts a day. While the blogs main focus is on the marketing aspect of artwork, it also gives general tips on art and will sometimes have artist spotlights. If you enjoy the blog, you can also sign up for their daily art marketing newsletter for free.


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