Facebook could be as important to artists as their favorite supplies. I sensed this when the general manager of a prestigious Scottsdale gallery told me that when all else failed, Facebook helped him locate an artist he wanted to invite into the gallery to exhibit. He believed if an artist had a web address, they would also have a Facebook page as part of their marketing plan. This seems an incredible story unique to our times and I frequently relay it to artists who profess they don’t have time for Facebook.
In addition to finding the perfect oils, brushes and supports to create your art, an untapped audience could be waiting on the other side of your screen, so to speak, to connect with you and your art. Recently, a prolific plein air artist and popular instructor posted local scenes and paintings created on his trip east and photos of Sargeant’s works from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I “traveled” with him and anticipated his daily posts. He posted “Thanks so much everyone for your congratulations and encouragement. It really means a lot to me.” Art is emotional and unsolicited constructive feedback is a gift.
When a quick critique is needed to save a piece gone awry a Facebook post of “what do you think this painting needs?” can bring every imaginable solution. I enjoy artist’s posts of “just finished, still on the easel” paintings in the studio or plein air works still on outdoor easels positioned to show the view of the painted scene. Posts of paintings sold right off the easel and paintings juried into prestigious shows send an immediate thrill throughout the art community. The sharing of friends’ achievements becomes the community’s collective success.
Artists like to share supplies they love. I was unaware of Vasari oil paints until an artist posted that the company sent her entire palette as a gift. Comments immediately appeared from artists who swore by that brand. So Facebook not only informs, but teaches. CW Mundy posted a painting with a glazing technique and when queried offered steps to achieve the effect. An artist commented “the mark of a great instructor is one who uses every opportunity to teach”. I was impressed and surprised to consider Facebook as the art community’s personal arts “channel” and discussion forum.It is a high honor for an artist to have their work juried into the national OPA exhibit and artists shared their stellar news of acceptance on Facebook. Later posts appeared of artists alongside their award winning paintings to connect with a broader audience. I enjoyed seeing Jeff Legg next to his painting and award, offered my congratulations and thanked him for posting it. I also sent a private message to Melissa Gann who won our RayMar award. She responded with “Thank you for creating the memorial award. I am so honored to be the recipient. You and Emily do so much for the art community through RayMar.” Comments like Melissa’s are humbling and create excitement among sponsors and ultimately collectors to become more involved.
So after some solo time in the studio artists can tap into the Facebook art world for the latest news and even the possibility of a sale without ever leaving the studio. I know because I just concluded my first facebook sale. I saw a posted painting I loved, contacted the artist and made the purchase. It was immediate and I could send a message directly to the artist to express my emotional connection with the painting.
Facebook can be a waste of time if you are undisciplined, but as a fresh way to connect with collectors, gallery directors, workshop instructors and art buddies to build friendships it is unsurpassed. Facebook is an exciting part of my day and I’m happy to have the opportunity to share my thoughts about some of its advantages with you as OPA’s guest blogger.