|my original blog header|
Today marks the 4 year anniversary of my blog. And that's why I've decided to share some of my thoughts on art blogging. Now, normally I try to avoid blogging about blogging. I find it can be a terribly solipsistic exercise in extreme navel gazing when done too frequently. But since I've never written a post about blogging before, perhaps you'll indulge me.
Artists should blog about their art. Not just because of the marketing and SEO benefits to their online web presence, but also because it helps an artist to think about his or her artistic process.
Bloggers are typically advised to illustrate their posts in some way. We artists don't have to rely on stock photos. We can use pictures of our own work! For us, original content is very easy to come by.
There are things that disappoint me about art blogging, though. Right now I feel like it's not as effective a tool as it once was back in 2008. I'm not getting as many art sales or event attendees from this blog, or my website, or Twitter, or Facebook, as I would like. I barely get comments on this blog anymore that aren't from annoying spammers. In case you're wondering, I have it set up now so that anonymous comments are allowed, and all I have to do is decide whether to approve them. You never see the spammy comments because I delete them myself. I realize that I could deter spammers with CAPTCHA, but was concerned that it might deter legitimate commenters as well.
Perhaps there is just something in the nature of art blogging that causes people not to comment. Perhaps visitors to online art galleries approach them with the same hushed reverence they do in the physical world. Maybe art blogs attract lurkers. I'd like to believe that some of the people who read my blog--if they are real people and not just worthless spam-bots--are sensitive, introspective souls too shy to leave a comment on a blog post that can be read by the public. And I have had some readers tell me in person that they enjoyed reading my blog, though they never left a comment online. Not getting comments can be very discouraging, but when I feel discouraged, I think of what Brian Sherwin wrote about art blogging:
Remember that a lack of art blog comments does not say anything about who you are -- it does not mean that your art is 'bad'. Point blank -- don't make your art blog into a self-imposed popularity contest based on numbers. Don't beat yourself up. Remember that blog comments -- be they few or plentiful -- have little to do with the value of your blog content OR the value of your art. Remember that lurkers -- such as myself -- are always just around the corner.
I think a lot of other creatives are also beginning to realize that being active in social media is not a substitute for getting out there and meeting people in person. I am starting to see it more as a supplement. Perhaps social media is like a multivitamin while face-to-face networking is like a fresh fruit smoothie and a salad. Just as you cannot live on vitamins alone, you cannot rely on social media alone, especially now. There are too many cat videos to compete with.
My blog is one of the first things people see when they search for me by name online. It gives people a sense of context, of where my art is coming from. Art blogging helps me to document my process in words and pictures. I know exactly when my paintings were made and what inspired them because of this blog. It proved a very useful source of information when I wrote my thesis paper for grad school, and later, my book.
So in closing, I think there is still something to be gained from being an artist blogger, though its benefits have diminished since the Web has become so much more crowded with attention seekers hoping to become the next big thing. There are other formats out there, but what I like about blogging is that it allows me to express myself using both my images and my words, and doesn't limit me to 140 characters to do so.
If you're an artist interested in blogging, here are some links to get you started:
7 Popular blogging styles for artists to choose from from The Empty Easel
Artful Blogging from Stampington
52 Blog Topics for Artists from Art Print Issues