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Supporting Artists Online and Building Communities

Rome wasn't built in a day, and Artists don't get discovered without a community. Traditionally, artists would rely on patrons or the prestige of academic titles but with the growth of the online markets, there are huge shifts happening every day in the art markets. Of course, the conventional art market still stands firm and big names, large galleries still have the power to make or break an artist. However, we cannot ignore that there are artists out there that are able to make a living without those big name, large gallery clout. These artists have been able to build their art through building a community that expands out from the work that they produce. This is why it is so important for artists and non-artists to contribute to these growing communities.

From the first days, I decided that this was a career path that I wanted to explore I was told how difficult it would be, how unlikely it would be. A few years in, I know what that hard work is but it has never deterred me. I am still curious why these warnings are deemed necessary as any form of career selecting is a difficult thing to do. The commitment to a path, determination to succeed despite the difficulty level, as I see it are things that make us employable and shouldn't be put down, no matter the choices. Knowing this determination and commitment I am keen to nurture and encourage other artists, therefore I will soon be collecting ARTIST FEATURES for the blog where you will be able to find more work from artists. In the meantime, I want to discuss the importance of helping to build communities around artists and options to look out for.

If you are an artist and interested in being featured please contact me.

"Artists are like fairies, you have to believe in us for us to survive"

Ways to Support Artists:

  • Free - Social Media has been an absolutely incredible resource for artists. I cannot express just how much you can help an artist just by engaging with their posts. I see it said a lot but it bears repeating; If you want to support artists, share/ comment and like their posts. Your engagement is the difference between increased and decreased reach. I don't want to bore you with the fine details of the social media algorithms, but you have to think of your engagement as a vote. You are able to communicate to the algorithm that this post is worth boosting and therefore get shown to more people.

On my own social media, I have seen the analytics difference between 45 views at 12 likes on an unshared post and 1000+ views and more likes on a post that got shared. Taking this time to engage with posts, even if you don't directly have the money to support an artists practice directly could get a sale/ or opportunity to an artist that wouldn't have had that without. Each of us, individually, can make such a huge difference to an artist's reach.

  • If you want to give an extra boost to artists at no financial cost to you: Click on the links. The best time I find to do this is actually in moments of pause, sitting on the loo is a great example. If you spot an artist who has a new collection launch as you are scrolling through your feed click the link. Etsy lets you favourite shops and items which not only gives a buzz to the artist that you have seen, and like the work, but you are telling those sites that this is something you want to come back to. Look for blogs as well, these are great places to gain information about an artist and by holding onto a particular page you can boost their statistics overall.

These free ways to support artists are so important, and turn you into our secret superhero, offering your time in the background to help us grow our careers. Artists survive on word of mouth, and with social and digital media changing the way we communicate you can take part in artists growth exponentially, with only a small amount of button pressing.

  • Set your budget - Personally, I wish that I could buy work from every single artist that I know. I helped co-found an artist community during lookdown called the Anti-Detachment Society and I am always pocking around their shops figuring out what I have a budget for. With this in mind, I am a big supporter of knowing what your budget is when you are looking at artists shops. Once you have worked out what you can afford (and if you can afford it) shop around and have fun exploring those links to find what you can get. Remember that artists hate pricing our work because we are directly setting how much we believe we are worth. Our artwork is a piece of our soul, and so putting your hard-earned money towards our practice is always appreciated. You are voting for our success on a financial level, please be respectful to artists. If the work doesn't represent what you love about art or isn't priced in a way that you believe it is worth don't "try and be helpful" and communicating that to artists. It just hurts. I have seen so many artists step away from their practice because they are undervalued by their supposed community. Artists are like fairies, you have to believe in us to survive.

Personally, I try and to hit varied price points with what I offer. If you see something that you like but it doesn't fit your budget have a search around my website cos it might be there is something for you. Or contacting artists, I don't want to add to the stereotype of the starving artist but realistically we are all trying to build customer bases. Especially when we are starting out, contact us and ask about pricing plans, if you see an item you like but not with your prefered design message. Customer feedback is so important, and usually, you will be talking directly with the artist, not just a big corporate email. If we can achieve something for you, we will, if we can't we will always let you know.

  • Become a Patron - Thanks to the internet you can support your favourite artists practice anywhere you are. If you have the budget for a monthly/ one-off donation to an artists studio practice ask or look for things like Patreon, Ko-fi or Paypal buttons. Materials cost a lot of money and often our jobs, art or otherwise, don't always cover our practice costs. we produce a lot more than what we sell, especially as well have a desire to create and explore our ideas so that we are always broadening our abilities. So these donations go a long way to keeping our practice going even when the shop sales slow down.

I am so grateful to my small collection of Patreon supporters who I keep up to date on things I am working on and ask for direct feedback from them. They get votes on what I paint or what items I add to shops. We are only a small community so far but I am so grateful for them voting towards my success. Alternatively, I also have the Ko-fi page where I am currently trying to raise funds towards some big studio upgrades. Mostly storage solutions so that I can reorganise my space in a way that allows me to produce even more work.

I would like to finish of with a huge thank you to everyone who has supported my practice and I look forwards to bringing you more artists to show your love to!

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