Tell Me Why… Art Blog Part 2

Synopsis of part 1:  My dear husband and I discussed what a blog was in general. I also began explaining what an art blog was specifically.  The conversation ended with him asking why I needed a blog specifically for art, which I didn’t answer at that time.  I answer that question here, not just for him, but for anyone who wants to read.

So decided it would be good to explain here the “why” of having a blog for art.  Obviously, the first reason is to share my art.  I mean most artists don’t create art in the hopes that nobody ever lays  eyes on it, we create it to share.  We want others to see it, we hope they will like it, we hope they will get pleasure from it, or understand the message we tried to convey with it.  Even if they don’t care for it, we hope they will see it and come away with a little more understanding of what we were trying to say.

So an art blog provides the artist with a way to share their art, but this answer begs the question, “Why a blog specifically for art?  Why not just a general blog, or sharing to Facebook or other social media?”

There are a few answers to this.  First, not everyone has, or wants, a personal blog.  Many artists don’t feel any particular inclination to write, and especially not about their personal lives.  However, making a blog with the primary purpose of sharing art is something that benefits the artist, without requiring that they pour out details about the happenings of their day.

A second answer is  that many who have a personal blog share more on it than they want the average stranger to read.  They only share their blog with a selection of people.  A blog specifically for art can be  shared with the general public.  The artist only shares those parts of their lives that directly impacts their art.   This means that people who are really only interested in the art don’t have to be bored with the story of what aunt Martha bought the kids for Christmas. It also means that the readers of the personal blog can receive  an abbreviated tale of the art related stuff, along with a link to the art blog if they want to know more.

Third, the art blog is a place to offer art for sale, while the personal one is a place for friends.  The readers of the art blog can get to know the artist in a limited way that relates to art, and they don’t need to know every single detail.  For an artist who sells their art, it is a business as well as a passion and hobby.  Like any business, there needs to be some separation between the business and the personal life.  How would you feel if your friend sold cars and every time you saw them they started a sales pitch about the newest great deal on their lot?  How would you feel if your doctor came into the exam room and started telling you about his marital problems?  No, there needs to a separation, and when there isn’t it makes the business person look unprofessional and the friend look fake and pushy.

Another example of this need of separation is politics.  On my personal blog I often state my political points of view.  If I am trying sell art, I want to avoid alienating potential customers because they may hold a different view than I do. On my art blog, I don’t post about politics, unless one of my pieces of art touches on a political issue, which most do not.

As for Facebook and other social media, they have their place, but it is limited.  Its actually against Facebook policy to constantly use your personal account to sell things.  If you open a “Fan Page” for your art, Facebook’s new post guidelines hide much of what you post unless you pay to promote those posts.  Facebook also has terms of use that actually gives away some of the rights to what you post.  You don’t lose your copyright completely, you can still sell your art, both originals, prints, and downloads, but you do give up some control over anything you upload on Facebook.  You agree to let Facebook use your images, and that includes in advertising that doesn’t benefit you in any way.  Contrary to what some think, posting a status or statement revoking that permission has no legal standing.  By having an art blog, you can link to your art content without actually uploading that content to Facebook.  This allows you to retain legal control over your art.

Now, that isn’t to say that I never post any images of my art to Facebook, I have, but when I do I am aware that people can download it, copy it, print it, even use it in ads, and legally I can’t really do anything about it, because when I agreed to Facebook’s terms of service, I agreed that Facebook could do whatever they wanted with pictures I uploaded.  I have guidelines over what and how I upload things to Facebook, which I’ll share sometime in another article.  For now I’ll just say that Facebook isn’t the best place to upload your art if you want to be able to sell or license that art yourself.  So, Facebook can be good place to post links to your blog, and to develop some interest in your work, but its best if as a professional you have your own space, where you control what is posted, what is shared, and who is invited.

An art blog can also be tied to your art website, such as this one is.  I blog about my experiences with and thoughts about art on the blogging tab, but I have a landing page with a slideshow of some of my art, and a gallery tab where people can buy the art.  This website is still under construction, so I haven’t added anywhere near all of my art, and I plan to add more tabs also, such as a “contact the artist” tab, and perhaps a “commissions order” tab.

On an art blog you can also run contests, post how to videos, and almost anything else you want to do related to your art, while with social media you are limited by their terms.  I would like to add though, that if you use a free blogging service sometimes you are limited to their terms as well. In general, the free blogging sites aren’t as restrictive as the social media sites though, and they can be a good place to start your blogging experience.  However, free sites do have their limits, and eventually you may find that its best to move to your own website, with your own domain name and hosting service.

A fourth reason for an art blog is that it allows the art collector, or potential art collector, to connect with the artist.  It allows the collector to feel that they know the artist as a person, while still keeping enough distance to feel professional.

So to recap, the reasons for an art blog are:

1. To have a place to share your art.

2. To help keep business and personal life separate.

3. An art blog can be your virtual “storefront” where you sell your creations while still maintaining legal control of them.

4. An art blog lets a collector connect to the artist, but in a way that is limited enough to still remain professional.

There might be other reasons as well, that I haven’t thought of, but these are the reasons that stand out to me most, and that I’ll share with my husband the next time we speak of this.

Copyright Vicki Maheu, all rights reserved.
Visitor to the Backyard Pond
By V.J. Maheu

8 Responses to Tell Me Why… Art Blog Part 2

  1. Vicki, I’m visiting from the UBC. It’s great to see this post on melding the sharing of art with the sharing of a blog. It helps me understand. I do love the colors in your paintings. They are very reminiscent of Monet and Chagall. Blessings!

    • Kebba, thank you. Yes, the reasons for an art blog are basically the same for any business to have a blog, but because art itself is personal people often don’t look at the business side of it. Yet, artists have to buy supplies, they have to report the income if they sell a painting, and in the end, if they are to keep producing art they must either make a profit on their art, or support it as a hobby by making profit elsewhere. Of course an artist may also choose to have a personal blog, and with art there is always some crossover. The separate art blog limits that crossover.

  2. An art blog is a great idea! I didn’t know about Facebook getting some of the rights when you post your own work, I’ll have to keep that in mind. I don’t know much about art but your stuff looks great!

    • KathleenO, yes, this come directly from the Facebook terms of service, “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
      For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.” Notice also the terms “transferable” and “sub-licensable” which basically means that Facebook can pass that licence on to other entities as it sees fit.

  3. I have more or less given up on my blog’s Facebook Fan Page and some local businesspeople I know are expressing much frustration with Facebook. It’s a shame – I enjoyed being able to interact with local businesses on Facebook. Now, what you’ve written even makes me leary about having thumbnail photos published when I post my blog links on Facebook – I am giving them rights to use the photos however they want. Cute. I wish you much success with your art blog.

    • Alana, what I’ve started doing is stamping really large watermarks right across the images shared on facebook, that way, the image they are given licence to use includes a watermark attributing the image to me and declaring ownership. Yes, they still can use it, but only that one with my name stamped across the front of it. I am planning to start stamping my website url on them too, that way if facebook uses them, they will inadvertently advertise for me.

  4. What a great Blog Vicki 🙂 Keep up the great work

    • Dominic, thank you. I’m still working on the structure of the site, and changing things as I go. Once all of my work is uploaded and things are in their final stage, I’ll start promoting the heck out of this website. 😉