My artistic ability seemed to plateau in kindergarten, shortly after I stopped eating crayons & paste. With that being said, I am extremely impressed by anyone that can not only produce visual art, but also make a living from their work.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to watch an artist, Shawn Reeves, make the transition from treating his art as a hobby/side-project to becoming a full-time freelance artist. Without a doubt, Shawn produces amazing pieces, so the quality of his art is a huge part of why he was able to make this leap. But, I have no doubt that the way he embraced social media helped him along. Did he set out with a social media strategy? I really can’t say, but is execution was textbook perfect, and I hope to explain why every artist should follow his lead.
Let People See Behind the Curtain
An artist doesn’t simply pull a finished piece out of thin-air. There’s always the “process”. Whether it’s discussing how you decide what to leave out of a painting or documenting the creation process, as Shawn does, it’s key to let people understand how you work. After all, you’re an artist – it doesn’t matter if you explain exactly how you do everything, someone isn’t concerned with recreating your work, they want to know about it.
While Shawn documents the creation process, painter Peter Batchelder does a great job in explaining his process. In this interview, Batchelder fully explains his creative process, how he decided what to include or exclude from his paintings, and how he determines the focus of his paintings.
Embrace Your Audience (and Vice Versa)
Following Shawn on Facebook and you’ll quickly see that his fans LOVE him. These are fans that completely embrace his art and can’t wait to show it off. In many cases Shawn’s cowls are a part of a total costume, but he doesn’t hesitate to showcase the entire costume. He’ll attend many of the “cons” and be swamped by his customers and fans, and he gives the love right back.
What I really love is that artists are producing something that inspire an emotional response in people, and social media is a great way to show off their pride. When your fan base is so passionate, social media is the easy way to say “thank you”. In many ways it makes sense that an artist would really “get” the concept of social media & networking – they aren’t really salesmen, so there’s no worry about spamming. Instead, they are doing what they do best: making connections.
How can you connect with your fans & customers in this way?