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It seems that if you are an artist and do not have an Instagram account you are somehow lagging behind the times. Thousands of artists share their works on social media sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook in hopes of gaining followers, and thus getting recognition, potentially creating successful career opportunities and if you are not one of them, you are simply losing out, falling in the shadows of those with hundreds of thousands of followers, tens of thousands of likes.

These artists using social media understand that it can be used as a marketing tool, a way for them to make a gallery to the public. Sharing their art online leads to a free way to advertise the work that they do and can lead others to promote their work as well. Carlota Zimmerman explains “If used correctly, platforms like Twitter, and Facebook can allow you to show, not just tell, your talent. Show your talent to the world, by the way. Show your talent to people around the world who otherwise would never have heard of you; people who can help you.”

For example, Meagan Cignoli, a successful photographer, began creating short-stop films on Vine when it first launched as an app. With her creativity and high-quality production skills, Cignoli quickly gained followers on both Vine and Instagram, later garnering attention from the largest brands and agencies around the world. Making videos for brands such as Google and Nina Ricci, being featured in Time Magazine, and now creative director of her own company, Cignoli has clearly had a successful breakthrough, with a little help from social media.

Image Courtesy of Adielle Eisenberg Screenshot

Visual Country Digital Agency Founded by Meagan Cignoli

While there are artists boasting themselves as Instagram and Twitter experts, there are some who get lost in the dark. In some cases, social media seems to be slowly drowning the individual artist simply with the sheer number of people that can now get their art to the world. It may now be harder than before to get noticed for one’s talents due to the ease of sharing art on Instagram or Facebook. If anyone can do it, and everyone is doing it then how does one stand out from the crowd? Plus, with just about anyone posting in the #art tag on Instagram, there is the danger that quality can easily be diminished. Average quality of work presented on social media seems to have decreased simply because of the amount of people posting on the Internet, and thus may keep those who are truly talented hidden away in the mess of low-standard work.

Image Courtesy of Adielle Eisenberg Screenshot

Art hashtag on Instagram

In all this, one begins to wonder if it really is a necessity to put oneself out there on social media, as an artist. Though solutions are never quite simple and clean-cut, the short answer is yes, it is. Social media platforms are not disappearing anytime soon and it can only benefit a lone artist to explore into this world of social media networking.

With proper investigation and experimentation into social media as a marketing tool, artists can find a way to successfully brand themselves and their work. Social media enables these artists to become a personality behind the work they create, a potential to create a personal brand. Like journalists who have embraced the personal franchise model in digital journalism and have created an individualistic name for themselves. As Jay Rosen states, this personal franchise means “a central figure or personality has given birth to a newsroom, a larger operation. But the larger operation still feels like an individual’s site.” Like journalists, visual artists can go about and create this for themselves as well, with social media supporting their intentions. Interacting with followers, posting personal photos amidst artwork,  and reaching out to others through social media enables artists to sell themselves not only as an artist but as a person as well, which can profoundly help in the selling of their art in the long run.

Successful artist Instagrammer paperfashion demonstrating balance between professional and personal posts

Successful artist Instagrammer paperfashion demonstrating balance between professional and personal posts

Though it can be difficult to figure out the right way to use social media and though it will not magically get every artist famous and successful, it is an integral way for artists to get known and create a fanbase since it is already out there to be used and therefore artists might as well take advantage of its potential. I think, the more important question is not whether to use social media platforms but how to use these sites to get the following that most artists crave. Perhaps these websites will finally satisfy the starving artist.

Featured Image Courtesy of DeviantArt User digitalchet

All Article Images Courtesy of Adielle Eisenberg Screenshot

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One thought on “Of Art and Instagram: Social Media and the Artist

  1. Very interesting read. I definitely want to make an Instagram soon as it seems to be one of the most important platforms. Your examples and analysis made this so much more clear to me! Thank you!

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