Monday, November 24, 2008

Making art and selling art - communities of interest for artists

This post looks at the rise of blogs and websites in 2008 which represent communities of interest for artists. In particular, it highlights:
  • the development of group blogs and joint projects for making art
  • some brand new sites for artists selling their work online
In the first part of my review of blogging and art last year I noted that it continued to be very difficult for artists to get noticed online - partly because there are just so many people putting their art online!

I also speculated that the credit crunch would have a very significant impact on the art market - and what gets blogged online.

Blogging Art in 2007 - A Review (Part 2) considered the wider context for blogging and blogging art , communities of interest in a web 2.0 world and the sphere of influence for art and illustrated blogs.
It’s my belief that in 2007 we are becoming overwhelmed by the sheer number of ways people communicate about art online and the richness of the content which is out there....What we desperately need is a way of accessing it more easily.
The blogosphere for artists seems to have matured in 2008. The rate of increase of blogs for artists seems to have slowed. At the same time there seems to be more and more efforts to create the communities of interest which I predicted would emerge

Communities of interest are people who are linking together to create sites which provide:
  • a joint focus for their efforts,
  • a chance to talk with like-minded people or people with a similar interest
  • an increased chance of getting a profile for their art and for people to get to know about their blogs, and
  • for some, a better chance of selling their art.
During 2007, I began to have the notion that we maybe now need to develop a new conceptual model for how blogging could be used to provide a link between the looser web 2.0 affiliations of artists which exist on the internet in terms of eg. blogrolls, cyberchum groups, sketchcrawl communities et al and those communities of artists which exist back in the ‘real ‘world - such as artists and art groups based in a locality and national art societies.
Internet communities
Blogging Art in 2007 - A Review (Part 2) 23rd December 2008
Some of the software (eg Flickr and Ning) is now making it a lot easier for artists to take this route towards forming communities. Also, once an artist has become experienced in using blogging software, confidence grows about the idea of creating team blogs. (Watch out for a new one - due to arrive on next Monday, 1st December!)

Making art

2008 has seen a growth in communities who are making art - for the sake of making art. The Flying Pictures project (Seven intrepid handmade sketchbooks, collecting pictures as they wing their way around the world) is a fine example of this.

Others have developed very focused projects which allow much larger numbers to participate. In doing so they follow the grand tradition started by blogs like Everyday Matters (the super EDM blog) and Illustration Friday (blog). Examples include:
Selling art online - some new sites

An online presence is now a very important way of raising your profile, highlighting the availability of your artwork for sale, allowing people to browse and, maybe, selling online.

In December 2007 I predicted that in 2008
the credit crunch will have a significant impact on the art market and what gets blogged by those marketing their art online. The credit crunch is already having an impact on the housing market and the purchase of decorative art. I predict that it will continue to bite and a recession may be just around the corner - which will inevitably impact on those selling art and using their blog to do so. Those who will do well and survive/continue to sell during a difficult period are those who keep focused on the customer and the bottom line in both the short and longer term. In other words success will come from examining and finding the most cost-effective way of selling art and thinking about how to look after their customers and make it easy for them to continue buying.
BLOGGING ART IN 2008: a few speculations and predictions
Blogging Art in 2007 - A Review (Part 1) 22nd December 2007
The issue of selling online has become more critical for artists with the very rapid onset of a recession. It's now an option that more and more artists looks at as they try to diversify the ways that they can get their art in front of potential purchasers. After all, what's the point of focusing only on galleries if the galleries themselves are also finding it difficult to keep afloat?

We saw several examples of group websites oriented towards sales emerge out of the phenomenal interest in the very popular and successful daily painting blogs. They have formed and reformed during the latter end of 2007 and have continued to do so during 2008. Daily Paintworks for example is now in its third incarnation in terms of its regular members and has resisted any notion of expanding much beyond the original number of artists. It started as a small group and it remains a small group.

Those taking a lead with these initiatives have had to consider whether the creation of a community of interest should involve the payment of fees and whether or not access to membership should be controlled. One of these which does both of those is the Daily Painters Art Gallery.

A new direction for selling art? In the last month or so we've seen the emergence of some new blogs and websites. This stimuli has been the financial climate of recent months and weeks and its impact on the art economy.
  • Tracy Helgeson has started a new blog called The Fine Art Department. This is intended to be a great place for people to browse if they're interested in buying art. The idea behind the blog is that it should be part of a team effort to help tackle the current economic climate (see below). She intends to post an image, a short description and a link to artists who are selling their own work.Read Fine Art is a Good Gift This Year from Tracy's main blog Works by Tracy Helgeson for some background to her decision.
  • Another example of team work is a new website for what is at present a small group called Small Art Showcase also featuring a group of artists - highlighted by Lisa Call on her blog. This was organised by Jeanne Williamson and is a collection of fine artists who are making their work accessible and affordable to art lovers and collectors by showcasing their art on a website dedicated to affordable art priced between $25 and $500.
As part of my contribution towards the team effort, I'm in the process of creating/converting part of my blogroll to include links to artist/blogger owned and managed blogs and websites of this kind . Note that I am going to exercise some quality control over this and will tend towards favouring those created by artists for whom their art is serious and a significant part of their income.

If you know of any other similar sites - for making art or selling art - please feel free to highlight them by using the comments function. However please note the emphasis is on communities of interest created by artists/bloggers and I'm not offering to advertise the more commercial online galleries.


  1. Katherine,
    One of the things I have done recently is to make one blog oriented for collctors and the other oriented for painters, rather than trying to juggle both into one format. I wish I had thought of it sooner.

  2. what a interesting article. I'm a artist . they call me the Urban Picasso. Art is my only income and I'm also looking for more ways to sell my original Urban Abstract Graffiti Gothic Pop art Online. Its a jungle out here. Thanks for the headss up on the new sites. your predictions where insightful.

    Cheers, Urban Picasso

  3. Just want to thankyou for this post! Really really helpful.

  4. This may be a slightly different category but I am enjoying a wonderful sense of community as a participant in the international Twelve by Twelve Collaborative Art Quilt Project. Our next challenge quilts will be revealed on blog on 1 December US time.

  5. Landscape Artists International

    (OK not www.2 but a real artists-lead community of common interest, exchange & joint projects).

    Thanks for the survey.


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