“Social media and the internet have really allowed us to create our own success.”
Internet is an excellent place for self promotion, collaborating with other artists or connecting with the audience – if we know how to use it. Networks and relationships are the most powerful tool of trade.
The evidence is Natasha Wescoat. She’s a painter, illustrator and a social media creative. She is originally from Standish, Michigan (USA) and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She comes from a family of artists, including the famous painter Georgia O’Keefe.
Natasha’s obsession for drawing and comic books goes back to her childhood. She still has a certain kind of love for the fantastical worlds of superheroes. Her other inspirations have been Gustav Klimt, Kandinsky, Takashi Murakami and Tim Burton.
Natasha is famous for her “candied” landscapes (Jeweled Trees) and whimsical characters. Her works are about movement and happiness. They are a little strange, full of energy and fun.
She began selling her paintings online at the age of 22. Since 2004, she has sold over 1000 original works and garnered lots of private and corporate collectors all over the world. In 2006, her art was seen on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition. In 2007, Natasha was named “Emerging Artist and Trendsetter” by Art Business News (the largest trade publication in the States). In February 2009, she was invited by Black Card Circle to exhibit her art in places such as the Ritz-Carlton.
Natasha’s cooperated with high profile studios, classrooms, and companies. Her products are currently sold in Target, Barnes & Noble bookstores etc. Even television and Hollywood films have requested her works.
Natasha started with $130 in 2004. She bought new supplies and a website. After some sales, she was able to reinvest. Since then, she has created a definitive online presence.
So how did she do it? Let me sum it up for you in a form of advices.
You don’t need to wait or worry about waiting, real estate or business loans, just use and utilize the Internet. Beware! It requires hard work and devotion. This way is not easier, only different.
1. Connect with people. Make researches about your possible audience. Using your favorite colors, artists, and materials as keywords. Search for people who like similar things you do, whose lifestyles are relevant to yours.
2. You have to put a lot of effort to maintain the relationships you establish through the Web. Share your thoughts and feelings. Ask questions, keep up the interest and be interested. Don’t think about numbers. If you are not working on the conversations, you will eventually lose your existing connections.
3. Keep it fresh. Brainstorm and write down your ideas. If your writings/blog posts or conversations have no taste or goal, they’re going to be chaotic and fruitless for business.
4. Don’t forget to set a daily time for social media, don’t overuse the sites. Twitter, Flickr or Etsy might not do the trick for everyone, but the artists who are out there trying the new tools are already miles ahead of the artists who aren’t.
5. An audience is worth nothing if you don’t work on your portfolio and produce new things on a regular basis. Don’t forget that the creative sessions can be draining on physical levels. Keep a bottle of water and a couple of candy bars next to your canvas or computer.
6. Have fun! Clear your mind and live a little. Get out of your house every day. Do the shopping, go for a little walk, exercise, take a look at the shop windows, go to the movies with friends or chat with the neighbors. If you are too much concentrated on your cyber life, you will eventually get lost.
7. Take it to the next level. Re-invest a part of your earnings. Prepare tutorials and show your works in progress. Take lots of photos or record videos during your creative process. Publish your own, perfectly functioning website. Hold contests and giveaways, make announcements. Be open and sharing. Your fans are interested in what you are into at the moment. Make sure you keep them posted and ask them what they want to see.
8. Get an agent or learn to promote your work for licensing. The process can be difficult but rewarding. Create something that everyone wants, and is marketable. With the re-use of the image of your artwork on different products, you can achieve multiple streams of income.
9. It’s not rainbows and butterflies. The life you created for yourself can be comforting, but you shouldn’t forget that the world is full of lousy people. Some of them are going to try to steal your art. To prevent this, always sign and number your prints and paintings, make catalogues about sales, use watermarks or don’t upload high resolution images. Some people will leave bad comments about you, simply because they are jealous. Ignore them.
10. Everybody has their own life and problems. The support of your friends and family is precious, but at one point you may find yourself alone. Even if you are in the middle of a crowd. Whatever life brings, you have to stand straight and hold your life and happiness tight. Set your values and goals. Get to know and love yourself. This might sound cheesy, but confidence is the key.
So what do you think? Is any of this useful? You have something to add?
Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Making a living as an artist is hard. Somewhere between establishing a market and promoting your art, you have to stay inspired.” – Natasha Wescoat