Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Art Networking Sites

In the age of social networking sites, it would make sense that there would be sites specifically for artists, an updated version of the old school art registries. There are sites such as Myartspace.com, Brooklynartproject.com, pagaeaa.com, artslant.com, artistfileonline.com, and  waxworldunited.com to name a few. I've had some moderate success through some of these sites. I had a gallery see my work and inquire about it. I was recently "artist of the day" on Brooklyn Art Project and had my painting on the front page of their website. I was also named featured artist of the month on Myartspace. All good things. But there are some bad things that can come of these sites if you're not careful.

This is where I tell the story of Razzy Popo. That's right. Some guy named Razzy Popo (did his parent's hate him? What kind of cruel person would name their child Razzy Popo????) contacted me after seeing my artwork on one of these sites. He said he was from London and loved two of my large paintings and wanted to purchase them. Sounds good so far, right? But then he starts to mention that he could only pay by check and would mail me a check that was over the amount of the paintings and would I please cash the check and give the remaining amount to his shipper who would be handling the paintings. It sounded pretty fishy. I still wanted the sale (it would have been a BIG sale) so I told him I would feel more comfortable using Paypal. After he made some excuses about not having access to it, I agreed to let him Fedex me a check that I would wait to make sure it cleared and then contact his shipper. He took my information and I awaited my check. It never came. I suspect this was a money laundering scheme or one of those scams that usually target old ladies and their retirement checks but since I was unwilling to comply with my "buyer's" instructions, Razzy Popo did not make off with my life savings.

After doing some research and contacting the artist site, I learned that scamming artist is the new thing to do (okay, maybe not new but it was new to me). How horrible must it be to be a struggling artist and have someone not only steal your heartfelt work, but also your hard-earned money? I have since been contacted by two other people "overseas" inquiring about purchasing my paintings with checks. I deleted their emails immediately. Artist beware. There are some pretty crappy people out in the world....

Step One...Getting Over Myself

I have always hated networking and schmoozing. I've never been really good at talking about myself and my work. When asked "What inspired you to paint this? What does this mean?", people usually don't want to hear "I thought it would look pretty. There's no meaning behind this".

So when all of these social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc., started popping up everywhere, I avoided them like the plague. There was no way you would have seen me starting a personal page on any of these sites and yet the more that I talk to people and talk about wanting to promote my art, the more I hear about the need to be on these sites.  Ugh!

I am now on Facebook and will open a Twitter account, along with Flickr. I'm not sure whether these sites will actually help. I still don't have any "friends" on Facebook who aren't, well, actually my friends. As for Twitter...do people really want a play by play of my art life (I kind of thought that was the point of this blog)? We'll see. I will be posting links to pictures of each major step of my paintings. That could be pretty interesting. Of course, so could watching paint dry... and in this case, literally.  

Getting Started....

I recently attended an encaustic art conference in Beverly, MA and after meeting and talking to many artist who are making art as their full-time job....AND succeeding at it, I've decided that that was what I wanted to do. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I am finally here.

Art has always been something that I do in my free time. It was my way of relaxing or letting out my frustrations in my personal life. I never wanted to teach art (and somehow teaching math made more sense and fulfilled my need to geek out with numbers) because I thought that it would somehow make art less enjoyable and it would no longer be my escape from reality. So I was left with teaching math at a middle school during the day and painting during vacations and weekends. 

I've always have been very lucky in whatever successes I have had in art. Shows and sales would literally fall into my lap with little to no effort. My work was apparently good and there were enough people interested in it to make some sales. I started to think that if this was happening with very little effort, imagine what could happen if I actually tried to make it as an artist and made an effort to show and sell my work. Despite these thoughts, I did nothing. And did some more nothing. And after a little more of doing nothing to advance my art career, I am finally at the point where this is what I want to do FULL-TIME. I want to be a full-time artist and be able to support myself while doing it. This is my story of what I am doing, trying to do, and want to do in order to get me to this goal.