Why Some Artists Shouldn’t Have Blogs

Blogging can give your art career a big boost. It can help you become more articulate about your art, build relationships with fans and future collectors, and give you favor with search engines.

But blogging isn’t for every artist. Yesterday I wrote why artists should have blogs. Today, I’m going to let some of you off the hook.

Neil Corman, Pipes on a Building

Neil Corman, Pipes on a Building. Photograph. ©The Artist

You shouldn’t blog about your art . . .

If your only reason for starting a blog is because someone (me?) told you that you had to have one.

If you’re not going to keep it up. If you’re not going to post two or three times a week, you might as well stick to a static website and update your news page.

If you have a bad attitude or think about it as “just one more thing I have to do.” Don’t ever enter into any new venture with a bad attitude. It will end up being a waste of your time.

If you don’t care about connecting with your fans and potential fans. If you don’t want to respond to people who are asking you about your art or if you find questions annoying, skip the blog.

If you don’t want to post a lot of images of your art. If you’re afraid of your images getting stolen or used improperly, a blog isn’t for you.

If you’re uninterested in exploring a deeper meaning of your art. As I’ve said previously, blogging can help you connect–through words–with your art. It will help you better articulate your work, but only if you want to go there.

If you’re just fine where you are. If you are lucky enough to have plenty of sales, friends, and opportunities, you probably don’t need a blog because it would just bring you more of all those things. It’s okay to be happy with where you are right now! But maybe think about the future, too. Will you be bummed if, in six months, things slow down for you and you still haven’t started your blog?

I talked about blogging with Art & Soul Radio the other day. Listen to it here (I was the second guest–about halfway through the show–but don’t miss the first guest, the people from The Arts Map).

Coming up: Blogging for Art Collectors

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15 comments to Why Some Artists Shouldn’t Have Blogs

  • I agree blogs can be very useful, but there are some artists who start blogging too early. It’s takes awhile to learn the ropes in the art world. We are trying to work with some profoundly slippery issues, and our first years of work are never our best. So be impatient to get started as an artist and as a blogger, just not too impatient.

  • Philip, I’m trying to figure out exactly what you mean. Do you mean that our first years in terms of skill level with our art production, or first years in terms of our savvy at our chosen profession?

    I would think that an artist should be able to start blogging about their work early (and it seems a lot of students these days do) with the caveat that they are early in their careers/and or are a student. I’ve seen some great blogs by young artists (I’ve also seen some really bad ones). And, couldn’t a blog become an invaluable tool to the young emerging artist, giving them a sounding board for their ideas and expressions?

  • Interesting prespectives, I’ve been blogging on wordpress since last June. I think it allows me to review where I am and all I’ve learnt over the past year in a business sense. I post weekly and link it to a couple of sites and to my own site as well. I know it takes time to become more proficient at it and I also like to included links to other artists and people like you that I have learnt from.
    Although the process maybe scary at first it really is a wonderful tool that we as artists have to connect with others. Mine is a very simple blog I just do what fits me… I work fulltime as well thus my time is preplanned and I honor my craft by posting anything that is relevant to me weekly. It has also taught me to spend my time more efficiently and effectively in my business.
    I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you Alyson for everything you have taught me since I took SMArtist in Jan/09 and first became aware of you and your expert advice..You have taught me the best lesson of all to get my work out there and to see where I fit…. Warmest Regards,

    Elle How

  • lol, Alyson, if that ain’t the stick to the carrot I don’t know what is.

  • Hi Alyson
    Boy – I had a couple of those concerns you’ve listed. When in the world will I fit something else into my schedule?? I’m afraid of more identity theft in the world. Alyson told me to. And, I did it anyway. Personally, if you’re doing fantastic financially as an artist – maybe you could skip it. But why? It’s been pretty fun and educational. You start to “meet” other people. I think the hardest part is setting it up. (though I do think posting can be time consuming – I hope that will get faster with more practice)

    I guess my final comment would be…get over it. Whatever your hang-ups are, it’s a helpful tool to your art life. Enjoy it!

  • Hi Alyson and Artists,
    I started a blog twice and stopped posting twice because it took too much of my time (I’m a little too perfectionist in what I write and how I write it, thus the time.) Instead of a blog I update my website all the time and post each new painting. I also use emails, facebook and my facebook posts go to twitter.
    One of my most popular series of paintings is my mangrove series and if you google ‘mangrove paintings’ I am #1. I am also high on google for other key words that lead people to my site and among other things this has led to new gallery representations, multiple sales of artwork and prints and commissions with a new business relationship from a dealer—all without blogging.
    I would be very interested in hearing more concrete, specific stories about how blogging has advanced artists’ careers in terms of actual sales, finding new galleries and other places to exhibit work, finding a rep, licensing opportunities, and other benefits. I am still not convinced that blogging is the great marketing panacea that it is touted to be but I highly respect Alyson’s advice and want to understand what it is I am missing, if anything.
    I look forward to hearing what some of you have to say —and Alyson too if you have the time! :)
    Thank You!
    Carol McArdle, The Mangrove Artist!

  • I am also in the non-blogging column and I can honestly say I don’t think I will ever go this route. I have an 8 month old puppy who requires a great deal of time plus 2 kids…and oh yeah a husband. To say that I have a lot on my plate is an understatement, but this is MY choice and for the most part I’m happy with the balance with my studio time.

    I also maintain my own website and update it regularly, send email newsletters and have an “Insight” page on my website for people to read about my process, media and inspiration. I have incorporated several of Alyson’s suggestions from her posts and her book to get my website, bio and artist’s statement where they are today – THANK YOU ALYSON!

    But, I have also had really good success without a blog. In fact when the blogging craze first started I made a point to research the high end artists that were in galleries I really admired and I found hardly any of them had blogs – maybe they are just too busy painting for a living.
    I think blogging is wonderful for artists and galleries IF you are posting on a regular (at least weekly) basis. I cannot commit to this or I would have to cut into my studio time and that is precious enough as it is. I think blogging is probably more effective for artists who are wanting to connect directly with their collectors. I am going the gallery route since that works better with my lifestyle and schedule. I also see so many supposed “art blogs” that wander into the personal and political which I see as unprofessional.

    Carol, when I submitted my work to fine art publishers several years ago, I didn’t even have a website and my work was published and then sub-licensed as well. You can definitely make an impact with professionally submitted materials and Alyson’s book and posts cover this as well.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for all you do Alyson!
    Casey Craig

  • I’m afraid I’m one of those floundering blog-ists who isn’t keeping up. A lot of trying as opposed to doing, I guess. Time to set myself a schedule!

  • Ready, Set, OMG
    To Blog or not to Blog isn’t really my question …it’s where/how to start. Do I take a class? Do I read a book? Do I use an already active service or start my own? Too much information (perhaps I should put down this second cup of coffee?)

    I know this is something I want to do and need to learn, but where to start??

  • All this talk about blogging had re-inspired me to keep trying! Nothing replaces just doing —like the Nike slogan says!

  • Casey: It’s so good to know your limits. Sounds like you have your hands full.

    Mary: Get your Web guru to install WordPress (free!) onto your website and configure it. After that, it’s pretty easy.

    Carol: That’s great! Just do it–regularly.

  • I’m one of those artist that have both a website and a blog. My blog gets twice as many visits as my website even though the two are linked together. People seem to like to read articles. Your article was great. Thanks for the tips.

  • I’d also add, “have thin skin” to your list. Excellent blogs allow commenting, it builds community and permits additional exposure. However, some people may not agree or what you are doing does not satisfy their tastes. Be prepared for constructive criticism and a few trolls.

    • That’s a good one, Clinton. I’m very fortunate that almost everyone who comments on ABB is nice and respectful – even when disagreeing with me.

      If I get disagreeing emails, I encourage them to post them on the blog so that we can have a healthy conversation. It does take awhile to get to that point. The first disagreements are uncomfortable.

  • I’ve been blogging since Feb. 2010 and love it. Step-by-step demos and tips for other artists. Post once a week and thought that was enough. Didn’t want to wear out my welcome. But sounds like that’s not enough?

    My students say my blog is really helpful, so in an effort to expand readership, I started twitter couple days ago. I now have three followers: a local photographer, a business advertising their products and Alyson! Maybe there’s hope for me yet.