Pins and Needles: Proof that Words Can Help You Be Found Online

Guest blogger: Kim Bruce

Chris Tyrell of Opus Framing says that people who buy your work not only have a monetary investment but an emotional investment as well.  Chris wrote that artists need to talk about their art because:

. . .  very often buyers of art (especially those who do not buy art often) want to have something to say about the work they buy because when they put their work on display in their homes or offices they want to have something intelligent to say in response to the compliments it generates. They value being able to respond by saying such things as, “the artist told me that . . . ” or “the inspiration of the work is an interesting story. . . . “

Having an insightful anecdote or two to tell admirers of the purchased art provides a lot of the emotional benefit to making the purchase.

After much resistance and with Chris’s article making so much (common) sense I finally started to write about my work online.

About 6 months into my blogging foray I received a phone call from New Haven artist Suzan Shutan. She was in the process of finalizing an exhibition proposal on artists that work with pins and needles and needed to turn over the proposal over to the curator  within 24 hours. But on a whim she decided to Google “pins & needles” to see what else was out there.

Kim Bruce, Dress Maker 1. Cast beeswax, pins, and gauze, 8 x 8 x 5 inches. ©The Artist

It just so happened that I wrote a blog post on my fine art site about my work with pins and needles.

Suzan found my post on Google, thought my work fit perfectly with the proposal, and picked up the phone.  She was able to select the work she wanted from my website, grab my bio and lo and behold I have been included in the exhibition proposal with some pretty amazing artists.

What astounds me is that Suzan and I are a continent apart and with a simple Google search we were able to connect – because I was finally writing about my work.

I firmly believe that if I had not started to write about my work that this would not have happened. How could it if there was nothing out there to find?

If you have a success story about how your website or blog has furthered your art career please leave a comment below. We would love to share it with our readers.

Kim Bruce runs Artbiz: the business of art “web design,” where she creates websites for creative types. She is an artist herself and uses WordPress as both a CMS and a blog. Kim works out of her office/studio located in the foothills of Alberta just outside of Calgary.

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15 comments to Pins and Needles: Proof that Words Can Help You Be Found Online

  • Unexpectedly, I was contacted this winter by artist, Elizabeth Sanda who lives in Santa Fe. She was recommending artists for a pastel invitational at Abend Gallery in Denver. She came across my website and contacted me to see if I would be interested. Now I will be included in this exhibit in September with some of the most well known pastel artists (still unbelievable). The exhibit will also have coverage in Southwest Art and I will have a photo of one of my pastels in the article. This is the most exciting thing that has happened in my art career at this point. I’m very grateful to Elizabeth and will be meeting with her soon on a trip to Santa Fe.

  • I recently wrote an article (http://www.blog.jaimeetodd.com/artist-beware/) on my blog about an online art competition that had pretty onerous contest rules that I felt most artists weren’t really aware of. Basically the contest rules state that if you submit your artwork to them, whether you win or not, you lose all copyrights to the work and that the submission was considered a work for hire. After posting it on my blog and sharing it on a few social media websites, the blog post spread like wild fire and soon I was getting feedback and emails from artists from all over the world that were appalled by the contest rules. They also shared their own experiences about being taken advantage of with similar contest rules. As a result, the blog post generated more curiosity and interest in my background and my artwork. I’m really glad that I started writing my blog because it has really helped to connect me to a greater audience.

  • Letting others know what is going on good or bad builds a stronger community and enpowers artists to take control over their careers. If enough of us spread the word about things like this we could put them out of business. We could but will we?

  • Kim,

    I really think we have to keep having the dialogue about such things and urge artists to collectively put their foot down about such things. Unfortunately, too many continue to pursue these types of contests because they are desperate for the exposure. A friend of mine submitted his work even after reading and understanding the rules of the contest; he just thought it was worth the exposure. It wasn’t until I explained to him that submitting his work meant that he would have to ask the company permission for future use of his artwork did he seem to have regrets.

  • I might be slightly biased because artbiz.ca set up my website for me (thanks Kim!) but I’m totally convinced in the power of the web. I’m not selling directly but I arranged gallery representation using my site and have sold at least three paintings (that I know of!) because people were able to contact me via my site and I could direct them to see my live work. I don’t know if they’d have bought without some communication with me or not, but I have to believe it helps.

  • I read your “bad galleries” post, Kim, and took it to heart….

  • Hi Frances
    I think anything we can do as artists to get our work out there helps. Be it website, blog, Facebook etc. Personally I believe the “gallery system” is in a state of flux. With galleries like Diane Farris closing and going totally on line you have to believe that something is happening.

    With the advent of blogging and social media more artists are taking control of their careers and perhaps, maybe, shifting the balance of power.

    You do a great job utilizing all of these tools and I enjoy watching you grow!

  • Wow, thank you all for, not only such great info, but also for your dedication. I use facebook, but don’t seem to have much “traffic” other than those I personally invite to view. And I have a new (and not finished) website, but have no idea if it’s being viewed by people “googling.” What can I do, how do I make sure that people will find my art when they do searches? Do I need to have a blog as well?
    Thanks again!
    Susan/RedBarnArt

    • Eve

      Hi Susan – there is plenty you can do. For a start make sure you are tracking your visitors – google analytics is a good tool for this. Just do a google search and you should be able to find out how to insert the small piece of code into your website so you can see who is visiting the site, how many visitors, what keywords they have typed into google to find you etc. Content is SO important so make sure you do include text about your work as this post states, as much as you can and make sure you update the website constantly. There are plenty of resources online including art biz blog of course (way too many to include in a comment) to help you with basic marketing of your site. These days, it’s not enough to just create a website and wait for traffic. Blogs are great – regular posts means Google sees you as “active”. Think about why you are blogging and what – good to have a strategy. Hope this helps.
      Eve.

      • Blogs are great for helping speed up indexing of your site. Search engines love new and fresh content. My story above, Pins & Needles, happened with in 6 months from when I started to blog.

        To find out how many and which pages of your site are actually indexed with Google enter “site:www.example.com” into the Google search bar. Obvioulsy you need to replace example.com with your own url.

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