October 29, 2007

Art Advice, Blogs, et al...

2007 - Vermilion View - 60x48 *

It took a good long while for artists to get on the personal website wagon, and many still depend on their galleries to be their showcase... that's okay, I'm just observing. Goodness knows there are plenty of us now taking full advantage of that option.

So now I see another blogger, Kristy Hall, is advising all artists to blog, the latest advocate of many 'art advisers' singing the same song. Well, don't waste your breath on most of my dear friends. Wouldn't I love to follow their careers, their fun and games, their ups and downs... even if they reserved their blogs for professional updates or dealt mostly with their devoted dogs... I'd read every post. I miss my real-time art buddies, scattered as they are all around the country. Okay, maybe that's not what Kristy (and Alyson and all the others except Charlie Finch) are promoting blogs for... but whatever their reasons, I agree.

KH sez: Many artists work in isolation and blogging can help reduce that all pervading sense of invisibility. I gotta tell you, isolation tends to grow with age... I don't consider that a totally bad thing, it's usually due to personal choices but it's still a stark reality. My social life (aahahaha!) is more online than off... a LOT more.

KJ sez: When you’re blogging about your own work, you have to think about your work. This is my strongest point when explaining why I blog. In my case, I'm reviewing my entire career and trying to put it into perspective, some kind of order. I love the idea of having readers but I'd like to think that I'd blog even if there were none. This is such a valuable tool at this point in my career... I want to get it down before I forget or get disoriented. Oh, hey... maybe I'll get it better than it really was? Who would know?

Stats say this blog has a respectable number of readers... I can call only a dozen or so by name, all artists, so who are the others? Would there be any "collectors" out there? Some blogs are aimed at collectors... on the pretense that a potential buyer would want to know more about the artist... I'm not convinced. I suspect I've done more harm than good to my career via this blog... pretty evident I'm not a flashy, upscale loft type... just your regular, older than the boomers type hermit... not very flashy at all.

And there are soooo many blogs out there... do we really want to encourage more? Other than artists reading about other artists, comparing notes, maybe even a little one-ups-man-ship (nah, we wouldn't do that!) what good do we serve? Well, actually, some are so well written (and illustrated) that they could qualify as books in serial format. I like that!

Art email lists offer conversation and a kind of companionship, but blogs offer self preservation... a way to leave our mark... a mark that tells more about us than the painted canvas ever could... should anyone want to know.

* The above painting shows the difficulty in producing a well defined red in digital format. Looked fine in the editing program but smears when uploaded.


Annette Bush said...

Gotta think about this, Karen. But I think you are more right than not. I blog for the disciple of writing. I use my personal experiences because, like you, I want some to look at where I've been and I want my grandchildren to know a little about me as well. I don't have the same kind of career path that you have had, but I have referenced some of my pre-blog experiences. I think that even with a few readers who might question, the "stream of consciousness" writing must be a little more coherent and that's a good thing. A little invisibility is also a good thing. I can't imagine if there were a crowd of readers! My studio is not that big!

Annie B said...

I completely agree with your statement that blogging about your work makes you have to think about your work. Articulating what I'm doing and why, while it may not be all that interesting to anyone else, is quite fascinating to me! I learn a lot that way about where I'm coming from and where I'm going.

Another benefit of blogging for me has been the assistance I've gotten from other folks working in my (somewhat technical) medium. I've "met" other artists from around the globe that I would never have known about if not for blogging.

I can't say that blogging has helped me with sales, as it seems to be mostly other artists that I converse with. But who knows who's lurking? I think only a small number of readers leave comments.

Your blog is one that I read regularly -- thoughtful topics, well written, frequently updated and great work. I'll take this opportunity to say thank you! -ab

KJ said...

Annette, you make me want to shake you! I can't imagine anyone who has done more in the name of art than you. You're way ahead of the game when it comes to moving and shaking your corner of the art world. You have much to say and I, for one, would enjoy reading more of the details.

Annie... Wow! Thanks for the positive vibes! I'll just underscore that blogging makes for a great support group of friends... reason enough to keep on keyboarding.

kate said...

Interesting post - I'm not an artist, but a gardener. It seems as if we all find our niches by interest group. I have tried to broaden my blog to write about all kinds of things that interest me and that irritates the gardeners who want only gardening things. I wonder sometimes if there's a way to broaden the blog-reading world so it isn't just artists reading artist blogs, gardeners reading garden blogs etc.

bridgette said...

I read your blog because I looooove your paintings. I have enjoyed reading about the person behind the art too! As an artist who is just starting to find her way out into the world, I find your blog inspiring. I started my blog to document my journey as well as to better articulate my thoughts behind my work. It's been a great tool for me.

Thanks for sharing yourself here!

MMComstock said...

I always read your blog, Karen, because it's pretty much the only way I can hear your voice these days. And such a thoughtfull, straightforward, real voice. By gosh, you even make Alabama tempting.....

Rebecca Crowell said...

KJ, thanks for your blog, it is one of the best-always interesting--personal enough to involve the reader but not "true confession" time. Your tone is friendly, professional and intelligent.

I too wonder who reads my blog, and once in awhile get some unexpected feedback. But everyone is pretty quiet for the most part. I think a some people hesitate to leave comments because they don't want their name on the web--not that this makes sense, because you can always use a screen name. But I have several people who send comments to me via email who won't post comments online.

Bottom line, I blog because I enjoy writing, and like you, I want to keep a record of my art life. I used to keep extensive written journals--these have dwindled since blogging came along, though I save the juicier bits for those!

KJ said...

Sending many thanks for all the supportive comments, some of my replies haven't been on the mark and I apologize... too much rushing around and not enough grasping what was really said. Let's keep on blogging... and that goes for Margot, too!

Sheree Rensel said...

Karen, I have had my artist website up for years. I started my blog a year ago. I can't say it has done anything for my art sales at all. However, I can say I have met many people from the presence. Also, I see both my website and blog as accomplishments in themselves. I printed a year's worth of blog pages out to keep in concrete form. I am amazed at the mass of pages and all the writing I have done this year.
I don't really care if my sites are "popular". I do care that I get a clear view of what is in my head at given moments and some people enjoy reading about it.
As for art blogs and collectors, I side with you. I am not seeing a connection.