How Artists’ have evolved using online communities in social media spaces

Social media is incredibly popular in this day and age, with roughly 29% of the worlds population having at least 1 active social media account according to an info graph on wearesocial.net. One of the main online media spaces are called ‘Online Communities’ which are spaces where people with similar interests can come together and actively participate in sharing, discussing and learning different topics; from artwork to DIY’s, photography to politics, if you can think of it chances are there is already one out there.

In my opinion one of the heaviest population of users are Artists’, with a huge number of spaces dedicated solely to artists’ and artwork with sites such as DeviantArt.com with ‘according to wikipedia’ over 25 million members as of 2013 and applications and platforms such as Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest.. Not to mention the huge amount of blog spots just for Artists’ and sharing artwork.

Social media has really helped by giving artists’ a way to discuss, share and recreate artwork with other artists and even people who aren’t doing the artwork themselves but enjoy looking at other peoples work. The main advantage however, is the fact the artist now has a means of showing the world their artwork. In a not so long ago past, the only way you could get your artwork out to be viewed would be via museums and smaller art galleries and most up and coming artists would never have a chance. Julie King from todaymade.com quoted that ‘Images are King on social media’ which is a very true statement. If you look at the news feed on Facebook every 2nd post is a picture and you find yourself skipping the text and going from picture to picture, being that they stand out and are simple to decipher. In the same article here it shows just how powerful social media and communities can be for artists’ wanting to share their work with 4 basic steps;
1. Create a virtual gallery (This is to generate a fanbase over a period of time)
2. Spread the word online about your gallery and upcoming events (To keep people interested and up to date)
3. Teach others your methods (People often look at artwork and want to incorporate those styles for themselves)
4. Sell! (Put a price on some of your pieces of work)
Without online communities this would have been a much different story and chances are no one would ever see your work.

As incredible and rapidly evolving artwork has been created, shared and discussed over the last decade due to online communities, it is not without its downsides. According to this interesting article by Brian Sherwin some of the main cons to sharing art in an online community is
– unhelpful feedback from other members regardless of work quality
– cultivation of uninformed opinions such as copyright law being spread from one community to another

All in all online communities for artwork and the way artists’ use them have changed the way art will be viewed forever and is a great way for anyone who wants to get their work out into the world.

Julie Neidlinger (2013) How Visual Artists Can Use Social Media To Get Famous (Sorta), Available at: https://todaymade.com/blog/social-media-artists/ (Accessed: 11th May 2015).

Brian Sherwin (2011) Online Art Community: The pros and cons of online art groups,Available at: http://faso.com/fineartviews/35111/online-art-community-the-pros-and-cons-of-online-art-groups (Accessed: 11th May 2015).

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