Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Artist Blogs - Are They Written For The Wrong People?

Jester's Rattle
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Like many artists I am still trying to find my way with my blog and one thing that I wonder about is am I writing it for the right people.  Who do I want to read my blog and what is its purpose?

 Many art blogs seem to be more for other artists, with technique tips and marketing ideas, and not much for non artists who are art lovers.
As an artist I love to see what other artists are doing in their studios but wouldn't it be great if a blog was also really interesting for art enthusiasts and potential buyers as well.  What does it need to make it that way?

Perhaps it would tell more about the creative art process and give a personal insight into who the artist really is and what motivates them?  Maybe we talk about these things but just don't go deep enough or expose ourselves enough. Do we focus on showing our professional side and not let some of the nitty gritty raw feelings come out?  Would that make it more compelling?

What do you think?  As a non artist what would you really like to read about?


Gwenn said...

I've been thinking a lot about this recently with my own blog. I try to keep my offerings diverse, but when I'm not paying attention I always slide back into more technical stuff! For me, I think it's because I'm passionate about sharing about the business of art. Sharing about the more personal aspects of my process is a little less appealing!

Susanne said...

Thanks Gwen for your feedback. It's a challenge to write a blog that is interesting to both artists and art enthusiasts. Now that so many artists are self representing and don't have gallery personal to tell their stories, artists have to do that themselves. I keep thinking what I like to read about on my favorite artists sites.

Eva said...

If you are blogging for sales then you need to need to take a a marketing approach and make it exclusively geared for that. There are tons of books and material online and in the book stores for that. I believe the only thing other artists are interested in (at least for me) is about your journey as an artist and techniques. My current blog is my community of friends and fellow artists. It's about sharing. My website is where I offer my work for sale and I may create a marketing blog link on that someday. However, I have never been aggressive about making money. I give more things away than sell so I'm the last one to give advice.

Anonymous said...

I've been finding that my blog continues to evolve. At the end of last year, I received a summary from Wordpress about which posts appeared to be the most popular, based on the number of comments. As a result, my husband suggested that I do more posts about tools, which has become my Friday feature called Talkin' Tools. I discuss the various tools I use in my metalsmithing work and I have found a lot of people reading these because unbiased opinions (those not from the manufacturer) on tools are hard to find.

In the spring, I found someone was actually copying my work based on some of the more detailed posts that I did on how I created a piece. In a sense, this put me in a position to be less open about how I create my pieces. I will still share glimpses and completed a point. It has also put me in a position to hone my skill set and use techniques that require a more experience hand.

In the past month, I decided to start writing about my Thoughts on Art as an insight into my mindset as I go about starting a new series or what inspires. I think this will provide more insights about me as an artist and I hope that it will be something that appeals to both the artists and non-artists who read my blog.

I believe all of us want to continue to grow and part of that involves a growth evolution in our blog posts too.

I definitely think you are on track with your thoughts about this Susanne.

~ Kathleen Krucoff

Susanne said...

I think the way you are going about writing your blog is right on Kathleen. I think that your Tools Blog is a great idea and is especially wonderful for other artists who are in the process of learning and improving their skills while your new blog posts on your thoughts about art are great for both artists and art lovers. Well done!

Susanne said...

Eva, I agree with you. What I most want to read about is the artists journey telling both the ups, downs and discoveries of the creative process. I especially like seeing photos of the work in process and then the final picture of how it looks in its new home when it finally goes to one.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Both artists and art lovers are always interested in how an artist approaches their work and why they do what they do. I highlights lots of such blogs on my blog for the benefits of peers and collectors alike

However there's lots of different ways of writing an art blog. Write about what interests you is always a good place to start. My audience found me.

Susanne said...

Thanks Katherine. Yes you really have found your audience and you have had great success with your blog. You obviously love to write. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your good input.

Casey Klahn said...

Suzanne, I have often asked myself this very question. The interaction on our blogs among artists is a necessary social event - a leavening, if you will. But, I want the broader audience, too.

One thing I do is to go outside of the genre to other blogs and sites, and read and comment there. Also, I look for other platforms than Blogger.

I also think that good writing is a critical skill, along with one's presentation. I guess I would say: "mix it up!"

Susanne said...

Thanks for your input Casey. You made some very good points. I like to mix it up a bit too to add variety.

I also think it's important to visit other blogs and see what they are writing about and how they present it. The only problem is finding the time even though it's a very enjoyable and interesting thing to do.

vivien said...

I think a blog aimed simply at buyers wouldn't have a wide readership?

I'm with the majority here in that I just write about and show what interests me.

Sometimes it's work in progress, sometimes information on process, sometime about exhibitions or thoughts on work, techniques etc

It has grown links with some very interesting people and a great exchange of knowledge and sometimes artwork, as in a sketchbook exchange and postcard exchange within a small group.

I really like to read/hear about the thought processes and methods of other artists.

The business side, my weak spot! is good to read about when people have expert knowledge too.

Susanne said...

Vivian, thank you for your post and thoughts. It does seem that what most people want to read is the artist's process and thoughts on creating while most artists want to mix it up a bit by also writing about ideas and things that interest them.

One other thing that comes through in many things I have been reading is that both art enthusiasts and artists love to read a story about the art work. What inspired it, what it's about, what it means to the artist etc.

I love your mention of what wonderful connections you have made through your blog. Isn't the internet amazing for this.

Jessica Rosemary Shepherd said...

I write my blog for myself. It is a virtual diary, and because of this, I can be frank. I'll say I'm experiencing a creative block if I am, or if I am panicking or if I think this is the best thing I have painted in my life so far. Sadly though, as the years have progressed, I have found myself concentrating more on botanical illustration because of my readers interests. However, to overcome any feeling of being forced to narrow my options, I have another two blogs to document my feelings, sights and ideas. I like the idea of a virtual diary with images, because unlike a sketchbook, I get to see the finished pieces of work on a screen. With them uploaded onto a screen I can then scrutinise them so see where I need to improve. Over time, as I flick through the pages I can see if I am getting better or not.

When it comes to selling my finished pieces I find that my facebook page and website are the most productive. Advertising completed works on my blog just doesn't work.

Great question - great post. Thank you for making me think about this!

Susanne said...

Thank you for your post Jessica and interesting points. I really like your idea of a virtual diary. The other thing I found interesting and your post jogged my memory about it, is the number of artists who have not one, but several blogs. Kathleen Krucoff has her "Talking Tools" and "Thoughts on Art" for example. What this shows to me is that blogs are as much for the writer as they are for the reader. When we write about anything we have to clarify our thoughts and this is a real benefit.
Your comment about where you make your sales from is interesting too. So many artists are now selling via Facebook. All quite amazing! How the internet has changed the world.

Erika Swartzkopf said...

Just write it for you and make it as personal as you can - I like to look at inspiration photos as much as I do art and process of doing it, good luck, check out mine here:
Alohaa ;)

Theresa Bayer said...

Great post! I've often thought of that aspect of writing for both artists and collectors. Sometimes artists are collectors, too, though.
Since my work is highly imaginative, people always want to know the "story behind it" and "where do you get your ideas" so that's usually what I blog about, but I also throw in some ideas about technique.

Susanne said...

Theresa, you are right, artists are collectors too. After looking at your work on your website I can certainly see why you write about the stories behind your works on your blog. Really interesting and fun work.

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

A very thoughtful discussion Susanne! I've been struggling with the same question myself. Although my initial reason for starting a blog was to use it as a marketing tool, because I'm a crappy marketer to begin with, I didn't really know how to do it. So it has just become a means for me to share my artistic activities - completed work and work in progress, shows, classes etc. Since silk painting is relatively uncommon, I describe my basic techniques to answer the question "So what's silk painting anyway?" for both other artists and non-artists. I know you're supposed to track and analyze your stats, but that's just one more thing in the day that I don't have time to do. I just write about what I'm doing and whoever reads it, reads it. That's probably a very inefficient approach, but there you have it. :)

Susanne said...

It was interesting to read your comments on this post Deborah. I think I started a blog because I read that artists should have one! I had no idea what I could find to write about that would be the least bit interesting to anyone else so it has been a little bit of everything as I try and find my way. I agree that monitoring stats is just another job to do and all the internet stuff can take up far too much time. In the end I think writing a blog is a great way to clarify my ideas on art and process and like you, also gives me a place to tell people about upcoming shows etc.

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