Two years ago the RISD Museum invited me to give a lecture on social media for visual artists. This came completely out of the blue. I was surprised that they asked me, and I didn’t think at the time that I knew that much more than the average artist about social media. However, once I started preparing for the presentation, I couldn’t believe how much there was that needed to be explained. I had no trouble figuring out what needed to be said. If anything, one lecture felt insufficient for everything I wanted to cover!
Later, I realized that if I could lecture on social media for artists, it only made sense to have a companion lecture about websites for artists. You really do need to have both social media and a website today. While the two are very different, they do need to be thought about as a complete publicity package that support each other.
To my surprise, both lectures have been really popular in the Boston area and my events schedule just keeps getting more full. I think a large part of the popularity is that the content is very specific, and also that this is a topic that isn’t covered very often.
On top of the lectures, I taught the Senior Print Workshop Seminar last fall for the RISD Printmaking Department, where I designed a number of assignments, discussions, and exercises which all revolved around social media and artist websites. Between the lectures and this course, I feel like I’ve hit my stride with these subjects.
There are tons of workshops and content online about how to use social media/build a website, but most of that is for companies, businesses, retail stores, etc. The needs of a visual artist are so incredibly specific and different than what a retail store needs. Therefore, the advice that a retail store might find useful is practically useless to a visual artist. I’m an odd combination in that I’m a practicing studio artist who is highly versed in social media.
I have Artprof.org to thank for that experience; building the site prototype from scratch by myself, doing countless usability testing sessions, eventually working with the web developer and maintaining the site have all given me the skills to see what needs to be done.
One of the greatest challenges of Artprof.org is that we cater to a gigantic range of ages: parents have told me that their 11 year old watches their videos, all the way to lifelong learners. While this is wonderful and exciting, it triples the amount of time I have to invest into our social media since there are big generational differences between what age group uses which platforms. I always joke that we should have built a website that is for teenage girls, we wouldn’t have to do remotely the same amount of work spreading ourselves across all the platforms!