Hey Art Fam! This week we’re doing a lot of foundational work on artistalley.io, including designs on how the main gallery page will function and grow over time.
I’ve thought a lot about the value and purpose of the “art wall”. Every artist website (like Deviantart, Artstation) is focused on turning our artwork into an addictive scrollfest of eyecandy.
But who does that serve, really? Sure, I like it when I’m on the wall, and people like or comment on my work, but unless I’m a mega-popular artist posting every week, how will I ever cut through that noise?
And why am I so desperate to be on that wall in the first place?
It got me asking a different question …
Why do I share my work in the first place?
I sat down for a few hours, really thought about it, and sketched out my thoughts. Here’s what I ended up with.
When we share our work online, we’re hoping for an outcome, always. What that outcome is, I think, is one or all of these 4 main things:
1: Making a Connection
Art makes us feel things. Maybe not always deep or profound things, but it’s there. It delights us, makes us mad, evokes thought, tells a story, sells a product.
If art is not shared, it cannot make a connection. Is is art at all, then?
We create art in order to make a connection, tell a story, or share a feeling.
2. Finding Work.
If you’ve dedicated your life to making art, the reality is, we needs to make some cheddah. And we can’t do that unless we get ourselves out there and start getting some eyeballs on what we’re doing.
This is by far the hardest part of sharing online, especially when you are starting out. You know no one, no one knows you, your followers list is crickets and oh god no what do I do?!
Assembling your work into a gallery of your very best stuff gets the ball rolling. Every new thing you blast out to the abyss of the internet is one more attempt to get the right person to see you and give you money to make the things you love.
We share our work to build a portfolio, a reputation, a following - to earn a living.
3. Improving & Inspiring, and being Inspired.
We cannot create in a bubble. The pandemic has been especially hard on the art community because we’re now stuck inside with only the window of our computers and phones to touch the people we share our work with. And for the most part, it seems more about blasting out to the abyss than invoking real, thoughtful critique with fellow artists. We hold each other to standards. We create cool stuff then see someone else’s better stuff and have to make even better stuff and … and …. :D
A major part of sharing your work is the recieving others’ work as well, in exchange. A healthy creative community inspires critique and offers a safe space to talk about things that other artists deal with is so precious. And painfully missing online. (For now :) )
We share as part of our role in the larger tribe that is ‘Artist’.
4. Sharing our Process
Doing this last bit takes deliberate effort, but offers exponential rewards in the other three pillars. When we share how we’ve done things, we not only connect with others that love the kinds of things we do, but we look great to potential clients and employers, build some awesome rep and communication skills, find work, and get even more inspired by how we improve the lives of others.
It’s not just about the completed thing. More than ever, it’s even more valuable to share how we get there as we go.
Building a better (Art) Wall
So how does all this translate into a website? Can it? I think so. By cross-referencing the main goals of an artist with the purpose of a gallery website, we can make something that is both collaborative and supportive of an artist’s goals without making them fight each other for exposure scraps around a tiny table.
I’d love to get into that in next week’s blog post.
What about you? Did I miss something? What motivates you to share your work? Why do you make Art in the first place? I’d love to hear from you.