There were many insightful and provocative presentations at the 2009 ACC Conference. After thinking about all that went on, I want to focus on three major insights that seemed to be most relevant to making a viable livelihood from your art and craft.
2) The evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review and online search.
3) The need to bring value and commitment to a community.
This post will focus on the first item.
Crash Brooch © 2009
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Available on Etsy
The Internet has demolished the monopoly of the gallery as an exclusive representation system. Anyone (any artist or maker) with a keyboard and a mouse can show their work online to anyone interested in looking. And any collector or buyer can look at art and craft from around the world while simply sitting at a desktop or notebook computer. The Long Tail is indeed very long.
This straightforward fact has dramatically opened opportunities for artists and makers to make a living, if they use this channel effectively. The Internet enables a wide variety of opportunities, but no guarantees. New sites come and go. Old sites evolve, some improve and some get stale. My key message here is that artists and makers should utilize these opportunities to enhance their marketing and to increase their potential to sell their work. If you sit on the sidelines, the opportunities will pass you by.
But you must be diligent. The Internet keeps changing in the blink of an eye. Adjust your mindset to be ready to further adapt and keep an eye out for newer web business models. Be ready to enjoy something different when it comes along.
More than any time in history, the individual artist and maker can directly reach the consumer market.
In 2003, I put up the first pages of my web site...at the time I thought I was late. How ironic since so many people are still working on getting their web sites going, or others with no web site at all. In March 2008, after the Professional Development Seminar regarding New Marketing Trends and Web 2.0, I jumped into Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Crafthaus, Etsy, and ObjectFetish/Jewelry. Quite a few crafts people questioned me the whole way.
Who knows where it will go, but I know for a fact that each one of these platforms builds on one another. The HTML that I've learned (teaching myself how to work on my web site) now helps me on my blog or social networking sites every day. Every one of these sites links to the others, literally. Tomorrow I am listening to another online class on marketing. There are tons of information out there and lots of it is FREE!
My lifestyle and livelihood are now linked forever to the 21st century tools of the Internet. Let's grab the Long Tail and go for the ride.
Stay tuned for the next two segments in the next few days:
2) the evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review/online search;
3) the need to bring value and commitment to a community.
Then we will get into some practical tips for online marketing.
Harriete Estel Berman