Before I showed you what was happening in in my studio (and lovely to get some links to other creative spaces) I was musing about using social media. I have found a few things to be useful, and thought I would pass them on. If you know of other helpful ones, please share in the comments.
“Show your work” by Austin Kleon is one of those books that seemed to jump into my hands. After the first couple of pages I knew I wanted to read it. It begins with this quote from Honore de Balzac:
For artists, the great problem to solve is how to get oneself noticed.
Artists of all stripes these days are so lucky; the internet gives us immediate access to millions of people around the world. As Kleon says ‘In order to be found, you have to be findable’ and a big part of that is sharing. His premise is
…..by generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge [artists] often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it — for fellowship, feedback and patronage…..this book is about how to influence others by letting them steal from you.
It’s an interesting concept and one that makes sense to me. I know that I have learnt so much from people who give generously of their knowledge, support, feedback. They are (you are!) the people I want to hang around with. And I want to share too. Klein says (and forgive so many snippets from him, but there are lots of bits that grab me) the minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others, share a reading list, point to reference materials, show a step-by-step video. Give credit to others — “Share the work of others as if it were your own, treating it with respect and care.”
Kleon advocates learning out in the open, out there on the Internet. Like him I believe that we are life long learners and the more we do something the better we get at it. He has this great quote from Clay Shirky in his book “Cognitive Surplus”:
On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.
Which leads Kleon to advocate daily dispatches, where you show the world, or your little part of it, what you have been working on; it’s a thinking out loud time. It allows the audience to see the process behind your creation, and to engage with you and your work. That engagement might be as simple as an Instagram heart or as complex as a helpful critique. It may even be a purchase of the work.
Once a day, after you have done your day’s work, go back to your documentation [photo, video, diagram, notes, interview…you get the picture] and find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what that piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you are in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you have just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor or write about what you learned. If you have lots of projects out into the world you can report on how they’re doing — you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.
The book is crammed with things that make me want to underline and quote. But I will leave it there, because this is where I am at the moment. Let me share the link to Kleon, because, as he says, if there is no link no one can follow it
and to his website, blog, newsletter
I am teaching myself how to do these daily dispatches, learning from others about how the internet world works and sharing what I know when I can. That’s why social media has been on my mind lately. It’s why I am finding information and newsletters about engaging with it useful.
I have come across Meighan O’Toole very recently. In fact I found her through Instagram. Her strength is using social media and sends out a weekly newsletter. I know that there are so many people who do something similar; if you know of a good one, please let me know in the comments.
I like Meigan because she is one of those who generously shares her knowledge. Her business is to connect people and technology, especially social media. I guess she knows that if she offers sensible, usable advice then people will come to her for the paid sessions. Her free newsletter is full of resources, tips, links to articles about social media and so on.
The last one is the newsletter from Red Dot Blog. Jason Horejs is the owner of Xanadu Gallery, so, of course his information is aimed at visual artists. I always find something of interest in the newsletter, and the comments are worth reading too.
Guiding hands are such wonderful things. Do you have a support that you would like to share? And if it is your own, that’s okay too!