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Art & Social Media was the Topic at the last SMCSac panel event

The Sacramento Social Media Club (SMCSac) held another successful panel and networking event last week, this time focusing on “The Art of Social Media."  Four area artists–all working in different media–and an artist’s representative discussed their uses of social media platforms to further their art and their careers. Participating were Jen Stewart of Jen Stewart Photography; Eben Burgoon, co-creator of Eben07 webcomic; Marianne Bland, visual artist and manager of SactoMetro Etsy Street Team; Veronica Delgado, owner of Vera Icon PR; and Jeff Musser, visual artist and blogger.

The evening began and ended with active networking sessions, fostered by a selection of artisan pizza (from Hot Italian Pizza & Panini Bar), and various hard ciders (from Two Rivers Cider). In between the socializing and eating was a panel discussion so jam-packed with information that those LiveTweeting the event couldn’t keep up. For an excellent overview, go to Michelle Ponto’s writeup on News10.net. This Sacramento Press article will try to give you some idea of the depth of the conversation, as well as providing links to some of the sites the panelists discussed.

Julie Berge, Program Director of SMCSac, met with the panelists the week before the event for the express purpose of getting to the heart of their potential offerings. Her questions bear out the success of her mission. She began the discussion by saying, “At last week’s meeting, someone stated, ‘the more you know an artist, the more you love their art’, and that started the theme of the evening: ways in which connecting with the public and with collectors enhance both the creative and the merchandising experience.

Jen Stewart discussed how her social media presence on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter, in which she shares personal information, has created opportunities for her photography. “You create a relationship with the people who read you and that can lead to business. Maybe the bride has never heard of you, but her grandma has.” The result, says Stewart, is the connection becomes personal and the recommendation carries more weight.

Eben Burgoon talked about how he uses Twitter to bring his comic characters to life.  They each have their own Twitter handles and that works to creates their own personalities. In addition, Burgoon urges all artists contemplating a web presence to buy their url even before they’re ready to go on-line. “Branding is crucial” in Web 2.0, he said, and you’d hate to find your brand name was already taken by someone else.

Marianne Bland, as the manager of Sacramento’s Etsy community, was able to extend the conversation to the use of social media to network with your art community. Etsy is not only an international online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods, it’s also an online community on its own. That enables buyers and sellers to interact on a personal level. Even more, however, it facilitates dialogue and relationships between artists who usually work alone.

Bland also spoke to ways in which she works to create content on her blog that enhances her connections with her collectors. She and Jeff Musser both use their blogs to showcase works in progress. That creates the sense that the blog reader is a part of the creative process of the artist, and that works to build the collector’s relationship with the artist.

Building that relationship was also important to Veronica Delgado, who is an artists’ representative. “When someone is buying your artwork,” she said, “they are making an investment in you.” It’s important, therefore, to create that space where the relationship can take place. Delgado urges artists just starting out to get a Facebook page, set up an Album and put photos of their work on it. “Then you can send an email to all your collectors that you’re on Facebook.”

The other thing all the panelists agreed on was the importance of spending time nurturing your social media connections. Blog posts must have content and Tweets must do more than promote. Art, after all, no matter the medium is a communication between artist and collector, a relationship that goes two ways.

Next month– Tuesday, August 17–the SMCSac evening panel event will look at Sports and Social Media.   

 

Some of the sites the panelists mentioned were:

Marianne Bland:

Etsy.com
BluDomain.com is a good template website provider & host with an image-heavy focus
MOO.com is a great place for artists to get business cards. They have mini cards that are half the size of business cards, $20 for 100, but you can upload up to 100 different images if you want.

Eben Burgoon

Artist Porfolio Sharing:  
DeviantArt – art community site for artists to display work and have it shared with the online community
(http://www.deviantart.com)



For cartoonists/illustrators looking to get a start on the web: 
Webcomics.   (
http://www.webcomics.com

)

The Webcomic List Forums:
 (http://www.thewebcomiclist.com/forums/

)

ComicPress 2.9 – a wordpress theme built specifically to display sequential art  (
http://comicpress.org/)



Copyright Theft Watchdogs: 
You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice  
A blog about copyright and design theft, notably busted Hot Topics thefts of late. (
http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3)

Jen Stewart

BigFolio: our website template designer (http://www.bigfolio.com)  Also their SmallFolio option that can allow your site to be viewed on an iPhone (http://www.smallfolio.com/smallfolio.html) 

Photographers forums: 
OSP: ( http://www.opensourcephoto.net/forum/) free
DWF: (http://www.digitalweddingforum.com/) membership required
I Love Photography Forum: (http://ilovephotography.com/forums/index.php?act=idx) both free and paid membership options

 

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