Last night my local art guild had our monthly meeting, which on this occasion featured a lively discussion on social media and the artist. The opening question was not whether artists should utilize social media, but, since everyone already does it, which ones are most beneficial to artists.
We discussed web sites and Facebook, of course, but also blogs, YouTube and the new social darling Pinterest, which is like a personal web bulletin board. The consensus seemed to be that some good can come from all of these sites, but the trick is learning to balance one's time in the studio with time on the computer.
At the end, one of the presenters gave a brief summary about selling art and the various social media sites. She kept referring to art as our product and it occurred to me that we artists almost never use that term. Art to us is our creation, our passion, or work, but never our product.
Perhaps that one little semantic twist has become a stumbling block on the road to selling art. We get so wrapped up in the creative process that we're often unable to consider art as separate from ourselves. Art becomes who we are and not what we do. As a result, the business of selling 'art who we are' is regarded as demeaning and to be avoided at all costs.
It doesn't have to be that way. Art is both a product of our imagination and a potential product in the marketplace. And the two ideas need not be mutually antagonistic. If we understand that once art is created it becomes separate from us, then we can more easily accept it as a product of what we do.