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Is Social Media Hurting or Helping Your Art?

Is Social Media Helping Or Hurting Your Art?

I am torn about social media.

On one hand, it allows us to connect with thousands of other artists around the world. We have almost direct access to many of the brilliant minds in the art world who may have been otherwise undiscovered without social media.

On the other hand,  social media can become almost an addiction to public approval. There is a high when many ‘like’ or ‘share’ your art but a much more powerful low when there is no reaction at all. It is this up-and-down emotional impact that can make social media so damaging, especially to an aspiring artist.

At the end of the day, as an artist, you have one goal really. To create great art. Everything else should fall second to this.

Sure, social media does provide an amazing opportunity for exposure. However, you need to think of it as a platform which can enhance and compliment you, rather than a platform which can make you a successful artist.

If you are an amazing artist, then social media is a fantastic opportunity for you. You can use it to reach millions around the world. This just was not an option before social media. Even the great artists of history would have had little reach compared to even the mildly successful artists of the current day.

But do not make the mistake of thinking these artists are successful because of social media. They are successful artists who have used social media to enhance their reach.

So if you are just starting out with art, do not worry about how many people ‘like’ or ‘share’ your art. It does not matter in the early stages. If anything, it may just distract you from what is important.

Acceptance on social media is fleeting. There one moment, gone the next. You will have nothing to show for that very brief moment in the spotlight once the curtains close.

This is by no means a beat-down on social media.

In fact, after I finish this post I will share it on the various social media platforms which may gain me some more readers. But I think of it as an opportunity to reach those who would not otherwise be aware of me.

However, sharing what I write on social media would be completely pointless if I did not write high-quality articles.

One thing I have noticed is some of the most talented artists have very little social media presence and a poor quality website. That is because they have prioritized learning before marketing themselves.

There are many products out there that claim to teach you how to sell your art. But the first rule of marketing is to have a great quality product to sell in the first place. As an artist, you need to focus on creating this great product (your paintings, your teaching workshops, your books, etc) and then focus on the marketing side of things through social media and the other platforms.

If you find yourself becoming fixated on achieving social media success at the expense of learning, then it may be time to take a break. You may be amazed at just how addicted you are to it.

You don’t need to do anything dramatic like deleting all your social media accounts. It could be as simple as just taking a break from posting. Then if you think it is needed, you can progress to not even checking on social media.

But don’t forget to share this post before you take that break!

Do you think social media is benefiting or holding you back as an aspiring artist? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Want to Learn More?

You might be interested in my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to share it with friends.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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14 comments on “Is Social Media Hurting or Helping Your Art?”

  1. I find the current state of affairs in the US and all the drama and b.s. surrounding the 45th president have caused me to stay away from painting. I find myself getting quite worked up, angry, upset, scared, and generally P**ed-off. I don’t want to put any of those negative feelings into my art. Reading about it on social media doesn’t help to know others share my frustration.

  2. Some good points Dan, I think that the media encourages competition, which is not the reason why we create! We should look for the reason folks paint what they do, and the manner of painting, rather than judge an image on its visual impact.

  3. Yes social media is addictive and has its good points and bad. As an emerging artist I find that some of the very fantastic artwork out there can get me into not believing in myself anymore or rather that I won’t become ‘that good’. You are quite right in what you say. I agree with you.

    • Yes whilst I think it is fantastic we have such close access to the many professional artists, it can tend to discourage beginners as they end up comparing to those professionals (who have been training for many, many years).

      Thanks Margie

      • I think social media is a double edged sword. I see paintings that I personally think are not that great, but they get loads of likes. It puts me off putting my work out there. Maybe that’s a good thing, but if you work alone how else do you find out if your art is any good? It’s a difficult one!

      • Let’s not forget a “professional” artist can be the biggest egotistical type who looks down to others who not at his or her level. I have seen some of them carry on like that on social media. We praise them, and they look down on us. Also, just because a person is a professional does not mean he or she is so perfect at his or her work. That person just knows how to post his or her best work. I am sure the professional artist has embarrassing projects that he or she scrapped.

  4. I use social media for two main reasons, one to show my most up to date work to my friends and my FB “friends” 90 % who are other artists and two to see other artists works and try to see how they achieve various effects, so inspiration is very much part of this.. I enjoy their comments and ” like” but am not dictated to by them.
    I avoid politics, religion and time wasters and dump people very quickly if they deviate into these areas too my overall is on “art” mainly watercolour and acrylic in studio or plain air… so in answer to your question , yes I enjoy social media but don’t get too carried away with it.

  5. I do not like using social media, I am very uncomfortable using it personally. But I will agree that it does have a purpose for making availab!e an unknown artists work known to others.

  6. I love Instagram. It is what totally inspires me. Although I use it rather than let it use me! I search for museums to spend time on their sites. When I started my mushrooms series I went to all the mushroom hashtags. I search by hashtags. If I were to stay on my page Id see all the Ads and puppies and kids. I try to stay art focused.

    I use FB with my friends and engage them with my art. Request names for my recent work. Building the connections. When I find some interesting information thru research about my art series I’m working on at the moment I bring up a conversation and others post things that relate.

    I only post my art on INSTA and find when someone asks me about my art. I pull up my Instagram account. It’s so easy and faster than my website.


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