Check out our newest edition of "Mooney Makes Sense" column in the May 2015 edition of Boerne Business Monthly Magazine
Read it here at:http://issuu.com/boernemag/docs/may_2015_bbm_online
The Online World and the Art World
“Why It Matters That They Interact”
By; Gabriel Diego Delgado,
Gallery Director, J.R. Mooney Galleries- Boerne
The internet is such a big part of our lives. We shop, talk, interact, search, post, tweet, synch, launch, browse, pin, sell, work and do an array of other activities on our computers, smartphones, tablets, i-wear and other internet devices.
So, I want to take a moment and give an internet refresher to all the art buyers, collectors, gallerists and artists reading this column.
Over the last two decades, the art world has morphed, contorted and distorted, but above all ADAPTED to the World Wide Web. Sure, artists can build their own websites to sell and feature their own art. But, who sees it? Who knows what is out there in all the undiscovered websites, dark net, and torrents. The question is how does one find art or artists online within the 800 million plus websites and millions more apps? Google is constantly changing its algorithms discombobulating the searchable website databases, forcing artists to be smart, tech savvy business people as they try to figure out how to show up in the skewed results.
Let’s review the role of social media platforms in the arts. We have Facebook™, Instagram™, Pinterest™, LinkedIn™, Vine™, Google+™, Twitter™ and many other apps and social sharing sites that help an artist promote and sell artwork. Sure you can post, like, share, pin, tweet, hashtag, repost, retweet, upload, feature, comment, download and even cloud host, but does this equate sales? Not usually. O.K. O.K. some people sell off these sites, but social media is more of just a marketing tool used to expand an audience for the artwork. Being relevant is the key, staying top of mind, like traditional marketing had been in the heyday of printed paper advertisements. Facebook™ sells ads; other websites host pop-ups and targeted audience messaging. But again, is this equating sales in the art world? Not really. There is no one real answer for sales, but a multi-tiered approach of repeating the visual aesthetics of the artwork on all kinds of apps, sites, and groups. This consistent and continuous repetition of branding and image awareness will inevitably drive traffic and sales. The artist virtual toolbox needs to have many Swiss Army knife inspired logistical applications for artwork promotion.
There are tens of thousands of websites that sell/buy art. Even the retail juggernaut, Amazon.com launched the Amazon Art portal in August 2013, partnering with over 150 galleries and dealers to sell fine art. And of course there is Ebay™, Craigslist™, Artsy, Etsy, DeviantArt, Storenvy, Artfire and hundreds of other online galleries that can be searched to find the right piece for your home or office. The more searchable the art is the better.
It is also good to know galleries and museums around the world employ individuals whose sole role is to market artwork, exhibitions, acquisitions and programs online. They range from social media coordinators, communication directors, social media managers and the like. Galleries know the online presence is necessary to be relevant in today’s society. These people’s job is to make sure we are paying attention to the artwork being spotlighted by these various organizations.
One museum, Art in Island, in Manila, Philippines even has a 3-D exhibition that encourages museum patrons to take selfies and interact with the art, this way the people going to the museum are doing the marketing themselves to their friends, family and followers. On the other hand, it is also commonplace for galleries and museums to prohibit photography, even on smartphones and some museums have outright banned the new novelty “selfie stick”. So if you foursquare, check-in or Gowalla it is always appreciated by the institutions and those individuals marketing it.
In the nostalgic heyday of the internet, chatrooms were the buzz, AOL ruled the roost. However, we saw the decline and flop of sites like Myspace, Friendster, and many other not-so-household names. Google Hangouts, LinkedIn groups, circles, and other networking sites rise and fall as many websites do. Keep in mind, although they might eventually collapse, it is good to follow the trends, these sites is where people are; you have to find your audience so they can find you. Don’t worry if Facebook won’t be around in 20 years, it’s here now and people are using it. Although teens have left it in hordes, the fastest growing demographic for it is 45- 65 year olds; those that having buying power. Yes, you can be fashionably late to what’s happening in the app world, but don’t disregard it. The trends change as history has shown us. So if you think Instagram is high school kids sending pictures think again and post that image of your painting and see what happens.
Get Creative! And be prolific. There are close to 3 billion people using the internet, and that my friend is a lot of potential customers!!