As artists in the 21st century, many of us are reading about and trying our best to jump on the social networking wagon. We maintain Facebook and mySpace fan pages, we try to twitter smartly and effectively to enlarge our electronic shoeprint, and we post our paintings anywhere we can.
But are we all following the same pattern, where only few will really be successful?
Lately I’ve found a couple of different examples on how to use our beloved, but sometime feared (!), social networks. Perhaps some of you have already heard these stories, but I find them quite intriguing and would love to share them with more people.
My first example is the Twitter 140 , a group of international artists that connected and met on Twitter, and then decided to organize group shows in the real world.
In their own words:
“Our mission is to write a proposal, submit our plan to art venues, and create an exhibition that can travel the world! We have already done this and have had our first show in Flagstaff, Arizona. We are still looking for more exhibition venues!”
And from a blog post by one of the group’s members, Deborah T. Colter:
“The show was the brainchild of Sheree Rensel whom I met through the twitter network. She has worked tirelessly to pull together this eclectic group of artists for this exciting and unique exhibition. Ms. Rensel states, ‘We have organized a diverse and unique group of artists whose work reflects technology and the use of Twitter. Twitter messages have to be 140 characters or less. Therefore, all works in our show are 140 square inches or less. The same with each artist’s statement and bio. All contain 140 characters or less.’”
In this case, the twitting and connecting didn’t stay in the virtual world of Twitter’s servers, but materialized into a real world show, with a unique theme—the Twitter theme—a new theme that could never have been used before the Twitter era!
My second example is from the very talented portrait artist, Matt Held, who started the Facebook meme, “I’ll have my Facebook portrait painted by Matt Held."
The idea is very simple:
Send Matt your Facebook profile picture, and if he feels its intriguing enough, he will paint your portrait. He has many beautiful examples in his website and blog , and of course his Facebook page , but this one is probably my favorite!
What I find so appealing about Mr. Held’s idea is that the networking through Facebook is not just networking, but also the source of his material and subject matter. And the viral nature of social network is increasing his client base and subject matter at the same time.
As an artist, I would love to join (or start) such an initiative. . . wouldn’t you?
Think about it. How could a little creativity combined with social networking create opportunities for your own art?