5 Reasons Every Artist should Use Pinterest (Besides Self-Promotion)

By Niki Hilsabeck in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

Of all social media, Pinterest is especially art and artist friendly. . . after all, it’s a platform based entirely around sharing visual images!

I’ve always been a little wary of social media for personal reasons. But I’ve become quite a fan of Pinterest, and it has nothing to do with promoting my work—although that’s a very good reason for many artists as well.

Here are just some of the ways that Pinterest has helped me stay connected to my love of creating and appreciating art:

1. Finding new and favorite artists

I keep most of my boards art-related, and I follow mostly art-minded pinners as well. When Pinterest “picks” pins for my feed, they tend to be type of artwork that fit my previous pins. Thanks to this feature, I’ve been introduced to many new artists who I greatly admire, and had I not joined Pinterest, it probably would have taken me much longer to find these artists and their work!

Each time I create a new board, I go exploring for work to add, and discover even more artwork and artists I enjoy. And I’ve finally started to understand all of those jokes about saying goodbye to your family and friends before you join Pinterest. :)

I’ve also discovered something even more exciting. . . after years on different art platforms and marketplace, I’m finally seeing some of my favorite contemporary artists become regular names on Pinterest.

It’s no secret that the internet has made it possible for artists to bring their art directly to the public, but Pinterest in particular has become a place where art from all over the world comes together, and the public can choose for themselves which artists they enjoy, without the input of art critics and reviewers.

I suppose some art lovers might prefer having art curated for them (narrowed down, if you will) but I prefer the diversity and wide creativity available on Pinterest instead. There’s no “select few” determining who gets seen and who doesn’t—and I like that!

2. Understanding myself as an artist

In addition to new, contemporary artworks, you can also find plenty of works by the old masters on Pinterest. I find it interesting to pin the works of some of my old favorites, and then see how those preferences influence my choices when I make art.

I also like to create individual boards for specific colors, textures, light, and pattern. Depending on my intentions for different paintings, these are all elements I incorporate in varying degrees into my own work. Then, when the mood hits me, a quick scroll through my board of texture pins gives me some inspiration to break out the palette knife and some sand and play around with texture in my own paintings.

3. No more hoarding!

Speaking of inspiration, the biggest benefit I’ve gotten from Pinterest may surprise you. It helps me eliminate clutter!

I used to collect cutouts of ideas, famous pictures I found inspiring, and my own reference photos. As you can imagine, these began to take up space, and needed frequent organizing. (I’m also an “out of sight, out of mind” type of person, so once these pictures were filed away I tended to forget about them.)

With Pinterest, I can keep my “clutter” on a screen and it’s much more accessible. I can also keep boards for my own reference photos, although I do keep those boards “secret” so they don’t end up becoming a part of the “Piniverse.” (More on secret boards later!)

If you’ve still got file cabinets of paper ideas, you can transition yourself to Pinterest boards for your inspiration a little at a time, or start scanning and pinning your paper ideas. Do be careful to respect others’ copyright, however, since that’s one of the biggest concerns artists have about Pinterest.

4. Participating in a friendly environment

Speaking of artists, while I enjoy reading artist forums and blogs, there is something to be said for the visual, friendly nature of Pinterest. Presumably, you’re on Pinterest to pin things you like (or at least want to look at again). That means there’s no “thumbs down,” and most people keep their comments positive.

When someone looks at your boards, they simply get a feel for your tastes, see your latest work, and find some new inspiration for themselves. There’s none of the back-and-forth arguing that can go on in other social media platforms.

As a result, a quick scroll through my Pinterest feed while I take a break from painting isn’t likely to leave me feeling irritated or frustrated when I go back to work (again, this could be because I limit my boards to positive or art-related pins).

5. Keeping personal and public separate

As I mentioned before, I limit my use of social media to Pinterest.

I’m extremely careful about what information I share about myself online, so I keep that information mostly professional. Pinterest allows me to share my artwork and participate in the art world without over-sharing details about my personal life.

If I feel there are things I want to save to my boards, but don’t necessarily want to share with others, I can set boards as “secret.” This means that my reference photos are there when I need them, but not available to others. It also helps me stay organized between my public profile and some of my personal choices.

And, if I decide I want to pin something unrelated, such as a bunch of vegetarian recipes, I can make that board secret too.

Pinterest certainly isn’t without its faults. There are still copyright concerns, so it’s very important to respect the wishes of those artists who don’t want to be pinned (for example, I try to pin directly from websites only if they have the “Pin it” button under the work).

I also try to pin artwork that links directly back to the artist’s website, or at the very least includes the name of the artist. Sometimes the name on the artwork don’t match the artist its being attributed to, and when that happens, I’ll take a quick glance through other pins to verify who the artist really is, if possible.

Overall though, I see Pinterest as the perfect place for artists and art lovers to come together and share—without the limits that tend to crop up in other venues.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, or haven’t REALLY given it a shot, I encourage you to dive in and experience all the different reasons why Pinterest is a fantastic social network for artists. I’m sure you’ll find even more reasons to love it!


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