Three Reasons Why Instagram is an Amazing Tool for Artists
by Molly Elizabeth aka The Darling Rage
I started posting art on my Instagram only three years ago, and it was out of a place of desperation. Not desperation for likes or a following, or anything that you may be thinking. I posted to Instagram because I needed a way to pull myself up out of darkness. Art was that thing, and Instagram was the vehicle for accountability to myself.
As a young mother fresh into a second round of postpartum depression, I had committed myself to making something for at least 2-5 minutes a day for the rest of the year. Because I had a history of struggling with long commitments, I knew I needed an external way to keep myself going and making. So I decided to post to Instagram. Not for anyone else but me, and as a way to visually congratulate myself that I had made something new that day. I had no idea how much it would end up growing, or that I would be able to start selling my work professionally (later on) as a direct result of showing up on Instagram.
I posted my first picture on March 17, 2017 - the start of something new. From that point on, I have grown immensely as an artist and a person, and made the most amazing connections all over the world through this platform. It wasn’t just because of my work, it was because I started showing up and sharing my story. I’ve learned a ton along the way, so today I just want to give you three reasons why I love this tool so much as an artist, and how it can serve you too.
1. People don’t buy art, they buy artists - in a world of social connection, people have literally endless options at their fingertips all the time. They can buy anything they want at the click of a button, yet some of them choose to buy ART from me. This was shocking to me when it first started happening… but what I realized is that they weren’t necessarily just buying the art I was putting out their for its quality (that’s another discussion for another day) but because they were identifying with my story. They were getting to know me as another human, and they cared about me. Think about your own buying habits… aren’t you much more likely to support a store, cause, person… who you KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST? Someone you believe in? Someone who is open about themselves and their experiences? Social media can be challenging sometimes, but it is also amazing because of its endless capacity to connect us in ways we never have been able to connect before, across miles! Speaking of connections - you are also connected to galleries and brands around the world who are looking for artists to work with, which brings me to reason #2…
2. Social media is an opportunity to have a digital portfolio - Think about what artists had to do to get their work out there in the past. Not that long ago, if you were an artist and you wanted gallerists and other people to see your work, you would have to physically bring it to them. As in, carry your pieces, or photos of your pieces, to those people. You’d have to reach out and it took a lot more steps than it does now, thanks to social media. Now, all you have to do is start putting yourself out there digitally. You can post a picture of a painting you’ve just finished, or better yet, of you’re creative process… and immediately you’re able to invite people from all over the world into your studio for a first hand look at what you have to offer. Brands and galleries are all on social media too, and Instagram is the perfect opportunity to show off your work without ever leaving the couch. In fact, I had a gallery in North Carolina reach out to me several years ago when I was still pretty new to all this because he liked what he saw and wanted to include me in a group show - which he did. Pretty rad, right?
3. You can find your people - Instagram presents a very real opportunity for your to connect with real humans from all over the world. People that you would never have access to otherwise. Almost everyone is connected by the internet now, which means that it doesn’t matter how weird you are (the weirder the better, actually!) you can find people who resonate with you and your work. Is it as easy as just posting something and expecting them to come to you? No. Instagram like everything else has a learning curve and requires intentionality and strategy. The good news is, you’re not alone in this journey.
This Wednesday, April 10, I will be teaching my workshop “Creating a Digital Presence as an Artist” at The Yards - 7-8:30pm. Not only will I be going much more in depth with you about all the reasons you should be using Instagram for your art, I will also be taking you step by step through strategies that I have used in the past three years to show up authentically, share my voice, and grow my group of darling ragers. (I’m on Instagram as @TheDarlingRage if you need proof)
I love Instagram. It has been a tool to connect me to so many amazing humans and opportunities, and I’m so excited to show you more about it. Grab your ticket and join us! And reach out to me on social media - I’d love to chat!
Facebook: The Darling Rage