The Risks of Being an Artist on Social Media

As an artist you have many choices to make, and one of them is whether or not to bring your brand social.  In the past, artists did not have the benefit of social media to help assist them in the promotion of their work.  They had to rely on traditional routes such as portfolio building and sending which is not only very time consuming but also very costly.  With social media being very prevalent today, it makes sense that as an artist or creative that you would be utilizing these free applications as marketing and promotional tools.

There are many benefits to taking your brand social as an artist.  By utilizing social media your work may be exposed to many people who might not otherwise have had the chance to view it.  This includes potential buyers, patrons, and new fans.  You may think that going social would be a no-brainer for an artist creating work in 2017, but along with the many benefits of social media also are risks that must be considered.

“People develop ideas and understandings of society, culture, and history through their interactions with and analysis of art” (Fusaro, 2016).  Art has always been an important part of society, and with today’s digital age, one that is not physically encountered with often enough.

“Cultural products are rich in symbolic meaning that consumers use to construct, sustain, and enact identity” (Colbert, St-James, 2014).  A community that readily has access to this kind of humanity may be better off in the long run as the younger generation may have the opportunity to grow up with a broader sense of self and the world around them.   “Individual aesthetic and empathetic awareness developed through engagement with art can lead to understanding and appreciation of self, others, the natural world, and constructed environments” (Fusaro, 2016).  However, when viewing a work of art online versus in person, the experience and intention of the artist may be lost.  Art is an experience, and part of that experience is having the ability to inhabit the same space in which the art exists.


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Another risk that one takes when bringing their work social would be running the risk of being copied.  It is highly unlikely that somebody with the intention of ripping off another’s artistic work would decide to do so after encountering the work within a museum or gallery setting.  Being online offers the veil of anonymity.  The internet can be a fleeting place, and there may even be chance that someone could copy your work unintentionally not remembering that they have seen something like it online.

In the long run, there are always risks that one takes when using social media whether it be for personal or promotional use.  The best way to determine if it will be the correct move for you is to identify what you want to accomplish with bringing your brand social, acknowledging the risks, and doing all that you can to monitor and reduce them.

As an artist, why or why do you not promote your artwork through social media?


Colbert, F., & St-James, Y. (2014). Research in Arts Marketing: Evolution and Future Directions. Psychology & Marketing, 31(8), 566-575. doi:10.1002/mar.20718

Fusaro, J. j. (2016). When Worlds Collide: Artists, Teachers, and Learners as Contemporary Community. Art Education, 69(2), 52-60.