Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

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Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by tombofnull »

@ mods: if this veers too much into being about commercial talk, let me know.

For me, I've spent the last 8-ish months rebuilding my relationship with how and why I interact with the digital spaces I exist in and share my work through. It started with a disdain with the way modern social media functions, but evolved into a new found love for creating my own space and things like the small web, indie web, yesterweb, so on. The more tangible result of that journey thus far is the current iteration of my website which isn't just a landing page with a list of links but a [mind you, wonky lol] virtual studio and art archive. My hope is that when curious folk happen to visit, my work isn't seen as disposable "content" like how it can feel elsewhere. Plus its nice to have a digital gallery, with all of its commentary and production sketches/shots, not vanish off the web because of a policy change [ie Tumblr's ban several years ago] or what have you. I can now take my site back-up and upload it elsewhere to host in a snap if need be. This space has also given me a bit more room to breathe and make what I want/need to make, instead of feeling the pressure to make something "marketable" or "algorithm-friendly". On the whole it has been very healing.

However, since I make stuff not just for myself but to afford live as well, as much as I'd like to I can't really opt out of InstaTwitToklr entirely [for now].

Right now, my solution is to treat those places less like town squares or areas to have true conversations and instead as billboards. I've also put a personal cap on how many people I want to have following me on each platform before I lock accounts off to new followers, mostly to minimize that weird dehumanization that happens when the number on your profile gets big. Its a tricky balancing act to get just enough support to keep going, but not so many eyes that you cease to be a person to others. Other "rules" include only logging on to preform a specific task or for a set amount of time to avoid having my attention stolen, or for things like FOMO to set back in.
In addition, I make myself prioritize showcasing new work to my website's gallery even if the process of doing to is more labor intensive than simply hitting an upload button.
Downside is that forming more personable? connections feels extra difficult [further exacerbated by my own social shyness lol]. My "middle ground" place is the tiny corner of the Fediverse I dwell. Part of me wishes for a Fediverse/decentralized equivalent to dA that's relatively easy to launch and host, but I digress lol. I think my next phase is to continue to figure out how to form those connections. And frankly I have a hunch that will involve less time in cyberspace and more in meatspace. Or maybe that dichotomy isn't the right way to look at it, I'm not sure.
For fellow art-folk: What are some ways you've been adapting to the current state of the web while also not loosing your mind? Have you made similar rules for yourself? And where do you tend to find art-ish-focused community [that isn't solely for I guess "business/marketing"] nowadays?
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by Ray »

Lovely questions imo!
Personally, I've set a very strict boundary between my "art" and my "craft" - I'll try to explain!

I went to some sort of art school, with other people who wanted to make a job out of art. I was really into the local publishing scene, and the online indie artist scene, and felt strongly that I wanted to be one of those - a person that earns their living by making absolutely kickass personal art that is honest yet resonated with the public. That's a pretty high standard to manage! Even though I was doing decently well getting noticed locally and forming connections, the pressure was A LOT. I had to use Instagram daily, keep up with people, stressed on my art not being good enough or not posting often enough, etc.
Those spaces required you to be personable and relatable and share your life, photos, thoughts, tidbits, to remain popular - you were not simply selling your art, but the image of yourself as an artist, a "personal brand", in a way.
The way I personally solved it was to put into focus what mattered to me the most, and trace strict boundaries.

Why did I want to work with art? Did I strive to be famous? Recognized? Look cool? Be in a community? Work from home? Work with other artists? Freelance? Work for a studio?
I realized that what mattered to me was working on my own terms and schedule and being able to pursue other hobbies, even if with a low income overall.
So I ditched all of that I had going on.

I now have an account where I do basically exclusively commissions. I sell out in literally any way I can stomach to lol. I mostly focus on posting on places where I can get commissions. I keep it separate from my identity. I don't share what I do, because it's not me. It's not my art, it's a craft I'm pretty good at and am currently doing as a sort of part time job.

This, in turn, has pretty much freed me in terms of being an artist. I've actually stopped posting a lot of my personal art, because... I don't care! I do it for myself! :D and it's such a great feeling. I haven't felt this way since I was a kid drawing completely for fun. I have much less time to draw for myself - but it's because I pursue other hobbies as well in that free time.
I am eventually going to make a gallery for personal stuff on my site, because I think it's neat to have a place with my art, and I love seeing other artists galleries.

But, I could simply not reconcile the way I *want* to genuinely live my art, my relationships, and the internet, with the kind of model that wants you to market yourself to make some money. Squaring the circle required an amount of determination and passion that I simply don't have, and that's okay. My goal in life is not to be an artist, it's just to be as happy as I possibly can be. :) Everyone's mileage varies on this, of course!

What are your goals with art? What are you offering your audience? Where does being an artist for fun end, and being an artist for work begin for you? Which of the two is more important? On what front are you willing to compromise in order to appeal to your clientele, and what instead are hard boundaries? What brings you joy, and is it compatible with what this line of work asks of you?

EDIT: I also took a look at your site and oh boy your art is fantastic, I hope it's getting the attention it deserves! I wonder - how much of the work you get do you think comes from social media? How much has it impacted you, these changes you've made so far?
Last edited by Ray on Tue Feb 14, 2023 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by OppositeKeith »

I've never thought much through it. ive dumped my art on newgrounds for almost 3 years and have hardly moved to other art spaces cause i like how NG functions and being a small artists feels right for me. i guess just staying in one place really keeps one sane. that said i have tried to expand upon other sites like insta or cohost with little to nothing happening other than a few likes and follows from people i know as friends i keep myself pretty open when making and uploading art so i very little rules for myself.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by tombofnull »

Ray wrote: Mon Feb 13, 2023 11:57 pm Lovely questions imo!
Personally, I've set a very strict boundary between my "art" and my "craft" - I'll try to explain!...
Thank you for sharing your experience!

For me, I personally didn’t have the opportunity to learn art in a formal setting, and I sort of fell into freelance to get away from a pretty awful work situation in my late teens when folks online showed they were willing to pay me to draw their characters in my art style, which I’m greatly thankful for. I was also at a crossroads where I had to chose to push myself into a career where I’d not only face sexism/queerphobia, but also likely end up working tech that frankly leave me restless at night knowing I contributed to their creation, or keep trying to make this art thing work where I’m mostly treated with respect and create things that bring myself and others something beneficial. Since then [about a decade now on-off], between various life interruptions, I’ve been freelancing either part or full time lol. And during that time grown far too familiar with the algorithm chasing, all that noise that comes with marketing yourself on major platforms. Admittedly I’ve never been great at marketing myself, and maybe that’s a blessing in disguise if my couple of brushes with small vitality have taught me anything lol.
For a brief time I also attempted to divvy up my body of work into solely client work and solely personal work in distinct, separate spaces, but found that 1] I’d end up getting hired for projects that didn’t fit what I was actually good at, because folks would only see the work others had me make for them instead of that and my original work, which tends to be the stuff where I can showcase my skills and interests/what I really like making more freely 2] the pressure to be “marketable” got worse lol and 3] managing several identities was way more hassle than what it was worth for me. While I do have a pretty big body of work I make just for myself and don’t bother showcasing, there’s also stuff I do want to share. I guess for me its one way to form connection to others where other methods would fail.

All that said, my goal is to eventually find an avenue where I can slowly minimize my need for corpo owned social media and instead focus on the smaller side of the web. If all goes well, that might be thanks to switching to tattoo, but hey! We’ll see lol

I can’t discern if the additional questions you listed in your post are rhetorical or not ^^; lol!

And thank you! I can say with confidence that almost all the clients I get are thanks to social media, as the place I live isn’t an arts-oriented place. Nor can I pack up and leave to go elsewhere, or just switch professions lol. There *are* a couple of small art scenes around here, but stuff’s mostly not geared toward the stuff I make.
As for changes , as mentioned in my original post, it has been mostly positive. Showcasing my work in a digital environment I have so much control over and not have to fight ads or any of that nonsense has really spoiled me in a good way. Similar to how splitting your art and your craft has helped you feel like a kid again with your personal art, treating my website as the main environment for my work as let me re-discover the same. :]
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by Ray »

(this post decided to italicize part of my answers - it isn't intentional and can't turn it off, sorry! lol)
tombofnull wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:03 am
Thank you for sharing your experience!

I was also at a crossroads where I had to chose to push myself into a career where I’d not only face sexism/queerphobia, but also likely end up working tech that frankly leave me restless at night knowing I contributed to their creation lol.
I can relate, on a smaller scale! I've only been doing this for a little over a year - and when I started it was a shot in the dark. But I didn't have a lot of career options in front of me, my "degree" was useless, so it was either going to work for shady call centers that live off tricking old people to sign new phone or utilities contracts, or break my back working full-time as a server for a cafe for part-time pay without contract.
I didn't want to be a gear in the machine. I didn't want my labour to be essentially stolen and abused. Art was the only option for something different, even if hard on its own right.
tombofnull wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:03 am I can’t discern if the additional questions you listed in your post are rhetorical or not ^^; lol!
Oh whoops sorry! They were genuine, but of course I didn't mean for you to necessarily answer them here, they were more like - hopefully these can help some brainstorming about work :)
tombofnull wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:03 am As for changes , as mentioned in my original post, it has been mostly positive.

Yes! :D I was mostly wondering if that affected at all how many clients you reach, and how much work you end up getting. It was really just for curiosity's sake, since I mostly used to keep up with cool artists on social media, and I don't think I've ever had the experience of one of them moving base to their website as the main hub for news and sharing stuff. Aren't you afraid to lose ok work if you start using social media less? I know I feel guilty when I don't update twitter for a lot of time because I'm missing out on new potential clients, a bigger base, etc. Our situations are pretty different but I'm still curious, since I feel like you took the alternative road to me, and are able to make a living with more personal art! :D
(By the way - what's the local art scene like? I've always been frustrated with mine: city wise, it's very "grunge-punk" orientent, grotesque, dark. Nation-wise, what really pops off is 'relatable' comics about depression. I still wonder if there's a niche for my kind of art in my country, and I see that there *is* elsewhere!)

tombofnull wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:03 am All that said, my goal is to eventually find an avenue where I can slowly minimize my need for corpo owned social media and instead focus on the smaller side of the web. If all goes well, that might be thanks to switching to tattoo, but hey! We’ll see lol

That's darn cool!! I can see your style being an amazing fit for tattoos. Best of luck, genuinely!!! <3
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by DaGrandDragonn »

I’m very intertwined in my art, it’s a part of me, it is my creation. But hey, I gotta work! So I advertise my wares heavily. Not really my main goal though, I just like drawing little guys and seeing enjoyment from my viewers. It’s sort of like giving a little gift to the void.

Even so with my intertwinement I think of myself as having a seperate persona when it comes to posting and whatnot. I’ve worked hard for my brand. I’ll have to continue to work hard to keep it. And that’s just part of this current internetscape, and this path I’ve chosen. I’m a brand and to some extent a commodity- but I’m also a person. Best of both worlds, baby!

Haha. I suck at keeping my personas completely seperate. I make what the people want, I make what I want, and I mix those two and crap out some bastardised art children. My bastardised art children.

When it comes to the small web, website building... that’s my main town square. I want people to look at it! It’s my place to express myself! ‘Ma Casual home. Everywhere else is a big old honking sign that says “HEY LOOK AT ME GET YO SELVES OVA HERE! LOOKA AT ME COOL STUFF! I MADE THIS GALLERY! I’LL DRAW YA SHIZ IF YA FEED ME SUSHI MONEY!”
I’m a bit more casual when it comes to these things. Hey, give me money if you’d like. Or not, and look at this cool robot I drew. Whatever floats yer goat, deer viewer.



But anyways, that’s my mildly related ramble about something that I’ve already forgotten. To answer the question at the bottom of the original post,

“For fellow art-folk: What are some ways you've been adapting to the current state of the web while also not loosing your mind? Have you made similar rules for yourself? And where do you tend to find art-ish-focused community [that isn't solely for I guess "business/marketing"] nowadays?”


Similar rules? I have that weird half-mushed mildly seperate persona, so I don’t get all crazy. A bit of professionalism, but not much. I do get my work done and am totes profesh when I need to be. My website is not totes profesh. You said you treat medias more like billboards, it seems I am similar. I don’t do any locking, though. I’m going to deal with that can of worms as it’s coming along. I ain’t bottlenecking myself. No disrespect to you, of course, ya do yaself brudda.

Hey, you say it’s a balancing act, and I agree. Except my balancing act is my cool stuff and the other commercial kinda arty farty stuff, and so is all other things in life. Ya balance work and play, awake and resting, ya keep the fragile balance of your plans of the day... everything in life comes back to balance! Isn’t that interesting? It’s a rule I go by. Anyways, I’m going off track here, so let me just vrrrrrrrr the train of thought back on it’s way.


Not losing my mind? Well, that balance thing I mentioned earlier.

“And where do you tend to find art-ish-focused community [that isn't solely for I guess "business/marketing"] nowadays?”

They’re kind of the same spaces. Artfol is nice, albeit app only. Some servers dedicated to art. I’m as chatty as a hybrid between a chihuahua that just saw your aunt Jane walk in and is bolting over to bite her ankles and a cicada when it’s mating season when it comes to art, art plans, discussion- i can use my socials, I can join servers based around art, etc- I’ve not had many issues at all with finding places to blab someone’s ear off about art related topics, as y’all can probably tell from this massive hunk of text I’m writing. Sheesh.


This message is totally scattered, I didn’t refine it much at all, so hopefully it ain’t too hard to read. If ya did, congratulations, here is a fish emoji: 🐟

To y’all that are reading- draw what ya want. Have fun. Pursue it professionally if you’d like, but if that’s the case depending on your style it may be completely different to the things you enjoy making. Don’t go all profesh and kill your originality, and don’t kill the profesh if ya want to save up for that cool thing you’ve been wanting with art commissions! It’s a balancing act, after all.
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Post by GaryStu »

I feel like I was getting the most attention on my art when I was 15 and full of art drama brainworms, everybody came to see my art because I was posting the most dipshit takes. Now I feel completely alienated and old lol. I hate art so much and I'm so bad at it.
All my social links are on the home page of my website, just above the webrings.

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Post by Wavmev »

love your art and website! Syout and its characters are cool, looking forward to seeing more of your stuff!

i used to post art online for fun but didn’t talk much due to shyness/anxiety myself, but over time when i made stuff it’d creep in my head that “the canvas has to be square for instagram. you gotta post it at x time for views. *checks phone for likes* etc” and realized… this sucks. quit social media for 2 years and got hellbent practicing art offline and loved it, though not going out much from anxiety and losing online contact with people sucked too.

had some revelation last week “you’re gonna be 30 next year and you don’t do shit! Get out there!” faced my social issues going out to events since, and man, it’s great! everyone’s got instagram or something, so opened social accounts back up to keep in touch. a local drawing group i joined has a discord, so it’s cool to see familiar faces on and offline.
trying to be part of art communities is new to me; i wanna get involved with the local scene and build up those relationships, while using social media as a way to check in on people “individually,” kinda emulating people having personal websites by visiting their profile directly instead of endlessly scrolling a timeline that’s impersonal. i’ll post art slowly as well for fun again; wanna make a site and post freely and learn how to code (,:

It varies if you have access to an offline community, though if you are able to, go out! you mentioned your shyness; go for it. face it and it gets easier as time passes. there’s a world out there for ya!
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Post by omwow »

Ray wrote: Mon Feb 13, 2023 11:57 pm This, in turn, has pretty much freed me in terms of being an artist. I've actually stopped posting a lot of my personal art, because... I don't care! I do it for myself! :D and it's such a great feeling. I haven't felt this way since I was a kid drawing completely for fun. I have much less time to draw for myself - but it's because I pursue other hobbies as well in that free time.
I am eventually going to make a gallery for personal stuff on my site, because I think it's neat to have a place with my art, and I love seeing other artists galleries.
Congrats on finding our artistic freedom there! I do hope you post your personal art, even if you do it for yourself. I can see how it's very easy to slip back into caring about other people's reactions (or lack thereof), but ultimately I think there's a way to share your art and still stay free. It's admittedly though a fine line to walk, and I might be posting this as much for myself to hear as in response to you ;)
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Post by lain »

most of my art is fanart, which unfortunately does kind of tie me to larger social media threads. i don't use instagram and tiktok at all, but i do use twitter and tumblr. the twitter algorithm is not a fan of me; once i had a piece pop off and get a couple thousand likes and retweets, but i got like maybe 3 followers out of it (and i have about 300 for reference, so not many haha). and it's really disheartening how if you don't post a picture at the "exact right time" it can just be lost to the void forever, RTs or other forms of bumping be damned.

i really like posting my art to tumblr though, because it's more permanent, and because i can see the comments and tags people add to it when they reblog something. twitter you don't get any of that interaction unless someone replies directly to your picture, which most people don't really do anymore. it can be rewarding to know just how much people like my art even if it isn't getting to the widest possible audience. and it's kind of cool seeing when a picture i posted a few months ago or even a year ago starts getting traction again.

of course, i don't really do art commercially. however, the few times i have opened commissions or advertised my ko-fi or something, i've felt using twitter has been drastically more successful, likely because of how quickly the culture moves there. that said, most of the time when i get a comm, it's from a friend--and they use twitter over tumblr, generally speaking.

i miss being 13 and posting every bad sketch i ever made onto deviantART though. i feel something is really lost for new artists posting their stuff on social media. when i was just starting out art and posting stuff over there, people would usually comment something on my pictures no matter their quality. it was usually just something like "cute!" or "i like it! ^^" but it was a huge huge huge motivator to keep going. i can't imagine how much it must suck to post something when you're a new artist now and only get like 3 likes and 5 retweets and no comments or anything. personally, i probably would have given up.
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Post by sacrebisous »

Sadly I've gotta say that I'm actually finally starting to lose my mind as an (otherwise unemployed) artist online!

Without getting into the gritty details I've always fared better commercially as a secret NSFW artist for the better part of 2 years now rather than for the art I make and post on places like Twitter or my website. I used to focus on commissions on the NSFW account, but I hated drawing that shit! Now I've gotten a taste of clout because I started making more fandom-focused art on my main account, but now I've been hit with the terrible reality that drawings of white guy yaoi fanart gets 10000x more attention than any of my original lesbian art!!!! And nobody even wants to commission me on top of that!!!!!!

Quite honestly I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place because the current online state of art has drained me of nearly all my passion. All I really have are Twitter and Tumblr to promote my art, but Tumblr only cares about fanart and Twitter is not good for artists unless you're drawing 3 fully-rendered pieces a week. Don't even get me started on how my sketches will blow up but the rendered pieces I'm incredibly proud of flop and get no comments... :'^)

The best I've done is make a self-imposed block on doing the side commissions since all I do is get money for misery. I still do have commissions open on my main account doing some VERY SPECIFIC THINGS that I know I can do easily and enjoy, which my buddies might buy once in blue moon. Going back to my roots and just drawing girls all the time has been incredibly healing, which has taken me from "rock bottom" to "finally poking my head out of the pit" territory. I also am lucky to be friends with other artists who genuinely do love my work (and I, theirs) so we all get to sit together and compliment each other for days. Plus most of them have way bigger followings than I do so they sometimes will get me a ton of views out of nowhere just by sharing one of my sketches.

Either way it is hard. I've gotta find some way to regain that spark and find balance between self-promo and creating things I'm proud of and not letting the numbers define my success.
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Post by omwow »

sacrebisous wrote: Tue Feb 21, 2023 12:35 pm Either way it is hard. I've gotta find some way to regain that spark and find balance between self-promo and creating things I'm proud of and not letting the numbers define my success.
What I took away from all of this—aside from the hard struggle you shared—is that you've also gained a deeper understanding on what to focus on: create art for yourself. Do work you're proud of and enjoy. Yes, you have opportunities to make some money drawing shit you hate, but you already realized it's not worth it.

I think if you keep practicing your art and constantly create work you love, you're on a path that leads you to greater success.
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Post by Lyonid »

Since I started drawing digitally again, I have been dealing with one crisis after the other regarding my craft. I love creating and my utmost joy comes from it. My social media feed used to be full of people explaining to me how to sell and market as an artist and that's what billions of carrd portfolios and commission channels on Discord told me as well. The only thing I got out of this were so many hours of thinking about portfolio pieces, pricing, products and I suddenly fell into the most terrible art block I ever had.

I tried to draw assets for TTRPG maps, I tried to sell character designs, I tried to sell stickers, I tried to get people to commission me. And all of that I did very badly and without any effect. I was so discouraged and talked myself down for being bad at all those things! Of course I was really bad at it - I tried to do everything at the same time without giving myself the time to understand any of it effectively. Hell, I had zero fun doing it which never is a good sign when pursuing a career. Social media would not be the place that could help me understand how to economically grow as an artist, because the things I loved creating were just not marketable on the platform. I could try to become an NSFW furry artist and practice all the things a content feed loves to showcase - but why do I think that I have to do any of it in the first place? I am an artist, and this term has suffered under the industrial complex for ages now.

I try to stay away from anything that tries to put me, as an artist, into the same pit as artists selling their work. That includes public Discords, social junk, Toyhouse and gallery sites like dA. It's a headache, and being very drastic about it, helps me appreciate what I do. Every now and then I think how nice it would be to get commissioned or draw stickers or something, but this is just not the time. Marketing myself is a full-time job for me - and unpaid one at that. Actially stopping myself to reflect about what I want to create for, turned out to be so valuable.
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Post by severe »

I'm an art student working to be a professional animator, that's actually one of the main reasons I haven't completely laid off from social media as much as I want to. I treat my art accounts as a job and something that brings me money- especially since I have no other current source of income it's important for me to advertise. And I actually get less art block from commissions, surprisingly. I prefer having a routine and feeling forced to do something than being given free will on what to do. It does impair my creativity but I'd rather work on my personal projects more privately and keep my art accounts as a way to advertise my craft and make money.

One thing that did kill my passion for art was art school though LOL.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by GaryStu »

Lyonid wrote: Thu Mar 09, 2023 2:03 pm I could try to become an NSFW furry artist and practice all the things a content feed loves to showcase - but why do I think that I have to do any of it in the first place?
Becoming a NSFW furry artist to pay the bills is so ten years ago. Furries don't appreciate sell-outs who only draw such topics for cynical reasons. There's enough people passionate about that kind of art, and furries would rather deal with them instead.

But even if NSFW furry art is a passion for you, there's still too much competition to pay the bills! It's not an underserved market teeming with money, the supply met the demand years ago! There's artists who are willing and enthusiastic enough about that subject matter who are still broke as shit ̶i̶m̶ ̶a̶r̶t̶i̶s̶t̶s̶.

I'm sorry to pull apart this one offhand sentence from your post (which I like and agree with). It's not fair of me.

The most consistent way for artists to get work i've found is on fiverr. fiverr, hey. what a nightmare

Maybe the whole online art ecosystem would be better if we all stopped seeing ourselves as self-marketing hustlers and starting seeing each other as a real community. There would be just as much drama, but it would be more conductive to mental health, I feel. What kind of mental health? we'll see
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by madness »

GaryStu wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 4:13 am It's not an underserved market teeming with money, the supply met the demand years ago! There's artists who are willing and enthusiastic enough about that subject matter who are still broke as shit

[...]

Maybe the whole online art ecosystem would be better if we all stopped seeing ourselves as self-marketing hustlers and starting seeing each other as a real community.
I think this is extremely important because it is highlighting the problem of (uh I guess I would call it) market illiteracy: nobody wants to add mathematics and economics into their art commodity production, they just want to make and sell art, sometimes in a willfully ignorant manner

the art I wanted to make peaked in 'demand' in 2005. it all but disappeared from the market since 2012ish. I didn't get a chance to start producing the art until 2013. I wasn't conscious of any of this until 2017 when I started asking questions to myself about the circulation of the money like:

when I sell my art, who is buying it?
where are they getting the money from?
why do they value my art at the given exchange value?
what makes other art more valuable and popular than mine?
what is the true cost of making my art?

and so on. but once I got the systemic view of the numbers I made a couple of realizations. like that I was in an implicit competition with other artists making similar art. that this competition is what drives down the profit. that artists more or less function like small businesses with one employee (unless you are blessed with the situation of not working alone, but when the profits are so low how can you justify splitting it with others? lmao)

there's so much enlightenment that would come from transparency, even just transparency of numbers. but we operate in such an isolated manner that none of this kind of stuff ever becomes collective knowledge. instead everyone is blindly hustling, mostly alone with an illusion of community, and hardly any acknowledgement of the cold economic laws governing the process yet believing it to be some noble act of self-determination and benefit to humanity (this is more of a self-criticism of my old thinking but I see it near-universally in other artists)

btw I am old enough to have been part of an offline community of artists! wow what a concept. but from that experience it is clear that the atomization of artists is producing abysmal conditions and it is worth trying to build real community
we seek greater knowledge to make greater decisions when the time for making decisions appears - to be the most capable versions of ourselves in any situation that arises - this is why we study - this is why we learn
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by Lyonid »

GaryStu wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 4:13 am
Becoming a NSFW furry artist to pay the bills is so ten years ago. Furries don't appreciate sell-outs who only draw such topics for cynical reasons. There's enough people passionate about that kind of art, and furries would rather deal with them instead.

But even if NSFW furry art is a passion for you, there's still too much competition to pay the bills! It's not an underserved market teeming with money, the supply met the demand years ago! There's artists who are willing and enthusiastic enough about that subject matter who are still broke as shit ̶i̶m̶ ̶a̶r̶t̶i̶s̶t̶s̶.
Thank you so much for elaborating on that, though! This is the kind of demystification that I, and probably a lot of artists, need. The art market in general is certainly over-saturated with many digital art market trends. Furry art, adoptables, emojis, video game assets, v-tuber models, fanart, ... I feel like I personally have to realize that learning all these things is not necessary for me to feel like a valid artist. Let alone the term artist has become so ambiguous. It's sensory overload to me when I think of the imagined standards of being an artist - (aka marketer, designer, publisher, producer, researcher). Making people aware of a saturated market is really important for us, so we can stick to our own creative ideas; yet. the false glory of brand awareness is hurting us.
madness wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 7:46 am there's so much enlightenment that would come from transparency, even just transparency of numbers. but we operate in such an isolated manner that none of this kind of stuff ever becomes collective knowledge. instead everyone is blindly hustling, mostly alone with an illusion of community, and hardly any acknowledgement of the cold economic laws governing the process yet believing it to be some noble act of self-determination and benefit to humanity (this is more of a self-criticism of my old thinking but I see it near-universally in other artists)
I feel like community has turned into this very vague term where it's never clear if this community is of commercial or creative nature. The digital art market is so full of chaos. On the one hand we have the possibility to govern ourselves through art boards and gallery sites, yet all these places are plagued by "the market". Whenever I enter a new community, all mechanisms within the infrastructure turn are a blob. There is now clear line between encouraging to make art and selling/buying work. Every big digital community is, because of its globality, a capitalist market and will always dictate artists' expectations on themselves.

Have any of you been involved in local art communities? I feel like moving away from the internet for my art may be a great way to bypass this market thinking. The exposure to others' work becomes limited to your surroundings, and feedback may become more meaningful! I never tried to join any groups or fairs of that kind, hell, I don't even know if they exist. I think becoming less online with our art is a great way to fall in love with creating.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by GaryStu »

Lyonid wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 11:09 am Thank you so much for elaborating on that, though! This is the kind of demystification that I, and probably a lot of artists, need. The art market in general is certainly over-saturated with many digital art market trends. Furry art, adoptables, emojis, video game assets, v-tuber models, fanart, ... I feel like I personally have to realize that learning all these things is not necessary for me to feel like a valid artist. Let alone the term artist has become so ambiguous. It's sensory overload to me when I think of the imagined standards of being an artist - (aka marketer, designer, publisher, producer, researcher). Making people aware of a saturated market is really important for us, so we can stick to our own creative ideas; yet. the false glory of brand awareness is hurting us.
Furry art, adoptables, emojis, video game assets, v-tuber models, fanart. These are all 2D visual art or 3D visual art. And skeletal animation. These are all similar, and have overlapping skillsets. It's likely if you learn like two or three of these, the rest will come naturally, as the skills overlap.

Well, as you said. You don't have to learn any of these things. Choice, etc. I honestly think digital artists should try being multimedia artists for fun, not out of obligation. There's a lot of joy in being the jack of all trades, and being able to do a lot of awesome things on the computer. But yeah.

Artist has always been an ambiguous term. Ask the dada movement and the anti-art (art movement) crowd about it. But yes, stick to your own ideas. Have fun with it!
Lyonid wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 11:09 am Have any of you been involved in local art communities? I feel like moving away from the internet for my art may be a great way to bypass this market thinking. The exposure to others' work becomes limited to your surroundings, and feedback may become more meaningful! I never tried to join any groups or fairs of that kind, hell, I don't even know if they exist. I think becoming less online with our art is a great way to fall in love with creating.
I was involved in a local art hangout before Covid. I've been meaning to get back into the swing of things, but you know, Covid.

Libraries, community centres, local businesses like cafes and bars, and even geek culture stores. Check community bulletin boards (also found at the library or a community centre). Actually, the first and easiest place to check might be normie event management websites like Eventbrite, Facebook Events, yanno.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by tombofnull »

First, thank you everyone who've shared their thoughts and experiences thus far. I've been lurking but have been haven't had much to add for a moment, but wanted to add some thoughts on a couple of topics that came up. Hopefully I can keep my words un-noodlely!

RE: NSFW Furry art as a career option: Echoing GaryStu, there is a misconception that going that route is a magical instant money maker, especially those who aren't part that fandom in the first place. When we are talking about working with individuals who are also having to take the risk of entrusting a stranger with not only their money but sharing that kind of very personal interest/expression, folk aren't going to be keen about working with someone that only sees them as an easy cash grab. And people aren't oblivious—they can sniff out when someone's doing that usually.

While I don't offer those services myself, peers who do, and who are by no means amateur in their art skills and managed to build a hearty following for themselves, also struggle to make a living through that line of work alone. Of the folks I know, in spite of what they can charge or how it might look to outsiders, they still have to rely on secondary sources of income, roommate to afford places to live, gov't assistance, so on, and things like a retirement fund or good health insurance aren't even on the table. Personally if it weren't for my partner and for me being lucky enough to have a chance to build some kind of emergency fund to cover my needs during dry spells I'd be in much rougher living conditions. I don't share this to be discouraging, but to try to give some clarity on what stuff's like behind the scenes.

Why that is [in the indie artist offending commission work online realm], imo, can be partly due to stuff like over saturation. I’m not an economist, and when you are talking about a field as wide, varied, and subjective as art I don’t think there is any one great solution/answer, but various conditions that weave together. Tl;dr art-doing under capitalism sucks lol

Re: Artists in Cyberspace, Community, Organizing: Inspired by what madness touched on in her post and what GaryStu expressed: oh yeah, we are *very* atomized, which has definitely contributed to the race-to-the-bottom that’s been lucrative to various corps and the like. The online art world* is a lower case ‘c’ community in that we all have a vague interest in artmaking, but sorely lack Community/Communities where we organize to meet our needs collectively. I am happy to share that there have been some efforts to help combat this: Artisans Coop, Cartoonist Coop, and Banchan are just a handful of new groups that’ve popped up on my radar. [note: Banchan is in development and not fully active/on hiatus currently].
Forming unions and coops aren’t the only ways we could look into working collectively. I’ve bounced around the idea off starting a small, somewhat informal collective with like-minded folk where we could do things like split costs on convention expenses by sharing tables and rooms, boost each other’s work, agree on charging no less than X amount per hour/piece for commissions and wares, skill and knowledge share on the business/”playing the game” side of things most of us aren’t fond of learning, so on. Something low-risk enough that if it fails, no one is going to get burned, but still *something* to create strength in numbers/cooperation instead of outright competition. And if it is viable and peers wish it, evolve into a more formal coop.
I feel like this is something networks of art peers who are already friends could form among themselves. Will note that this is only a band-aid solution to a much bigger issue, but I think for some this could be a starting point if jumping into making a full out co-op isn’t feasible yet. And yes, it’d still take some effort and planning, but hey that’s most things in life LOL
[I’ve yet to do this myself for various reasons, but this might change as I start to reconnect with my local art scene again after COVID’s kept me isolated].

*This is a large, diverse set of people. But I assume we understand vaguely what is trying to be expressed here: the indie artist, mostly takes small commissions from individuals, and likely hasn’t worked for a big brand or isn’t that woven into the fine art realm, mostly digital illustration work, etc.


And on the topic of meatspace/in person art communities
: I have! I used to be part of what was in essence a renter’s union/art collective at a multi-studio art and entertainment complex. We all shared small studio spaces on the same hall, we all had to vote on new members and policies on how funds we generated would be used, so on. Unfortunately it was disbanded right before COVID for various reasons I won’t go into here. I was part of it for about a year, but it existed for I think well over a decade up to that point. Maybe one day I’ll talk more about my experience having a public facing studio in that context in a journal post on my site or something.
ALL THAT TO SAY/back on topic: Along with GaryStu’s suggestions, if there aren’t any events in your area/in a city near by, you can always look into starting your own art jams/art meet-up at your local library, student areas if you attend collage/university, so on. I wouldn’t expect getting a ton of people to join the first several times you host, but it could be an option worth exploring.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by minttea »

Speaking personally, I've drawn back from trying to post any of my art online. When I post, its primarily to make sure the one to two people I made it for can see. As for my 'career'.... I've opened commissions to no effect several times, and looked into what I could do to make that successful, but, in the end, I've decided to not try and make it off commission work.

Right now, my goal is to practice my skills to make a solo visual novel type project sometime in the next couple years. Right now I'm practicing with even smaller scale games, but at this point in my life, that's about the limit of what I can do in the art world. In the end, you have to compromise, and putting the focus on a slow build of skills is what's best for me.

Tragically, the more I've tried to find a place in the art ecosystem, the more I've realized how much it would chew me up! It feels sad to not try and push for it anymore, but just because I'm not in the space actively, doesn't mean I can't work on my dream projects! I just. You know. Have to be a lot slower about it all.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by Eyre »

madness wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 7:46 am
there's so much enlightenment that would come from transparency, even just transparency of numbers. but we operate in such an isolated manner that none of this kind of stuff ever becomes collective knowledge. instead everyone is blindly hustling, mostly alone with an illusion of community, and hardly any acknowledgement of the cold economic laws governing the process yet believing it to be some noble act of self-determination and benefit to humanity (this is more of a self-criticism of my old thinking but I see it near-universally in other artists)
This time a billion.
I recently finished business school where I did my final dissertation on artists/artist-entrepreneurs operating online.

I'm convinced that social platforms are deliberately engineered to nurture survivor bias with regard to how artists and creative people rate their own chances of "success" on their platforms.
And, as an entrepreneurship scholar, I'm doubly convinced that "the fallacy of possibilism" (the notion that any business you can think of is possible if you work hard enough) is perhaps the single greatest evil the very notion of entrepreneurship has to contest with in our present moment - something large firms, influencers, con artists and society at large seem to be working extensively to permit, not-condemn, or even openly encourage right now.

Most of the artists I meet who found niches found theirs:
1) By accident (they made something with no conception of how it perfectly fitted a certain niche)

2) By the good fortune of having their work fit with the strategic goals of a larger platform

3) By making fanart or some form of art that receives greater exposure, only to attempt (and almost always fail) to pivot to making their own work later.

Despite this, the best advice I can give is still to stay in your corner, make what you love, make authentic friends constantly, and most of all keep making and publishing everywhere it gives you joy to do so. At least that way you'll actually keep making at all.
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Re: Being an artist online/Artists, how have you been faring right now?

Post by Ray »

Lyonid wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 11:09 am Have any of you been involved in local art communities? I feel like moving away from the internet for my art may be a great way to bypass this market thinking. The exposure to others' work becomes limited to your surroundings, and feedback may become more meaningful! I never tried to join any groups or fairs of that kind, hell, I don't even know if they exist. I think becoming less online with our art is a great way to fall in love with creating.
Sadly, no. Not for lack of trying, either. I went to the "academy of fine arts" in my region (aka the art version of public uni), where I met artists by the dozens - but just a handful of them were vaguely interested in the kind of art I'm into, and personal drama did away with them anyway lol

The local art scene is... Exactly the opposite of what I like tbh! I feel like I got really unlucky with this specifically - there ARE cool artists hanging around, but they stuff they do and the way they go about it is unbearable to me. :')

The closest thing to a local art scene that I also vibed with was... Other artists more like myself on Instagram. There's (was?) a brimming community of Italian artists, authors, creatives etc on that platform!
At the end, I partly couldn't stand Instagram anymore, and partly kind of. Just really got overwhelmed and scared about all these cool people I could've socialized with :')

Being overwhelmed and leaving was on me 100% - but still, I refute the idea that being offline is always better in any case. There's lots of people who, offline, would be completely isolated. I live in a big city and couldn't find people with my passions - what if I lived in a small town? I would've needed online communities for art even more. All in all, I'm grateful for what Instagram (yeah, in spite of how horrible it is!) offered me, and am a bit mad at myself for not taking the occasion. When it comes to personal art rather that the stuff I do for moneys, I do partly wish I had the energy and strength to be *more* online about it - even though I'm still very happy to do art for myself only and not share it anyways.
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