November 19, 2020 | Alyson Stanfield

The Benefits of Blogging About Your Art with Lisa Call

Blogging about your art may seem less fashionable these days, replaced entirely by the quick and simple posts of Facebook or Instagram, but Lisa Call has proved that nurturing a blog can be one of the most beneficial practices that an artist can pursue—for marketing as well as self-discovery.

Lisa dove headfirst into the blogging world back in 2005 and created such an excellent blog that I have referenced it many times both on this site and in the first three editions of my book. Unfortunately, her blog went up in flames before I could mention it in my fourth edition.

That major set back hasn’t stopped Lisa from continuing to create what I consider one of the best examples of a good artist blog.

Textile art by Lisa Call
©Lisa Call, You Drive, I'll Sit in the Back with the Possum. Fabric, dye, thread, paint on canvas, 38 x 38 inches.

Lisa makes textile-based art and uses hand dyed fabric to create large abstract compositions. She uses her blog not for marketing her work but as a place where she can share her opinions about art and learn more about herself and her work. In fact, Lisa credits her blog as the single greatest factor in her success as an artist. (Turns out it had been an unintended marketing tool all along.)

In our conversation, she shares the benefits of blogging and why she decided to revive her blog after all those posts disappeared. We also go over some of the steps she’s taking to republish old posts and how her blog has led her to opportunities that she otherwise never would have imagined. Of course, blogging isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy writing and sharing insights about your life as an artist, this is an episode you are going to want to listen to.


Music by Wildermiss

Highlights

  • Lisa shares the evolution of her textile-based abstract compositions. (2:21) 
  • Why blog? Lisa offers insights into the value of blogging as a way to unite the artist community, share opinions, and market her work (the latter being only incidental). (4:08)
  • Structuring blog posts in a meaningful way. (8:40)
  • Recovering a broken website, republishing missing posts, and discovering yourself along the way. (10:10)
  • Lisa’s method for categorizing her current blog posts. (19:00)
  • Defining your purpose in blogging and setting boundaries within your posts. (24:53)
  • Details of the Make Big Art blog and juggling the ins and outs of SEO for two blogs. (27:25)
  • The benefits and accountability that come with blogging about art. (33:50)
  • How to find the balance between blogging, Facebook posts, and email lists. (35:30)
  • Lisa’s advice for successfully blogging about your art. (40:06)
  • A glimpse inside Lisa’s current project. (44:32)

Lisa Call giving an artist talk at Spark Gallery in Denver
Lisa Call giving an artist talk at Spark Gallery in Denver.

Mentioned

Quotes

  • “I have a fascination with making fabric do things that it doesn’t want to do.”
  • “I didn’t want to sell stuff. I just wanted to post pictures of things I was working on and create a community of artists.”
  • “Blogging creates an opportunity to step back from fitting in and being able to have an opinion.”
  • “When I blog I always learn something about myself, and it’s never what I thought it was going to be.”
  • “Blogging creates an amazing way to learn about myself and what I think about my artwork.”
  • “I can honestly attribute my entire career to my blog.”

About My Guest

Lisa Call
Lisa Call

Lisa Call is a visual artist that makes abstract contemporary textile paintings composed of her richly colored hand-dyed fabric. An American ex-pat living in New Zealand, her work is informed by the surrounding landscape and also her fascination with repetition.

Lisa works in series, exploring themes of interest in great depth. She manipulates sections of pre-constructed color, versus applying pigment in small brush strokes, to create each composition. Individual elements are cut freehand and placed onto a flannel-covered studio wall, where she works improvisationally—designing, constructing, and refining the lines and shapes in the piece. Extensive stitching on the surface adds rich texture to the finished work.


Music by Wildermiss

9 comments add a comment
  • Wonderful, well produced, and VERY informative.
    — Dr. Strangelove. Ottawa

  • Thanks for an inspiring podcast. I’m going to think about redirecting my blog to make it more enjoyable to write!

  • Bharti S.

    In general people have their own source & ways to earn an income, but sad, often many of them forget that they should explore their areas of interest or discover their passion that actually makes them LIVE . For me BEING AN ARTIST is a wonderful way to distress and enjoy my ME time to the fullest. Am fortunate my friends appreciate my work that i do as an Artist and some envy too:)I am often considered as a person out of this world as painting has helped to enjoy my own company and I can now survive happily being all alone with my painting essentials. I frame my paintings and gift it to people who respect my art and who understands the value of an art….but have plans to convert my passion into a small part business in near future…ART IS WHAT IT DOES TO YOU…WE NEED NOT EXPLAIN IT TO THE WORLD . Period.

  • Just got around to listening to this episode. I loved Lisa’s honesty and lack of hype around her experiences.

    So much of what she said totally resonated with me having also blogged for an inordinate amount of years (!), although not all on one site, and gone through lots of similar experiences – including having to rebuild my SEO due to domain issues – and editing a ton of old posts. (I bet there were some SEO experts out there having apoplexy at the idea of Lisa deleting those posts!)

    But more than anything I resonated with Lisa’s dilemma’s about writing for collectors or writing for other artists, whether to split that onto different sites, how to avoid your blog morphing into a sales page, and how all that dovetails (or not) with social media.

    Blogging has changed so much over the years and I’ve struggled with all these issues and continue to do so. All my SEO work is finally having an effect and my blog traffic is starting to climb again – although I don’t blog as regularly now due, like Lisa, to other writing commitments.

    So once again I find myself revisiting the ideas behind why I like to write, why I want to get away from the idea of my website as a ‘sales vehicle’ and get back to writing because I enjoy it, I want to connect with others and because, also like Lisa, it helps me learn about myself in relation to my art and hopefully helps others to do the same.

    I have a sense that many people are beginning to tire of social media and may turn to blogs again. Certainly lots of good bloggers have continued to blog and to show that good SEO and an authentic blogging voice are not mutually exclusive.

    Thanks to you both for a really stimulating listen!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Thanks for listening, Cherry. You’re an excellent writer, so I’m happy this spoke to you. As I may have said in the episode (I can’t remember!) I believe that you write for yourself and that collectors are interested in the same thing that artists are interested in. They’re interested in your life as an artist.

  • The Artist Formerly Known as ....

    I’ve always been an advocate of blogging, on one’s own site, over relying 100% on sites owned by others. By using a 3rd party site, you are totally dependent on that site staying online and not changing their terms of service to something you can’t live with. If they fail or you have to leave, all of your hard work immediately disappears. Or you are forced to rescue your content and build a website with little to no notice. And, then all of your marketing materials will likely also have to be redone to reflect your new online home.

    I’ve been blogging and creating websites for years. In the beginning; the idea was to share my love for the topics on the sites, help promote the creative endeavors of others and share my own work – and to generate some income from each of them. At the moment, they are my primary source of income. Most are arts and crafts related, some are not.

    As I am preparing to transition from part-time crafter to full-time artist, I wonder if my past endeavors could undermine my new ones.

    When I look at sites like Lisa’s, I see the journey of an artist. Like many artist websites and blogs I’ve looked at recently; I don’t see a lot of what you can currently find on my sites. i.e. There’s no tutorials on something like making a quilted pillowcase or simple Christmas ornament. There’s no tutorials on an experiment with embroidery or free embroidery patterns. There’s no creative and crafty but totally unrelated-to-quilting project tutorials and ideas.

    Currently, a search for my name will lead you to my free patterns and a number of non-craft/art related websites; including a semi- abandoned business services website.

    Am I overthinking things here? Or, do I need to work on upgrading my online image to remove those less sophisticated projects? Do I try to brand my art under a separate pseudonym or business name? Or do I embrace them as all being part of my journey and try to somehow package them as part of a wider skill set and personal interests?

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