Deep Thought Thursday: Is blogging for everyone?

I got this question at the Boulder stop on the studio tour for my book. I'll throw it out there, although I'm not sure this is an impartial audience.

If your goal is to have your art in a museum, is blogging really for you?
Do we know of any museum-minded artists who are blogging right now?

And I'll add these follow-up questions, which I think are implied here.

Can blogging harm your career if you're on the museum track? Will you be taken less seriously?

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21 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: Is blogging for everyone?”

  1. I think it depends on the content of your blog. I don’t think a serious, professional blog would harm one’s quest for museum status, a good blog should even improve your odds. On the other hand, if the style and content of your blog makes you appear amateurish, it’s probably not helping you in any aspect of your career.

  2. Blogging is a recent phenomenon–everything is changing so fast in regards to how people communicate and how we see and purchase art–it’s hard to say how it may affect your career down the road. It seems to me that the museum world is pretty stodgy and conservative in how they operate (even though they would like to think they’re on the cutting edge) and I think it may take awhile for that world to catch up with what’s really going on with artists. Christine

  3. I would counter question: HOW would/could blogging hurt your career if you’re aiming for museums? It’s a genuine question because I’d like to know. Of course I think too-personal blogs, blogs with negativity/insults/or unprofessional comments about institutions or other artists could hurt you. But I think they can hurt you whatever your career goals. I hope to be on a museum track one day. I blog. If anything I think artists’ blogs can provide the type of narrative, historic writing (historic in the sense that it will be a reference in future) that become useful for publishing and reference later. Nowadays we’re simply doing it much more publicly. Blogs are the new journals and, to some extent, sketchbooks.

  4. Oh, just to add – it isn’t for everyone. If you find it becomes a useful, enjoyable tool in your practice then it could be for you. There are successful up-and-coming artists who, shockingly, don’t even use the internet! 🙂

  5. Michael Lynn Adams

    Is a blog a big enough part of an artists marketing tool box to have a serious effect on a curators decision? I think so. It seems that a curator’s or collector’s decision to acquire art, hinges quite a bit on a personal connection between them and the artist. Blogging can greatly enhance that connection. I know I feel a stronger connection with some artists through their blogs than I do with some I talk with face to face. If an artist’s goal is to get into a museum, a blog could be a powerful tool toward achieving that goal, as long as the content is focused with that goal in mind, and the museum knows that the blog exists.

  6. Thanks for inviting our thoughts on this Alyson. I look forward hearing yours. Here are a few of mine… • Blogging is an art form in and of itself. • What blogging is, means and does is still evolving. • People’s opinions about blogging are still evolving. • If you setup your blog so you control it you can take it down at anytime. • Blogs echo. • Blogging has a spontaneous quality that invites unprofessional presentation. • Blogging creates opportunities. • It’s a big time suck. • The benefits are worth the risk (I think, still weighing…)

  7. I’ve been blogging for several years. I started my blog as a journal of my journey as a glass artist – “the evolution of a glass artist.” My goal is to allow my readers to see the development of my work from beginning to advanced. My blog now has a gallery page each to show the main series that have developed in my work. It has certainly been helpful in allowing gallery owners to learn who I am – as an artist and a craftswoman. A well written blog is like an ongoing conversation with an artist. I’m not saying that mine is to that level, but I do believe, depending upon the curator, a blog could be very helpful to an artist in getting into a museum. It’s just another tool in the toolbox – it’s how you use it.

  8. I agree with Mira and Tina… I just began blogging about my art, and I did it as a way to journal my thoughts about the work. I love Tina’s suggestion that the blog entries could actually be “narrative, historic writing”. I cannot imagine why it would impact negatively an artist’s possiblities with galleries/museums.

  9. My father was a doctor & I am wired with creativity from my mum’s side but sometimes it expresses itself in medical research…I have been using blogs to work out my knack for finding cures to diseases, while under the auspices of “art” so there is some sort of context…The writing format allows me to unload all that excess science baggage in a creative manner…plus, if it helps anyone, in art or medicine, that is a good thing…will it help me to get into museums ? That is not an issue…I need to do what is right for me artistically & the museums will have to bow to that eccentricity down the road…not the other way around…(like when Morgan Freeman finally gets out of prison in The Shawshank Redemption because he finally doesn’t care what the prison officials think- & tells them…instead of all those years of smiling & faking…)

  10. I’ve gotten comments both ways on the blogging thing.. Like Michael said, blogs enhance the connection between artist and collector, and that’s why I do it. The art world seems to be split down the middle when it comes to technology in general, though. Half are really into things like Facebook and My Space, and find blogging perfectly intuitive (someone told me it was more interesting, and “meaty”, than a regular portfolio site). The other half hardly ever logs on to anything, including e-mail. These guys are confused by anything different.. if it isn’t a standard portfolio website, they get frustrated and leave. I’ve had this happen too. 🙁 You almost lose an edge over this market if you blog.. However, with time, this group will be getting much smaller, and I think that should be considered. So far I’ve gotten more newsletter sign-ups since I converted the whole thing to a blog, but I’m still testing to see how it goes. I’m personally having more fun with my site anyway. 🙂

  11. Great conversation…so I guess that means: great question! (and the question always holds a piece of the answer – so I really like that someone poses the opposite question about why would blogging hurt a quest for museum recognition). Personally I like blogging, even when I’m not doing it regularly. I can’t address the museum piece because I’ve never considered being in museums. I never really defined any particular thing I wanted to do with my blog but it has evolved to be about art and connections among artists (which sort of matches the name so maybe subconsciously I was going somewhere and just didn’t know it). And could change tomorrow. But I’m with the group that says that blogs can catalog an artist’s journey as well as any diary, and those who don’t at least understand the internet and its uses are, as one person here notes, in the minority and shrinking fast. Eventually even museums will have internet savvy curators because they will have been raised within that context.

  12. I tend to exhibit mostly in museums and art centers, so I write about them in my blog. It seems that many museums and “big name” artists have set up Google Alerts, so they are notified when I mention their name. I have had staff members email me after I wrote about their museum and one even included a link to my blog entry on his museum’s blog. I consider this to be the best kind of publicity. Of course, you should always say nice things about them!

  13. I started blogging because 1.) Alyson told me to (nicely) in her Promote class, and 2) I thought it sounded like a “youthful” kind of thing to do. I wasn’t sure where the blog would end up in the beginning and it morphed into something quite different than what I had planned. But good. It’s not about me that much anymore, and I’ve tried to start another blog just about the work…it’s not nearly as much fun! Or — to me — as interesting to read. I have always had “museums” in that back corner of the Big Picture Goals, and now that I’ve recently — and unexpectedly –accomplished many of those goals, it seems that “museums” is edging closer to the forefront. This is a deep question, indeed, Alyson. Are blogs simply our version of the artist journals, sketchbooks, letters, and other biographical information sources that have traditionally fueled the curatorial interest — or will they be perceived as something alien to the artistic process?

  14. I hope I’m on a museum track. That’s how seriously I take my art direction. The blog helps me to write a narrative, long term, about my art’s direction. Remember van Gogh wrote a long term narrative about his art, too. It helped his posterity. If a museum is that stodgy that it would “gig” me for writing a blog, I have my doubts about that museum.

  15. It all adds to the whole of the structure: every pebble, every stone, every brick in the wall. I have been working on getting my work out for a very long time. Having my name on a gallery sign on a major artery in Vermont has been very helpful. Publishing something would also help. Recently a writer for Artists Calendar did an article on our gallery/frame shop, choosing us (myself and my husband) from a variety of regional artists with gallery frame shops. The article was more about the growth of the framing business, but she chose us because she had read my blog.

  16. I’ve been blogging for almost two years thanks to Alyson’s urging. I believe blogging reveals the person behind the artwork and creates accessibility. As a bonus, it has improved my writing skills tremendously. I’ve made wonderful connections through my RSS feed even to the point of being approached to author (and get paid!) another blog of specific content. I consider my art career a business like any other. The bottom line for me is SALES. So it is with great surprise and delight that I’m included in two museum exhibits this spring as it was not my focus of intent. Did my blog have any effect on the museum’s decision to include my paintings? I doubt it. Why can’t artists have and do all if they so choose?

  17. Casey– you say ” I hope I’m on a museum track. That’s how seriously I take my art direction.” I’m not sure that you mean this, but there is an implication here that “seriousness” about your art equals a museum goal. Personally, I am not on a “museum track”, nor do I want to be—-however, I am plenty serious about my art & my commitment to it. My goal is to communicate with and connect to people who have similiar ideals, dreams and hopes for our culture..and to begin to manifest those dreams through the power of visionary images. Christine

  18. Kathy Partridge

    I’ve recently taken another stab a blogging. I’d started it before, but honestly couldn’t figure out what I should be blogging about…post after post of “here’s this painting I finished, here’s another one I’m working on”, etc. just seemed sort of, well…boring. But recently, I’ve found some really interesting blogs (not necessarily about art) that have sparked some topic ideas and given me an example of what a blog can be. I also got tired of trying to keep up with the standard “news” pages on my website – the blog’s automatic archiving under keywords is a really nice feature that can replace these. So the news and announcements will become part of the blog, but not the entire focus of it. I am a little concerned that the blog could become too much of a time drain, but so far it hasn’t been too bad. As to whether my blog would help or hinder my chances of getting my art into a museum, I think I’m not going to worry about it! -Kathy

  19. Because of Alyson’s comments on starting a blog, I started one then got frustrated but 2 months later I tried again and it feels good. As far as museums and blogs, who really knows what will happens 5-10 years from now. I believe you do it because you get a personal joy in writing your own words period not what museums think years from now. My blog is Let’s talk.

  20. An interesting question. The reality is that some museums already have blogs and others are getting blogs (I’ve been personally involved with the beta phase of a blog project with a major museum). The other thing to think about is that more and more of the people who will be making decisions in the future in museums will be people who are computer literate and used to a web 2.0 world of social networking using the internet. Blogs are just another tool in the marketing toolkit. One has to be sensible in making use of any tool. Use blogging if you are comfortable with the experience and opportunities it presents and avoid blogging if you’re not. Bottom line – I always think they’re a bit like a continuous private view – where the reader is having a conversation with the artist. If you’re comfortable talking about your work to potential buyers then you’ll probably find you can use a blog wisely and profitably.

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Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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