Who Else Wants To Be A Social Artist?

Samui Art Gallery, an art blog in Thailand recently did a featured post about me. Here is an excerpt:

“Whatever business you run these days, you cannot expect the growth without implementation of social media marketing component in your business plan. And this is no exception for art business.

And since we are in art business, it is interesting to learn how community arts organizations are using social media and learn from many talented artists who are using social media as an effective way to exhibit their arts.

One talented social artist whom I recently met on Twitter is Randy Elrod. He really is a nice guy with friendly smile who have over 40,000 followers. His outstanding watercolors paintings that caught my attention since I first visited his blog.”

The term social artist instantly grabbed my attention. What exactly is a social artist?

1.) Is it an artist who utilizes social media as an effective way to exhibit their art?

Last year,  my online art gallery had sales of over $12,000 of my paintings and prints. Until a gallery representation offer was extended this week (more about that later), I had not ever considered exhibiting my work physically at a brick and mortar art gallery.

2.) Is it an artist who utilizes new social technology to create their art?

Consider this email I received recently from (social?) artist Jeremy Cowart:

“Just wanted to send you a video I made yesterday. Not sure if many of you knew this, but I’ve always considered myself a fine artist first. I started out as a painter, then somehow became a graphic designer, then a web designer and now a photographer. But the painter is still inside of me, dying to get out.

So for the last week I’ve been experimenting with a new process. First I a drew a picture of Thom Yorke for fun (you owe it to yourself to watch both of these videos—it is simply amazing!), now I’ve done an illustration of Christ utilizing Photoshop, as my own little bizarre celebration of Easter. So here it is. I hope you enjoy! Oh, and a huge thanks to Derek Webb for letting me use his music as the soundtrack! “A Portrait of Christ”

Imagine a physical art gallery having over 10,000 visitors to an exhibit with a single painting with no overhead. Is this social art at its finest?

I am very intrigued to hear you guys discuss this term.

Question: What exactly is a social artist?

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9 Responses to “Who Else Wants To Be A Social Artist?”

  1. I love this term, Randy! Going to have to let it marinate.

    Through the lens of the phrase “social media,” a “social artist” would be one who uses social channels to share one’s art.

    “Social marketing” is a specific discipline within marketing science. It describes how people and organizations use marketing to achieve specific behavioral change for the public good. “Just Say No” and “This is your brain on drugs” are too popular examples of social marketing that worked. Through this lens, a “social artist” could be one whose art seeks to positively impact the public good.

    Through the lens of “social objects,” a social artist is one who creates art that spurs conversations and community. In this vein, Hugh MacLeod epitomizes the social artist – he’s one who creates 1) cathartic art pieces that are 2) social objects and that 3) use social media.

    I’m very interested to see others’ thoughts and angles!

  2. I’ve always thought of myself as a social artist.

    My canvas is people
    My paint is personality
    My brush is wisdom

    Social media has annihilated more space and time to make me more efficient at it

  3. Erin Wilson May 17, 2011 at 16:21

    Hmmm… I don’t think being a ‘social artist’ and being an artist that uses social media is quite the same thing. Two installation artists come to mind.

    First JR, whose work in the Kibera slums was stunning. While the people who live in the slums could appreciate parts of the work, it needed to be photographed from above to fully appreciate. His work was meant to be experienced in ways that the locals were unable to do, and I think that those final photographs of the finished pieces, broadcast around the world, are what ultimately made the work what it was.

    Second, photographer/wheat paster Chip Thomas, who creates installations on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. His work is primarily seen by local residents. His work elevates his neighbours, gives dignity, and creates a different context in which to think about a whole host of issues. Chip posts photos of his installations, but those photographs of the final pieces doesn’t have any impact on the power of the work itself.

    I’d say both are social artists. One of them uses media as a medium.

  4. Erin Wilson May 17, 2011 at 16:48

    Treat yourself to JR’s TED talk. His Israeli/Palestinian work… brilliant.

  5. Weird timing. Just this weekend, Drew encouraged me to seriously consider selling some of my songs online — through my site. Said I could use it for Nashville plane money! :)

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