Marketing Mondays: Who’s Watching You Online?

I was chatting recently with a dealer who said, flat out, “I follow artists on Facebook.” No, he’s not really a stalker. He’s quietly on the lookout for art and artists who might be right for his gallery. He looks at the images they post, reading what they and other have to say about those images. “They don’t know I’m looking, but I’m watching a few artists this way right now.”
Of course dealers look—at postcards, at art fairs, at exhibitions in galleries other than their own—and they surf the web looking in broad categories, like New York artists or color and abstraction or encaustic (these categories are from my own experience), but this was the first time I’d heard such a statement out loud. No wonder all those artists are friending and following so many galleries (and, apparently, vice versa).
And wouldn’t you know that when I mentioned the activities of the first anonymous dealer to another dealer I know, the second dealer confessed, “I post under another name just so I can look and comment without anyone knowing it’s me.”

So, artists, if you’re going to post images of your work, whether on FB, your blog or a conventional website, make sure they’re both well chosen and of the best quality you can take. Someone besides your casual Facebook friends may be watching.

Over to you: Has anyone been contacted by a dealer or curator as a result of images posted online? Has anyone specifically received a response from a Facebook posting?


annell4 said...

Another well chosen idea. Thanks a lot. I have kinda gotten away from facebook, but maybe I should revisit.

Robin said...

I can't say I have been found from my facebook posts but I did have a gallery find me because of an ad I ran in a show magazine (Paradise City Art Festival) and the ad led him to my website which led him to asking me to bring my work in for his viewing first hand which led to me being asked to participate in a show in his gallery. I believe strongly in taking advantage of publicity, in all mediums available to us.

k.somerville said...

I got an offer to illustrate a children's book after an author randomly visited my blog and saw some of my artwork. I've also had some other introductions through my blog. I do sometimes forget that potentially anyone is privy to my work at any time, which is exciting and scary at the same time. I do not have an open account on my facebook artist page. I used to but there were too many spammers and people sending out mass invitations/ads to my friends.

Jason Hoelscher said...

Another great post, Joanne! You and Paul Krugman's NY Times Op-Eds have become my first-thing Monday morning reading.

I have yet to be contacted by any dealers, but my first show in Europe came about through Facebook. Due to Facebook friends of friends, I've "met" a whole network of like-minded artists, one of whom knew a gallerist in Paris looking for summer programming. We just had a three-person show this past June-July, showing four paintings each.

I think Facebook can be a vital tool because it makes it easier to interact with dealers who might otherwise be inaccessible behind multiple layers of gallerinas, assistants, directors and so on. It's fairly easy to comment on their posts, send along possibly interesting links, and so on (though all this should be done intelligently and not abused. There's a fine line between that sort of thing and being a spammer). This is particularly important for those of us who no longer live in NYC (or who never did in the first place).

In a way it's an online version of going to opening after opening for years, saying hi and chatting about the art, the weather, etc: treat them like people rather than someone you're desperately trying to court and at some point you become somebody they just know, as opposed to yet another unsolicited submission to be avoided.

Anonymous said...

I was given an opportunity to have an individual show at the grand opening of Gallery@2nd in Harrisburg, PA after the owner, Ted Walke, saw a slideshow video of 57 of my paintings/drawings on Youtube! (

Bernard Klevickas said...

Thank you Joanne for your open and topical insights.
I've had some fellow artists come to see my work in group shows, and I receive feedback. If any dealers, gallerists, or collectors check out my work from Facebook they have been quiet about it. I'm very open about my feelings and express them on Jerry's page and elsewhere. I feel Facebook is today's Cedar Tavern where artists can gather and talk shop. Without it the art world appeared to be a much more closed circle.

kara cardinale said...

we have had a few dealers and even some curators checking out the artists on the b-uncut network. And artists have definitely introduced one another to opportunities globally. Several exhibits happened just this spring in the US, UK and Canada where several of our artists showed together. When like-minded people share their work and experiences they open doors.

Anonymous said...

facebook definitely has different uses to different users. any thought to people who have separate personal fb pages vs "professional" pages - ie just a regular profile that they use for professional contacts. OR having an "artist" page where you are not friends with people but they have to "like" you (i think they used to have to be "fans" of you but i think FB recently switched everything over to the "like" function). this seems like a more professional route but at the same time it is less personal and someone who is trying to check out your work might feel that you are keeping things since it is not in fact your "real" profile and is in fact an edited presentation vs perhaps someone who is "stalking" a personal profile and getting a more voyeuristic picture

andrea said...

I had a dealer contact me through this:
We have had a good working relationship for 2 1/2 years now and lots of sales.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

My first show was the result of someone who got to know my work online through my blog. And more recently, I was invited to be part of a show via a twitter connection.
I wonder if it matters if one has a Facebook "Fan Page" in terms of having the right people look ar one's work. I have a regular facebook page, but I've resisted creating a Fan page. Having one more online thing to monitor might drive me over the edge...but maybe I should revisit that idea.

Hrag said...

I can say I've found material to blog about via Facebook.

Lisa McShane said...

I was asked to participate in a show via Twitter and that worked out well.

Lee Gainer said...

I was invited to display a piece for a show through FB two years ago. Since then, due to FB's crazy privacy and copyright policies, I have taken down all of my work images. However, I update with news about my work with links all the time. I hope it's good enough for the "stalkers". :)

Mary Anne Davis said...

I had a show in Toronto last year because of Twitter.

CMC said...

Interesting to know this, Joanne. I haven't been contacted to date on FB by a gallery.However, I have been on the internet with my work since 1998 and always feel like whatever I put up is there for the public...and yet I want what I post to be like you are talking to me.
Sometimes the photography is just working process but I do try to post finished pieces as well.
I have had shows and gallery representation just due to my presence on the web. Hooray for the internet.