Wasted Time? Repeated advice from Art Blogs

          In my last post, Wasted Time? Business Advice from Art Blogs, I talked about the repetition of advice that was so common on the art blogs I came across during my research. They all presented lists of advice, and the advice was always the same.

          One piece of advice that came up everywhere was the importance of blogging. Every single art blog stresses the importance of blogging. The advice reads like this: If you aren’t blogging already, start yesterday. If you are blogging, blog more!

          I know that I went into art because I am a visual thinker. I’m a Modernist at heart, believing that a medium should focus on its specific areas of competence. Ideas that are best expressed through words should be expressed as words, and ideas best expressed though images should be expressed through images. The ideas that are in my paintings are the ideas that I don’t know how to put into words. If I could say it better than I could paint it, I’d have written about it.
          I suspect that a good number of my fellow artists are also primarily visual thinkers. Visual thinkers can best express themselves though images, not words. In fact, based on the vast majority of artist’s statements that I’ve come across, I’d suspect that many artists aren’t really familiar with words at all, and I’d like to suggest that they stay very far away from them in the future.
          Some of the worst writing I have ever seen came from an artist. And thats fine. Not every writer is a great artist, and not every artist has to be a great writer. But these art blogs are telling artists, telling visual thinkers, that they have to write about their art, and write a lot.

          So, when everyone is saying “blog blog blog, then blog some more!”, The easiest thing for a person wanting to take that advice is rewording and repackaging what has already been said. The temptation to copy and paste other articles, do a quick re-write, and hit ‘post’ is very understandable. I’d do it too if it wasn’t for that little Modernist inside my head screaming, “be more original than that!”.

          It’s very easy to do. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time, and it builds a nice back catalogue of blog material.
But it also wastes your reader’ time.

          I think it wastes people’s time not only because it’s the same advice told 50 times over, but also because the posts on these art blogs read like generic business advice that has been giving a quick re-write to sound like it is specifically tailored towards artists, when in reality its the same repackaged advice you’d find anywhere else. In the comments section of one such blog (that shall remain unnamed and unlinked), one of the commenters even pointed out that he was a fan of this particular author, but the advice in this art book was a repetition of the same advice in the authors other books. The series ran the gamut of small-time entrepreneurs, from artists to indie musicians, to chefs, to general home businesses. The commenter claimed that despite being a fan, they saw no need to purchase this book if you have any of his others, since the advice is the same across the field.

          The advice also tends to be a bit on the vague side. Here is an example of what I would come across:
1. Try to build and maintain a good relationship with your collectors.
2. Try to….
wait, what? don’t go on to the next thing just yet! Explain the whole ‘how’ part of 1 before moving on to 2, thank you.

          So, what did I find on these art blogs promising to offer brilliant advice on marketing and business?

Endless repetition of repackaged general advice.

Thanks, but no thanks.

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Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.

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