why most artists’ blogs fail

By “artist’s blog” I mean, a personal blog by an artist, not a blog about “Art” per se.

I read a couple of artists’ blogs. I like Austin Kleon and Hazel Dooney, for example… John T Unger doesn’t like writing much, but he has a great podcast, Art Heroes Radio.

But sadly, most artists’ blogs don’t do it for me. And if you check out the stats of your typical artist’s blog, they’re not doing a lot for many other people, either.

Why not? Why aren’t more artists’ blogs more successful?

Most artists’ blogs fail because they fail to understand the basic truth about artists’ blogs:

Nobody’s reading your blog because of your art.

Your typical artist’s blog usually consists of little more than a photograph of the latest art piece, with a brief description like, “I painted this yesterday. I like how the purple dog clashes with the green sofa.” Or whatever.

But the reality is, most people are not reading your blog because they have an inherent love for purple dogs and green sofas. They’re reading your blog because THE PERSON YOU ARE inspires them. They’re not reading your blog because they’re thinking of buying your paintings, they’re reading your blog because the way you approach your work inspires them. It sets an example for them. It stands for something that resonates with them. IT LEADS THEM TO SOMEWHERE THAT THEY ALSO WANT TO GO.

And if your blog can do that, suddenly your readers are associating purple dogs and green sofas with something that ACTUALLY matters to them. And then, and only then, do they pull their credit cards out. Ker-chiing.

That’s the REAL job of the artist: To be a leader, not to fill the space with pretty “stuff”.

That’s also the REAL job of any blogger: To be a leader, not fill the space with pretty “content”.

Why? Because whatever your blog is about- art, tech, politics, culture, entrepreneurship, sex, it doesn’t matter- it’s either leading people somewhere worthwhile in a meaningful, positive way, or…

Nobody’s frickin’ reading it, end of story.

Comments

  1. Thanks Hugh for this insight. Obvious but so against out natural instinct which is to explain the what and how but not the why.

  2. Ouch, put down that sharp stick!

  3. Being a new-ish artist-blogger, thanks for the brutal truth!!!!
    I know it’s great for S.E.O. but it’s hard for me to really hunker down and blog.

  4. You’re not wrong, Hugh. I’ve been writing a clay artist’s blog for about 3 years now and just started a series in it about “Rules for Artists”.

    ……or Care and Feeding of your Muse might be more appropriate……..

    No aesthetic blah, no art babble, just how to get your head put on straight and how to deal with your own aesthetic and your own work.

    One good spin-off of the blog is that I realized for myself, I’ve generated a good bit of content as a source for professional writing. I would have never organized it otherwise.

  5. Hugh, spoken with conviction and a hint of experience.
    You’re so much more than a pretty picture.

  6. People might first come to an artists blog to see more examples of the work. I think they STAY, however because if they can “see” the artist.

  7. I get over 100,000 pageviews a month on my artist blog and have been writing for over 5 years. Months can go by without me ever posting photos of artwork.

    Yep – I think you are correct.

    Although I do sell art from my blog, there are folks that are there because they are thinking of buying the art. But I think they are a small minority.

  8. This definitely resonates with my experience; When people comment about my comics & animation blog, they tell me they love my enthusiasm for the art form more than anything else!

  9. That is an interesting concept.

  10. I’ve had almost 30,000 loads in four months … I’d like to think it was because of my art. x

  11. http://www.somethingeveryday.co.uk just for the record x

  12. I think if the art is simple and expressive enough the artist shoudn’t need to write allot. Maybe artits need to blog differently and the current blogging style doesn’t fit their methods for expressing who they are.

  13. Well said, and I agree. A blog can be full of pretty pictures, the art might be amazing. But if it’s just pretty pictures there’s no soul and no inspiration. It’s an empty shell of a blog.

  14. Brutal is a good thing. It might be what’s required to spark some positive change.

    Thanks for some great insight Hugh.

  15. Well i read a lot of artist blogs because of the art.

    I guess I must be an exception.

    • @Wood, you are not the exception, don’t flatter yourself.

      The guy flooding the artist’s Paypal account with money is the exception.

      I also think “Well i read a lot of artist blogs because of the art” is untrue.

      • As a new “blogger” I figure I have talent or I don’t. I’ll find out if I live long enough to stand the test of time. Always like a kick in the rear, and your comments offer some interesting musings. Thanks.

  16. I came to that conclusion too, although I was never after numbers, and have just started to add more writing to go with each cartoon. I started it as a stick for my own back so I would make drawings for myself.

    Only now am I starting to think about the visitors many of whom seem to stay for ages. But really it’s an excuse for me to have the odd rant. A bit like your post.

    Perhaps even further on when I have more time I will really try for readers and also try to connect with them.

    Bit hard at the end though. Some people like pretty content.

  17. I enjoy insights into my favorite artists’ lives, but I watch their blogs to see their art first and foremost. :\ So, I have to disagree, at least on a personal level.

  18. Excellent points. Thank you. Blogging without purpose is like spitting in the wind. But, the quality of the art does matter.

  19. Hugh, as you know, I agree with you on this issue. As someone who does purchase art though, I’ve been thinking about this a bit more since you posted this. There might be an exception of sorts.

    The only artist blogs I ever READ or are attracted to initially are the ones who write interesting things – just as you outline in your post: people like you, Hazel Dooney, John T. Unger, Lisa Call – those are a few I follow.

    HOWEVER, if there is an artist whose work I actually want to purchase (or have purchased) – I do also like to follow an RSS stream of new artwork as it is posted – just to have first chance to “jump” on a piece of art if it speaks to me and is available. An example of an artist I do this with is Keiko Tanabe.

    I think that artists might consider having BOTH. A regular blog as you outline should be the first priority. But then a second “blog” for their followers to keep up with new artwork.

    This second “blog” doesn’t actually have to be a blog per se. It could be a simple RSS feed of new artwork or, as you provide, an email newsletter to announce new work (which I’ve enjoyed receiving daily btw). Just some “push” method of getting the work in front of interested people.

    Anyway those are my latest musings…..they are free so I guess anyone reading this is getting their money’s worth :-)

    • Genius idea, yet so simple: it won’t annoy those who are only after the “art” while still providing entertaining fodder for the ravenous public. Yes, we’re definitely getting our money’s worth here!

  20. Man, I read this and was pretty floored. Just viewing someone’s art doesn’t facilitate the connection that you can get through the writing that you’re talking about. Definitely taking it to heart. Great cartooning by the way. I’d never heard of you before today.

  21. So you have to sell yourself (your soul) to sell your artwork?

    I subscribe to a lot of artists’ blogs just to get their latest works on the google reader daily. I like to look and don’t read much.

    HOWEVER, I agree with you about Hazel Dooney’s blog. A fascinating read indeed~! However, we are not all as gutsy as she is or even want that kind of attention or notoriety.

    Looking at the actual art is okay too. After all, it can be about the work and not just the artist.

  22. Great points, as usual, Hugh. Art is art unless the artist provides the “other stuff” that’s more interesting! One of my favorite artists (perhaps an exception to your theory) is Paul Jackson @ http://www.pauljackson.com — you’ll find a link to his site on my blogroll, as well. His art sort of makes its way without words, but he’s written books, and I believe he blogs a bit. At any rate, bottom-line, it’s true. Creative artists should be leaders if they delve into blogging. My guess is that some of them simply run out of time and energy to post something truly memorable, dynamic, or profound. So I try to give most of them the benefit of the doubt. There are all kinds of bloggers out there, some way more serious about it than others. And, luckily, we get to choose which ones to read. At least, Dickens wasn’t a blogger — now that would be painful!

  23. Interesting point but it all depends on how you measure success.

    I am an artist and I have a successful blog as well.

  24. As someone who looks at (not necessarily reads) a lot of artist blogs, I have concluded that most artist blogs fail because there is a disconnect between art and words. [She assumes her soapbox.] Artists have to find the words to connect people to the work–to convey their passion to the readers in a way that compels the reader to give a damn what you do.

    And, no, using the word “love” doesn’t do the trick. Saying “I have always loved color” does not make me love your color.

    Artist blogs fail because they look like other artist blogs. The words and the images could be attached to any artist. Yawn. Nondescript.

    My hope is for artists to learn to better articulate why they’re excited about painting an artichoke and learn to tell a story around that process. The stories are usually there, but artists need to take time to dig them out.

    Most artists don’t want to do this. They fail to see the need for spending time on words. It’s the old professor mentality: “The work speaks for itself.” This doesn’t fly in the 21st century when words are required online.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly Alison – and Hugh of course:)
      I read your book over New Year and it really got me thinking, got me motivated (after a bit of navel gazing) and got my arse in gear.
      I am digging and spending the time doing it and yep, I could spend more! but its a process, and coming out of the internal process of creating and pushing out that energy to the external world – takes courage – and time!!!
      P.S. I really cherish your valuable Podcasts.
      PPS. I am now inspired to read over your book again…

      • Alyson B. Stanfield says:

        That’s so nice, Jane. Thank you! I hope you read Hugh’s book, too. It’s a must-read.

      • Jo OConnor says:

        I couldn’t disagree with you more. It is unfair to expect a person whose talent is visual arts and expect them to have to write well too. The best artists I know (and I know a few famous ones) are painfully shy or really full-of- shit or outright reluctant to publish their methods and inner workings etc. Whilst it may be interesting to discover the personality, that personality that doesn’t change the work, and if the work sucks, it sucks. Besides, I personally like a bit of mystery.

        • As an artist that can’t write worth a —, thanks, I agree. And there is no way to know me better than to look at my art, you may as well be reading my diary.

    • The two flaws in the argument that art needs words are firstly, a painting stands on its own, no amount of words will change what it is, if it can’t stand on its own then it is worthless. Secondly, the wealthiest ‘artist’ in the world today, Damien Hurst, is virtually inarticulate, and for him, it’s not a front, he really is thick.

      • Paintings stand on their own? What art history books have you been reading? Existentially, you may be right. Commercially, not so much.

      • Paul, you made a good point. Many painters (and visual artists) express themselves through art because because it’s a different language on itself and there’s things that can’t be communicated through words. Actually I’ve met many artists who are extremely shy and lack comunication skills. I think as you that art doesn’t need to be explained, but if the artist can complement his artistic creation with writings about his life, ideas, and any other inspiration for their work, we would be able to understand beter his creative process and connect with him as a human being. Unfortunately you put Damien Hirst as example, who we can know for his “work” that he’s doing terrible things in the name of art, such as killing 9,000 butterflies and many other animals, even, worst making others kill them for him. It’s very sad that he’s wealthy for doing such kind of non-art. Artists without ethical principles and something meaningful to share with humanity are not real artists they are just provokers who earn their fame by making people experience intense visceral emotions. If you see his face it also comunicates without words that he’s an arrogant and selfish man. It’s very sad and I don’t ecourage people to feel hatred but compasion towards him and his supporters.

  25. I find you’re right and I find it problematic to some extent. I blog about “How to X” and I am very sure I have already covered everything there is to know about X. The problem with blogging as a medium for doing this is that people rely on blogs for inspiration more than knowledge. The solution is to either keep repeating old stuff which seems to be the eventually outcome of all blogging activity or change the format altogether, or—one can hope—that blog readers stop thinking of blogging as a newspaper and treat old posts the same as they would new ones.

    Maybe this is just a technological issue with blogging software and RSS readers and practically everything else being set up to display only the most recent stuff.

  26. Good reminder, followed by thoughtful comments. It feels important to me to share the thoughts and process behind my work, glimpses of why as well as bit of how. If I’m honest with myself and readers, perhaps once in awhile they’ll find something interesting, therefore readership could grow.

  27. I LOVE THIS! This little write-up made me laugh and made me feel better about what I’m doing. Sometimes I talk directly about what I’m posting, but usually I just write about what happens to be in my head/my current obsession and somehow try to make that relate to what I’m showing. Sometimes I have a lot to say, sometimes less…but for some reason, I just like sharing what happens in the space between my ears and my ribcage :)
    A lot of times, I wonder if I should keep on…but now that I’m going, I’m not sure I could ever stop. It’s almost a relief to have those thinkings out of me and out there in the world for other people to think about, so I can move onto considering something else!

    -Rachel
    http://www.rachelwolfe.com
    rachelmwolfe.blogspot.com

  28. ALSO! I couldn’t agree more….looking at art-it is a little pretentious to think someone comes to my blog to look at my art. Haha…makes me chuckle when I think about it…maybe some do, but I am in complete agreement with you, people are more interesting in the person behind it. Wait…is that egoist to think of myself that way? Am I THAT interesting? Maybe…I dunno, does it matter if I care? Nah, I’d still be doing what I have to do anyway.

    Hahaha…again, just love this post!

  29. Hugh, it’s an interesting thought you are sharing here.

    While a website is still more important than a blog to an artist, I also run several blogs about my art in addition to my website. When I blog, here are some of the other factors I try to consider about the genuine complexity of the online art blog scene and would like to better understand how to cope with:

    unprecedented recession-related financial pressure; the challenges of unequal pricing and expectations emerging from the daily painter phenom; a complex and vast array of participants; a complex array of reasons about why each artist is blogging and who they feel their authorized audience is actually intended to be (because not all art blogs are equal in their intended or expressed purpose, but are nonetheless part of one large community of amateurs and pros who can often work at cross purposes to one another without consciously intending to); how rapidly the blogging scene itself continues to evolve and change…..Whether we artists in our efforts to actually support one another with positive comments on blogs sometimes unwittingly close the circle to each others intended audience is yet another question that I am contemplative about.

  30. I wanted to say this exact thing to so many artists. Thank you!!

  31. My friend Maria Brophy turned me onto your site and blog.

    I agreed with this significant role we play as artists. It’s one of the most valuable gifts we can offer our followers and fans.

    Bravo for leading by example.

  32. yeah, so now I want a blog more then ever.

  33. I think the same is (unsurprisingly) true for photographers’ sites, even the more commercially-oriented ones. Another long stream of shots from the last wedding or family shoot isn’t as compelling as fewer photos and more written explanations, stories and thinking aloud.

  34. Ha!

    Back when I was first thinking about starting my band blog, I felt intimidated. I worried that I’d have nothing of interest to say. I feared I wouldn’t know what I was doing. So like any good geek, I hopped online and took a look at other band blogs.

    And realized I had nothing to worry about.

    The posts I found were BORING. “Thanks for coming out to our show last night, fans. We were really tight!” Or photos of the latest gig without so much as one interesting caption. Stuff that wouldn’t be all that entertaining for even the fans who were there for the referenced performances.

    I don’t hit a home run every time I post, but I generally do better than “We were really tight.” I might not be a leader, but I can make connections.

  35. This is completely and unequivocally true, and concisely stated as well. I shut down my art blog because I was boring myself. God only knows how badly it bored any readers. A new approach to writing about my art has been simmering a while in the back of my mind, and this post resonates with my current thinking. I also know that it is going to have an interesting effect on my art, as well. It is good to shake things up.

  36. Interesting..! what do u think about mine, just curious, would love to make it better!
    http://www.ladyandthesweatshop.com/
    Cheers!
    Rapha, aka, The Lady.

  37. Thanks for this great post! In the short time I’ve been blogging about art and no time to do it, I found your thoughts to be so true. Art happens when life happens, and most of the time life is more interesting than the art. I started blogging because I read Alyson Stanfield’s book, she said don’t ask why just do it, so I did. The fun for me is making connections with other artists/people in general. Art sales, not yet, cameraderie, definitely. Blogging about life and trying to make my art has kept me painting, so a plus.

  38. I painted this yesterday. I like how the purple dog clashes with the green sofa and that he’s eating popcorn and drinking beer
    http://bit.ly/cnwUg6
    As always, thanks for the inspiration Hugh

  39. hi!!! i absolutely believe that is true!!!you are right!

  40. yeah. you’r right. i’m also an artist and a blogger and i feel the same way. :-)

  41. What exceptional timing with your post. I started blogging a few days ago :)

    Will be interesting to see where it goes. I will definitely bear your words in mind though!

  42. I am young artist and fashion designer
    I have started to write blog about my art and designs but only one person left a comment so I think you may have right to give advise becouse you’ve got audience
    Maybe you could give me some advise how to lead my blog?

  43. Great comments for this topic “Blog fail for artist”. Why artists blog get fail? The answer for this questions are discussed in detail manner. Thanks for the comments.

    comicbook

  44. Art is an act of creation. Blogging (writing) is another.

    For some artists, having a blog is basically a gallery of their work with a timeline and “recent updates” feature. And that is fine.

    The other option, the one you are promoting, is for the blog to be a way to create something new /around/ the work they have already done, by sharing the creative personality and the why behind what they created.

    One is going to have more success as a blog, but the other one serves it’s intended purpose as well. Some artists only want a gallery, while they focus all their efforts on their primary art.

  45. For what it’s worth, I am not a writer, I’m an artist. I don’t want to “clutter” my posts of my paintings with my inner thoughts and feelings. Too much of that already in other blogs. In two days nobody remembers the drivel they read but they’ll probably remember that painting. And that it matched the sofa – that’s why people buy art most of the time, to fit their decor.

  46. I find the most successful blogs are successful for their writing, and then the photos or art that illustrates the written word.

  47. Absolutely right. Keywords play a part too on attracting readers. Good search to spend time on.
    Also must keep family members, friends out of the copy.

  48. At our Artistic Blog we are trying something a little new. It is both a blog about art and a personal blog yet it is maintained by a community of artist. So we get all kinds of artist with all kinds of work. We have the typical photography of the artists latest work and a brief description yet other times we get so much more. We also stay away from defining art. We promote, wrote, painting, photography, film, spoken word and so on. What we have found is that people are not coming for one artists per say but more to see what is new and what the community has to offer. Our blog is open to anyone who wants to contribute/

    Check out The Artistic Blog

  49. I don’t like to talk about myself. I’m a private person. I’ve never considered my personal thoughts and experiences particularly interesting to anyone but myself. I also find that a lot of people, unlike myself hate to read anything and are quite comfortable in telling me this.

    I very much appreciate it, nevertheless, when visual and performance artists explain in detail what inspired them to write a specific song, choreograph a certain dance routine or how they painted whatever painting that really captured my interest.

    I set up the main website of Modes of Flight to do exactly this with the individual illustrations and photography that I put on it, but I didn’t do this with the blog site (http://themofman.wordpress.com) that I set up in the Spring of 2010. So, I guess this is why the blog pages have had absolutely 0 traffic. Guess what changes I’ve just made to my blog, and Facebook discussion board? We’ll see if this works out for me yet.

    Hugh, thanks for the advice.

  50. I’ve been in art since 1960 and I’ve had my share of success and the one big lesson I’ve learnt throughout the years is that from the 60′s the art scene changed from an expression of raw talent into a political device.

    From your info I draw the conclusion that you’re South African and that’s NO GOOD.
    Like me you’ve moved to other countries to get a fresh start but the die has been cast in the eyes of today’s art scene.

    Kenneth Clarke saw the signs. He knew that civilised behaviour was determined by three clear and obvious indicators. France already had it and was spelt out out by Rousseau who said… “A country can be judged by three things (I’m paraphrasing here), it’s words, it’s deeds and it’s art”. Kenneth Clarke remarked that the first two were necessary in order to understand the third which was in itself the most important and he grabbed hold of Henry Moore and lifted his profile as a fine British Artist into a national icon and the game was on.

    Elvis, Little Richard, John, Paul, George and Ringo got the world to sit up and take notice. The talk was of British Art and the USA followed with Warhol and Pollock. Other countries saw themselves falling behind and scrambled for attention.

    Unfortunately, this is how I see the world of art today… as national pride.

    People will say I’m bitter but I’m not. It was William Butler Yeats who wrote…

    “…Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    I think the Internet is the first opportunity we have to regain our centre.

  51. John Walker says:

    You might have something Hugh,

    But then I’d never read your blog until I was pointed to it!

    Personally I think blogging, with a view to self-promotion, is a waste of cyberspace, period. Like writing, art is overloaded with people doing their darnedest to ‘make-it’. Truth is, it’s never going to hppen for everyone.

    So, blogging won’t help much. I’d rather be painting. Do I have a blog? Yes. Does anyone read it? Some. Is it doing me a service? Probably. Shall I continue with it. Yes, because it gives me something to do when I find a spare moment I can waste!

    Promotion in the art world depends a lot more on who you know. A sad, but unavoidable truth.

    Thanks for an interesting read.

    JW

  52. Coyotemon says:

    You got that right. I’m thinking of starting my own artists blog, fully expecting to be the only reader. This is a great article. Thank you. (Definitely not too searing!)

  53. Thank you. I have been considering opening a blog, fully expecting to be the only reader. You are exactly right, people like my art, not my words about my art. Ah, but the scholars, historians and critics need something to reference…

    Definitely not too searing. Nice work.

  54. So very true! I find that with my own artist blog I get the biggest responses when I am painfully honest. Seems that the art world is not all that different from the rest of the world. Everyone wants to see a trainwreck; They want to know that other artists struggle as much as they do. Rarely (I find.) do they want to hear you ramble-on about how easy it all is to you. This does not surprise me. I’m just the same! :-P

  55. thank you Hugh. I will keep that perspective when I write. You ideas challenged me to realize that so much of what I write is like an apology for not measuring up to what level my ego thinks I should be at, or what I perceive others will think of my work. What do I think of my work? And then you idea on leadership fell into place. Thanks for the positive direction.

  56. Hi,
    I completely agree with what you said about blogging. Not just the artist blog world, but the whole internet world is a “me me” place. Its common for people to tune off as soon as something appears to be egocentric or sales related.

    Being a leader, as you pointed out is good. Also, being original, sincere as others pointed out is good. Being unusual is also good.

    Thanks for the short sharp blog.

  57. Hi Hugh,
    Great piece on blogging and applies to non artists as well! As someone new to blogging plenty for me to take on board also.
    PS love the cartoons.

  58. Great kick in the pants. Love brutal honesty. Thanks for the motivation!

  59. What a great post, i never heard such a debate between blogging and artistry like this. I can assure that most art blogs are boring because I’ve seen a ton of artists just post a pic and that’s it! Personally, when I go to museums/galleries I like to hear the story behind the art, to enhance the experience. Writing about your feelings of the art will enhance the experience for yourself and the viewer. I’m still working on my blog/site, not sure if I want a flash show on the homepage or my blog. Maybe that could be another topic one day!

    • Oh… So you can really assure that art blogs are boring? ummm… (ton of artists just post a pic and that’s it!) So you mean visual art… You cannot really pass thru the door between our world and your world without an access. lol! How can you say that artists blogs are boring if you don’t even know what artist is, or what art is. A great work of art doesn’t tell you what to think… It makes you think!

      You’re free to send a reply mail to my email add. davidpaul3578@gmail.com

  60. Thanks for this! It is so true. I started thinking about why I read certain blogs, and it’s because I am interested in the person behind the blog, not necessarily their product.

  61. Art is spiritual. People seem to connect more with the spirit of the art and the art work. Nobody cares about a bunch of technical ranting and jargon. People want to be inspired. There’s always a market for authenticity.

  62. I’d like to think I’m getting the balance of showing the work, working progress and the insight into the person I am as an artist. Please check out my blog, comments welcome. Oh and I really would love a sponsor so I can go traveling now without any guilt that I’m not working hard enough at something/for someone. Cheers xx

  63. Hello Hugh,
    My first time here – was referred to you by C. Wilson. I’m so grateful for your insight because I’m in the process of creating my own site to promote my design business. I’ve been thinking all along that I don’t really want to blog about art (more specifically my art). 1st – I don’t think my knowledge of art is especially interesting except for the occasional inspiration when all of a sudden something clicks and I simply must write about it. Only then, is when I come up with something interesting to say. But, having to blog about it on a consistant basis terrifies me. I would much rather talk about geeky computer stuff or current events, news or politics… its a conundrum! If I want to draw traffic to my site I have to blog – so what do you suggest?

  64. An artist is being born! Not being “made”!
    There is no fail in being an artist! So what, if that blog made by the artist didn’t get much promotions of the works, that doesn’t mean that it was failed. A “true” artist won’t make blog for his works to promote his design business! Because art is “NOT” a business! WE are artists, not businessman! I do my works for the love of art! Not for money sake… Remember, if you can paint a beautiful painting, that doesn’t mean you’re an artist!

  65. A post about the evolution of my work. A lesson in the journey of creativity and pursuing your vision.
    http://rohauntoday.blogspot.com/2011/04/evolution-visions-of-color-and-shape.html

    rohaun
    http://imartseries.blogspot.com/

  66. Ah, the conversation keeps going! I run a collection of artists’s blogs at our site at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. I think the most interesting part of art blogs is the chance to reveal the creative process– that’s the part that you don’t see in the gallery. One of my favorite bloggers on our site is Jessica Joy– she is a really interesting artist but also has a gift for documenting and taking us through her creative process. Check it out: http://playgallery.org/blog/contributor/jjgold

  67. Jeane George Weigel says:

    Loved your piece. I’m nearly at the year mark for my blog (6 months with a changed name)and it is building slowly but steadily. Would love to know what you think: http://high-road-artist.com/

  68. I loved the piece and took it to heart as I just started my art blog http://www.righttothesoul.com and decided to make it about the joys of life and love and living your passion and dreams and basically going for it. This is not a dress rehearsal – this is it. I have found all the comments very useful. So please take a look – it will be a work in progress.

  69. I like this piece. I enjoy blogging as an art form. I’ve been “sculpting” my art blog and this is the closest I’ve come to finding a piece that sees the blog as an art form in itself. I look forward to studying your website more.

  70. This is the sad part about some of the most talented artists – they are not aware of how important self promotion is in the art world. Yes, you may have a blog with some great peices – but like the post says – its YOU that they buy into…

  71. well. i’m an artist and i blog about art as well. personally, i think writing and creating visual art are very different forms of expression. primarily, a visual artist might be expected to be a leader in the visual expression forms, i’d say.

    so posting her or his images isn’t quite a failure. not in itself. it’s what artists do, after all, putting images in the world.

    the failure starts when people don’t take the trouble to appreciate what a visual artist has to offer.

    if someone would tell you: hey i’ve found this terrific band, you should read their blog…wouldn’t you scratch your head and say: why don’t you give me a youtube link??

    i’m serious here.

    it’s sad to see the VISUAL aspect of art being relegated to the backseat by … artists themselves.

    so, although i recognize the good intention behind this post, i have to disagree as well. all this talking about art certainly helps many people to appreciate the art and the artist more. but this doesn’t necessarily make the art itself any better.

    if as an artist you are faced with the choice: to blog beautifully about your mediocre art or to write a mediocre blog about your beautiful art…i hope you make the right choice.

    • If those are your only choices then I wouldn’t give up the day job.

      Whats wrong with blogging beautifully, about beautiful art created by a beautiful artist who people can relate to?

      You claim “the fai­lure starts when peo­ple don’t take the trou­ble to appre­ciate what a visual artist has to offer.” You are essentially blaming your audience for any failures, because they ‘don’t appreciate your work’ This is childish, and completely misses the point of the article.

      Its the difference between “heres a picture of my latest creation – look at it!” and “here’s my latest creation; here’s what inspired me, heres the story behind it AND here are some pictures of it” Writing well and allowing people to join you on the journey, would naturally help them to appreciate the finished product.

      • I don’t think you got my point, and then to me it seems difficult to overcome this gulf between our understanding with a few words.

        I would not know where to start, since almost every sentence you write illustrates what I mean, by opposition.

        Les hommes ne s’entendent pas parce qu’ils ne parlent pas la même langue et qu’il y a des langues qui ne s’apprennent pas. (Poincaré)

  72. As a life-long artist/designer/writer/ cartoonist …whenever anyone tells me they don’t want to be an “art whore” and bastardize their aesthetic vision …blah, blah, blah” I say, “Great. Have me over for mac & cheese some time.”

  73. Thanks a lot Hugh. This small article has given me a clear direction. And helps me better understand what I should be up to as an artist. Thanks again!

  74. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve been building a creative environment on my blog for a year or so and selling prints pretty regularly. I’m still working on it though. I have about 1000 great readers/day right now. It all comes down to content.

  75. Blogging as an artist needed to reconcile both creativity and writing in order to make a web blog artist blog work based on my experience making it helpful and insightful to readers, enthusiast as well as artists. I struggle a lot since I began from nothing (scratch) when I attempted blogging as an artist online. My momentum isn’t yet on the peak that I wanted to be but it slowly pacing every milestone. Hopefully, people online and offline will tend to notice about me and my art. Suggestions are open to make my blog site more worthwhile.

  76. I have had to make a blog for Uni. I have hated the whole process. I am private, I am dyslexic and spell check does not help though through applied appealed where were I think you get the gist of this story, So please critic away, love you blog by the way cheers

  77. glen soikie says:

    nice stuff and i like the site as well cheers

  78. Hmmm this gives me food for thought….I have a blog and although I get hits from all over the world every day I can’t say they’re struggling for a ring side ticket!!
    I guess I write what I’d want to read on an artist blog – BIG MISTAKE.
    Thanks Hugh:)

  79. First instinct was to ignore this search link and move on. I was curious how you could have the ego to blog about why art blog’s fail.

    However, I’m leaving your page glad that I had read your post. You make good points, fella.

  80. Excellent article. We like to say Walls do not sell paintings, people do – whether that is a physical wall or an internet wall. People buy paintings from people. And they want to know the story behind the painting – they want to know the artist’s story, the painting’s story. Sharing bits of information about yourself, your process and what your art means to you, why it is important, relevant and interesting, why it is a good investment, etc., creates a connection with the reader. That connection sets you apart from the competition. And once you have a connection with someone, not only will your art mean more to them, they will remember you. Sharing photos of your art connects on one level, but your story connects on many more. And on the AIMBDA checklist for marketing communications, the combination of your art and your story ticks off the AIMBD, all of which are necessary before the final A occurs. (awareness, interest, memory, belief, desire, action).

  81. I am an artist and started blogging in January, I think / hope I am not just showing pictures of my art but talking about motivation, inspiration, feelings, where I am coming from etc… However I am struggling to get visitors to my site. So what is it you do to get the visitors in the first place? I have followed SEO tips and use keyword research, but still only get around 30 visits a month! I am in danger of becoming one of those failures, I think from lack of visitors! Any suggestions would be welcome

  82. I express myself visually. I am not a writer. So am I doomed as an artist?

  83. I’ve been an artist/blogger since 2006 and I have an art blog and a personal blog. Whenever I put too much personal content on my art blog, I start to worry that I may be confusing people who came to the blog to look at my work.But I’ve met too many people who say they read my blog whenever I post anything and that I have changed their lives in many ways.

  84. I found this a Very helpful & inciteful article. I’ve been developing my voice and concept in my own artists blog. This helps! Thanks

  85. Good Site.

    This is my site
    http://worldfamouspainters.com is a information based blog for most famous painters biography and their paintings.
    please visit

  86. I cant stop laughing.. now I can get back to painting the big one!

  87. Great article! One reason I’m basing my blog not around my art, but how to help other artists gain confidence.

  88. Okay, I was inspired to post here as two people who I read often, Clint Watson and Alyson Stanfield, are both on this thread! Also many good truth about what people want to read as well as what inspires artists. I am an artist and I am blogging about art. johnrshipp.com. I am sure I actually need to post more of my art, only one of my artworks is on the website. I’m blogging about famous works of art and my far out interpretations of them. So far, I am just getting a few pageviews. I don’t post often enough, I know, only maybe every 3 weeks or so but I try to post a long post so people know I’m wanting to put in some effort. Maybe I should post 300 words in 10 posts instead of 3000 in one. I don’t know. It is tough to break up a train of thought, I think. I absolutely agree with many others on this thread, try to post what you think people care about, what inspires you, a neat technique which you found that saves time, and so on. I also think many good artist maybe don’t want to get into deep explanations of their own artwork, far more interpretations will be created if none are definitive.

  89. Great topic! Unfortunately, a lot of artists feel that they should not have to write about their artistic process. Hell, most won’t bother to write an artist statement. I, for one, think it is important to write about process / practice. Most of the greats did. Artists ranging from Pollock to Picasso made their opinions known.

  90. Very interesting post and discussion. I am guilty of usually posting a photo of a drawing, a few words about materials used and nothing more. Although I have quite a large social media following, I’m actually very self-conscious about my work and find it very difficult to talk about myself. I don’t even have an ‘About Me’ page at present and have never written an ‘Artist Statement’. Still, I’ve sold 1000+ works since 2003, approx 65% to repeat buyers. I think my buyers understand I’m very focused on my work and not much else.

  91. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on art heroes radio.
    Regards

  92. Excellent advice, to the point and straightforward, just what us sensitive arty types need!

  93. I guess you need to satisfy the customer. However beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and it goes for arts aswell!!!1

  94. Hello. My name is Daniel Lamb. I am a new artist (even though I have been drawing for over 30 years) to the game of selling and promoting myself as an artist. I am tyring to establish myself on various artist websites and social media sites. I am reading as much information about promoting myself as an artist as possible. Most artists recommend blogs for this purpose. I came across this site to try and learn what mistakes to try and avoid. I agree with the basic message of the article that an artist needs to sell themselves and provide interesting information to the general public to gain followers and interest. What I don’t agree with is the fact that the information about the artist should be better than the actual art they are trying to sell.
    I looked at the Hazel Dooney blog and found some of the written information interesting and engaging so I clicked on her website to have a look at her artwork. To be blunt if I was a potential customer or art collector her writing and blogging skills are a million times better than her artwork. I think that is what is wrong with the modern art world in general the artists themselves are controversial, engaging, and interesting and their body of artwork looks like something a six year would put on paper or canvas. Many of you will say put your money where your mouth is… fine go to www.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-Lamb-Fine-Art/1406275959614088?ref=hl to see my artwork and judge for yourself. I think my best piece is the blue jay pencils I just posted. Let me know what you think at my facebook artist page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-Lamb-Fine-Art/1406275959614088?ref=hl

  95. I agree completely that viewers want to know the blogger. In less than 5 months, I have had about 22,000 hits. I am thrilled with that, but the money isn’t exactly rolling in for my work. Need to look for supplements. Any advice would be fantastic. Love your blog.

  96. I completely agree with the blogger. I have a site -up for under 5 months – with around 22,000 hits. I am pleased with that, but the art isn’t selling. I’m okay with that if I can figure some supplemental income. Tried Adwords, but it’s way too invasive and clutters the screen. Any ideas would be helpful! Advertising ideas?? Check out my blog at DearestBlog.Com. Thank you for that solid information.

  97. I’m only JUST starting an art blog featuring my drawings and I found this pretty helpful!
    Despite knowing what to do, I don’t know HOW I can get viewers some sort of motivation.
    I’m gonna try though!!

  98. Got it Hugh. Thanks for the advice.

  99. What The Food for thought!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your blog.

  100. Just started my blog yesterday and your words were very helpful to me, as this is all VERY new. If you can, please read my first entry and let me know if I am on the right track. Any tips are helpful! Thanks!
    http://rachaelrector.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/josephines-day/

  101. Sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out, all the energy spent on dozens of social media sites and trying to also be a “blogger” I have been a painter for a very long time. Now I have to be a writer too? But I suck at that. This is a great article though. It has made me rethink a lot of things. Thank you

  102. That’s very encouraging. I was thinking I shouldn’t be writing about much of anything other then how I made my art but now I’ll write about why I make my art. thanks!

  103. Ohh my, this is so true!:) People don’t care what you painted. Ive been posting every single day for the last couple of months. No one cares. But people do come to see what I’m up to. Because I quit my office job to do art full time. And its all painted en plein air, so people want to see where I went today and what I saw. They are inspired by how the life can be so different every day.
    Thank for being honest:)

  104. Absolutely simple and brilliant at the same time. Thank you so much. Will definitely be employing this strategy in the future. :)

  105. Several of the injuries are crucial, and the death toll might continue to climb.

    The movie is about their journey inside the walls of prison and the Shawshank Prison.
    You will find three key streaming video platforms?

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  14. I’m back says:

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  16. [...] by a cartoonist.   A quick search on “art blogs” showed Hugh MacLeod’s post, why most artists’ blogs fail.  As an artist with a failing blog (sidenote: can something fail if it never started to work?), I [...]

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  18. [...] small) artist blog, I started reading other peoples’ artist blogs. And I found out, why, in another blogger’s opinion, most artist blogs [...]

  19. [...] find you. The irrefutable reason why? No one cares about your photographs. People care about you, the artist. They care about why they should buy your art, enroll in your workshop, or purchase your latest [...]

  20. […] Hugh began blogging in 2001, long before most people had any idea what a weblog even was. He’s been a champion of blogging for artists ever since. Hugh has not only built an extremely successful business out of drawing on the backs of business cards, but he’s also had three best-selling books, all of which grew out of recording and sharing his thoughts on his work while he made it. If you haven’t picked up Hugh’s books yet, do so sooner rather than later. He’s got great insight for all creative types. If you don’t mind straight talk, learn why most artists’ blogs fail. […]

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