How have you made yourself visible on the web?
I started using blogs as a free way of having a website. My first was Rotagavin, which still exists as my general news site linked from my website.
I use a number of diary based blogs based on Blogger and the a-n site, which have become artworks in their own right. They have a reasonable audience of mostly arts professionals who follow them, I think, for a laugh and snippets of gossip.
I also use a number of professional and quasi-professional arts portfolio websites - Axis, Retitle, Artselector, Artlyst, etc.
All my blogs are linked to each other, and back to my website and Axis. They are also linked to friends’ websites (who also link to mine), and many visitors follow them.
I started my YouTube account in 2007, and it has certainly widened my audience, and made my work easily viewable by galleries and curators. However, I am now able to use better quality sites like Vimeo (and Axis), or embed them directly in my website. YouTube has been useful for the sheer numbers of visitors, but the audience is not very targeted.
Twitter has become a very useful advertising tool. I have it linked to my facebook profile and homepage. I use it to notify of news, website updates and new blog posts. I also write the occasional review for a-n, and again these reviews have links back to my internet empire!
The Black Flag Game, 2008 - 2009
Alex's Top Tips
- Start with an artist management site like Axis or Retitle, or if you can't afford the subscription one or more of the free sites. Sites like Axis are useful as they have a readymade audience.
- Keep your sites updated as regularly as possible - don't start more things than you can cope with!
- Get a website - I use Mr Site, but it's a bit twee. Indexhibit is cooler, but is a bit more difficult to use.
- Make sure everything is linked, and that all the links work.
- Become part of the community in some way, perhaps by writing reviews or linking to other people's sites and arts organisations.
- Make sure all of your professional details are easily available on any social networking sites you use.
- Work to your strengths - I like writing, but not too much, so blogs and the occasional review seem to work for me.
Has your practice adapted to your use of the internet?
Some of my projects have used internet networking as a structure to hang the idea on, and have become artworks. Protest Film, which is now more or less finished, and The Black Flag Game (also hosted on Facebook) were interactive projects with contributors sending in photographs and video.
I am usually on the look out for good/useful images that will work online. But I haven’t had the urge to go hi-tech yet or start fiddling with code. A book of insults received on YouTube is one direct result of the interaction between my work and its online audience.
Does blogging so openly and honestly help you to work through ideas as they happen?
Yes, I have a number of diary based blogs (shown on the right), each also an artwork in its own right, and some have been turned into hardcopy bookworks.
They all have a central theme of failing machismo and relentless self-publicity.
They have facilitated an interest I have in blurring the boundaries between my work and life and also in foregrounding the process of being an artist.
Tell us a bit about your online audience...
Looking at visitor statistics it would seem that the diary blogs attract the most traffic. Run by Google, they draw a lot of interest from the search engine. So people looking up another artist or show, or whatever, will often end up on my blog and then go on to look at my website (for all of four seconds).
I have about 100 subscribers to my YouTube channel and have had over 3 million viewers (mostly accidental).
The blogs have a more regular readership of about 500 - 700 a month if I post regularly. My website and Axis profile get 150 – 250 hits a month (a lot less but they tend to stay longer).
Have you been given any opportunities by people finding your work online?
I have been offered work from people following my blog, and also from reading my reviews and then checking out my website. I find that some curators have been grateful for the mass of work available online, though it does reduce my mystique value.
How does Axis fit in?
Axis is one part of a large knot of internet links and comes up relatively high on Google searches of my name - sad I know, but I have checked! I have it linked to my website and most blogs, and often refer interested parties there as it is more concise than my website.
I also use Axis to advertise events, although I use the opportunities less than I used to (mainly because I have enough work coming in at the moment), but I’m sure I will be pouring over them on a daily basis again very soon.
I sometimes read the news and browse through the selected and curated sections.
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