One area where social media makes complete sense is art. Businesses excluded from this statement, social media is an emotional and personal medium, where people come to be entertained, informed and helped. Art is personal, passionate and powerful! When you marry the two, what you get is what Mashable called the artist’s NEW gallery.
One artist who’s had great success with social media is Tina Garrett, an Associate Living Master. Tina has managed to do in under four (4) years what many artists would love to accomplish in a lifetime. See who she is and what she did. After all, if you want to accomplish what someone else has done, you must be willing to do what they did.
Eddie: I saw in your bio that you’ve only been painting for 4 years. First, WOW, I know artists who would amputate a leg (because they need their hands) to achieve in a lifetime what you’ve managed in 4 years. How did you become so great and popular in such a short period of time?
Tina: First, thank you. I love hearing my work has touched people; but honestly, the idea of my greatness is uncomfortable for me. I’m very hardworking, constantly learning and I have had the most amazing teachers.
By the grace of my husband, who has worked multiple jobs to allow me the time and space needed, I’ve been studying oil painting full-time. Since day one, I’ve been learning from masters: first with the seriously talented Romel de la Torre, followed by Casey Baugh, Aaron Westerberg and several other living masters – all with the same essential painting philosophy.
I’ve poured over Alla Prima by author and artist Richard Schmid. Alla Prima is essentially a workbook for me. It can often be seen in photos of my works-in-progress, because it’s never far from my easel. Schmid’s color charts are on the walls of my humble atelier. I even require my private-lesson students to use Alla Prima.
It also has to be said, I’ve been drawing since I was a child and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for children’s publications since the 1990’s. Though not a strong foundation in life drawing, my previous work experience has provided a strong foundation in design, composition and basic drawing skills; which I carry with me into the world of fine art oil painting.
Eddie: And, what attracted you to painting?
Tina: Again, I’ve been drawing all my life. My wonderful high-school teacher took a small group of her art students to the Chicago School of the Arts our senior year. Since then, I’ve been in love with the master works and wanted to make work at that level of beauty.
Eddie: You are in private collections worldwide and even in museum shows, again in just 4 years. How did you promote yourself?
Tina: I have pieces in private collections across the U.S. and in the U.K., I wouldn’t say worldwide; but I hope to someday! Ha! In all seriousness, my years as a graphic designer and illustrator for publishing still serve me well; but in terms of understanding how to know myself, my work and my market, I was guided by the great Robin Blakely at The Creative Center of America. She offers a wonderful, step-by-step method for creatives of all types, writers, artists, etc. which really helped me ask myself the right questions about myself and my work, and what I love most, and what my intentions are in my work. With Robin’s help, I was able to honestly know my strengths and identify my weaknesses, and make smart decisions. Today, I pass her basic guidance along to my students and refer the really savvy ones directly to her.
Eddie: Was social media a key factor?
Tina: Absolutely! If I had attempted to become a full-time painter 15 years ago, I would have been limited to local-gallery and advertising representation at a great financial cost. Social media has been critical in sharing my work, triumphs and struggles, and building a following of not only art lovers, but collectors.
Eddie: Which networks do you use?
Eddie: Are there any which are better than others for you?
Tina: Though I have had the odd struggle with Facebook, in regards to posting paintings of nudes, Facebook has been overwhelmingly the most productive for me. I think it is due to the format where I can not only share an image, but write about my art making experiences.
Eddie: What do you do on them, exactly?
Tina: I share images of my works in progress, finished and even blank canvases when I’m starting a new work. I share awards, travel and other experiences as they relate to my art work, and I share the work of and support and encourage other artists in their work.
Eddie: Does your commissioning work come from social media?
Tina: Sometimes my commission work comes from people who find me on social media. Sometimes I receive commissions from people through my website and those who have seen my work on local TV news or newspaper coverage, and my niche of local supporters who know me through my beautiful historic downtown Lee’s Summit community.
Eddie: If you had to give fellow artists any tips on promoting themselves, social media wise and traditionally, what would you say?
Tina: I could give a three-day workshop on how to promote yourself and art on social media and otherwise, and I do devote a portion of each workshop to teach the subject.
First and foremost, it’s important to be authentic in your work and how you speak about it. You won’t fool anyone pretending to be and do more than you believe you are. Authenticity is infectious and people will share and promote you, because they too believe in you and your work.
99% of what you share should be positive and uplifting. Keep your personal complaints and negative remarks – regardless of the subject – off social media.
Be kind in all your actions, and help and encourage fellow artists regularly. Jealousy never sold a painting and will only hurt you. Unfollow, unfriend or block people who are negative, to make sure your news feed is clean of those kinds of distractions, then you won’t be tempted to interject.
In traditional media, learn how to write press releases and who to send them to at your local publications. Be clear, direct and honest, and share often. You’ll get picked up and be on the front cover of the local paper in no time!
Lastly, know what your strengths are. If you are not a writer, a marketing genius, an accountant – hire one! My best and most favorite attribute is painting. I try never to waste my time and energy doing other tasks poorly, when someone with the right training and skill can do it, and spare me stress and anxiety.
Eddie: Those are fabulous tips! Especially the local newspaper PR. Local papers love local stories and will eventually pick up an interesting artist. And I totally agree with your comments on negativism. Great point!
Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to give me this interview. My readers thank you as well, as you have added value to the conversation. I truly feel honored.
There you have it! Tina Garrett is an amazing artist, but more so, she’s an amazing person. I love her humility, generosity and positive spirit. It’s so attractive and its why people are attracted to her work and want to connect with her on social media.