First off, let me just say that most online artists have no clue that they're confusing people.
Because most people who take precious time out of their lives to even glance at art don't hang around long enough to try to figure it out. They're certainly not going to email the artists for an explanation. They don't care enough to do that. Why should they?
Artists, you should be thanking me ... Because I DO hang around long enough and I DO care. Before I proceed, let me just say that I'm not talking about art exhibitions in galleries or museums. I'm talking about artist websites and social media pages.
I thought I'd write this real quick because just a few minutes ago, it happened to me yet again and while it frustrates me, the truth is that most people - as I said - don't even care enough to even get frustrated. They simply move on.
What am I talking about? Confusing websites and social media pages.
They always make me ask:
1. Is this person an artist? I see art photos here, but is it THEIR work? It's not properly labeled.
2. Does this artist (I guess?) have a personal website? I don't see a website address listed anywhere.
3. On their personal website, is this person's work for sale or do they just want you to look at their work? I'm not sure.
4. How can I contact this person? I don't see any contact information. Is it okay to contact them? Artists, why not create a specific email address purely for the purpose of receiving online inquiries? It's a good security and organizational move. I've done this and it works great. Also, is it okay for people to contact you? Many people are afraid of art and artists and they need to know that it's okay for them to reach out.
5. What's with all of the photos of flying cats, dancing bears and knife collections? BIG turnoffs. What does this have to do with their art? My answer? Nothing. Nix those things. Be a professional. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, it's best to only post things that are related to your work and advance you as an professional artist in the minds of visitors.
Artists, I cannot stress to you how many potential sales you've probably LOST due to those questions (confusion) about your websites and social media pages. Once again, most people who visit your sites will probably only ask these questions subconsciously and they'll bail from your site literally in seconds. You've got 10 seconds TOPS to hold their attention or they're outta there. First impressions online are even more important than first impressions in person because it's much easier to abandon a website than someone in person. If you're trying to sell your work online, don't you want people to spend as much time on your website as possible?
With me, you've got more time because I'm always seeking new artists to interview, but even I bail after about one minute ... if I don't immediately see the information I need.
Here's a final thought. When I visit artist websites or social media pages that don't immediately reveal what they should and/or show what they shouldn't, I usually assume the artist just doesn't care ... so why should I? I bail.
Yet again, this has nothing to do with the art itself or whether or not the artist is represented by a gallery. This is total common sense when it comes to marketing yourself. You don't have to Albert Einstein to be a decent marketer, but it is a good idea to give prospective buyers a little information so they can assume you care.