Make it, show it, share it! Your creative work out in the wild.


There are so many ways to share your work!
image source

In my previous posts, I introduced you to the influence you have on galleries by your personal curating choices and how that can be an inspiration to you. We then talked about a journey you could take to pick up some technical skills. The third blog was introduced you to communities where you could participate in creating art. Now that you’ve learned what inspires you, you’ve picked up some technique and are part of an arts community (you did all that, right?) it is time to show the world your creations!
The online world, particularly social media allow for a great many avenues for artists to share work. It used to be you absolutely had to find a gallery to show in or venture into the world of commercial art if you wanted to create for a living. There are so many places to sell art on-line I couldn’t begin to list them. This is, however, a social media course, so let’s focus on the pros and cons of showing your work on social media.
The first thing I would advise before you share anything online is read the license agreement. You also need to learn why agreements are written the way they are. I have seen a great many memes about Facebook or Twitter forcing you to agree to let them copy and share your images. This is a bit misleading. If a person or organization does not get permission to duplicate your work and they do, they are breaking copyright law. The second you post something it’s copied, so this consent is necessary. You also need to check the default settings for things. A few years ago, Yahoo was criticized for selling photos people had posted to Flickr without even notifying them, let alone share the profits. This was completely legal. When people posted photos to Flickr the default licence was set to a Creative Commons license to share without attribution, even commercially. You also need to be aware what the licenses mean. When you create something in Canada. It is copyrighted to you as soon as you create it. There is no need for a © symbol, you don’t need to mail a copy to yourself. You made it. It’s yours. How you use your rights are up to you. Learn and understand the rights you are giving up or holding onto.
The first thing you need to do is figure out why you want to show work on social media. The answer to that question will inform what you show, how you show it and where. If you are a hobbyist and you want to show friends and family what you are up to, share it on Facebook as you would any other activities you are sharing in your personal circles. Instagram can be used for either personal or professional sharing of your work. Many artists use Instagram as a primary sales tool. If your wish is to be professional, your Instagram account should be all about your art. That doesn’t mean show only your work, it’s a good idea to post about exhibits, share other people’s work and engage the art community. Stay on topic though. If you want to be commissioned, Dribble and Behance are places where many art directors look for talent.
I would encourage you, no matter what type of work you do, to share it with others. Whether the best channel is social media or not is up to you. Privacy on social media is becoming an issue more people are talking about. How important do you think it is to protect your copyrighted work on-line?


Fun, profit or fame! Get your work out there for people to see!
There are a lot of ways to share your creative work online. To make the most of it, you need to learn what to show on which channel and beware of the pitfalls that could cost you money and reputation.



Make something, show it and share it! Get your #artwork out on #socialMedia, but read this first so you don’t get ripped off!

Join a creative community and release your inner artist!

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected. – William Plomer

In my previous blog posts, I’ve written about how social media has made us all curators. I’ve written about how you can use the online tools, including social media, to learn how to draw. If you’ve curated anything, even a few photos you like posted on facebook, or a collection of knitted socks on Pinterest, consider that inspiration! Something with that content moved you. Combine that inspiration with some of the mechanical skills mentioned in my last blog post on learning to draw and you are all set to get creating!

survey-iconHow willing are you to collaborate artistically with others?
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A great way to begin exploring creativity is to get involved in collaborative art projects. These can be online, offline or a mix of both. Social media allows for ways of organizing creative projects that would have been impossible a little over a decade ago. The painting at the top of this post is a wall about 50 feet wide and 12 feet high in a community centre in Naujaat, Nunavut. I’ve painted murals before, supposedly instructing students on how to paint. That isn’t what happens though. There is never enough time or money so in the past, I’ve flown into a community and painted a wall while a bunch of people stood around looking at me. At best I may have explained a bit about what I was doing. Naujaat was different. The project was done in 2015, the young people I was to work with were all on Facebook. Months before I made the trip, we began working together. We talked about ideas and beliefs important to the community. Drawings were shared online. Some people cut out drawings, assembled them into collages, photographed them and posted. Eventually, we came up with a concept. Because I knew what was to be done, I was able to make sure the right paints in the right quantities were flown to Naujaat, I was able to come up with a teaching strategy and get feedback from teachers and students before I got to town. This made a huge difference. The mural was executed entirely by the young people. All I did was wash brushes and mix paint. The students tweeted the experience as they worked which attracted the attention of the northern media. The youth of Naujaat are proud of what they accomplished. I am certain that this project would not have been successful if not for social media. There is a gallery of photos and some information on the Naujaat mural of life at

Online collaboration on creative projects goes well beyond using social media as a way of orchestrating logistics and collecting information. In 2010 there was an opera written on Twitter by hundreds of contributors one tweet at a time. The actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has organized a production company where pretty much anybody can sign up to work on creative projects with others, and you get paid for it! See How Joseph Gordon-Levitt And His Creative Army Of Artists Are Changing TV. According to a story on CNN collaborative creative projects online have become much more sophisticated in recent years. No matter what your artistic interest, there are people out there who need your input.

I’ve found working with others on creative projects to be energizing and educational. I’ve learned a lot from others that I never would have sorted out on my own. There are plenty of opportunities to join creative projects. Try it out for yourself. Head over to StoryTimed and contribute to a work of fiction, find a community writing project on Twitter. If drawing and painting are more your things, check out the best online collaborative drawing tools. Play around, make mistakes, then make things people love.

If you’ve followed along with my blog posts, you’ve discovered the inspiration you bring yourself and others via the content you curate on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ve learned how you can use social media to learn the mechanics of drawing and today you learned how to work with others to get the creative juices flowing. You now have all the tools necessary to make art. Congratulations! Next week – sharing your work!

Get creative! Join others and make some #art that people love! No experience necessary.

Get creative! Join others and make some art that people love! No experience necessary. Find out why creative collaboration works and how you can get involved.

You can learn how to draw like a rockstar in 5 days

fishArt has always been important to me. It’s important to you whether you know it or not. I’ve never met a child who does not like to pick up a box of crayons and create worlds of their own. Something happens around the age of 10 or so. Most of us stop. As an artist, I often hear about my “gift”, how I’m naturally talented. You know what? Bunk. Nobody is born with an ability to draw in their DNA. I’d even venture that talent doesn’t exist. How we are raised, a particular moment in our childhood, a great many things can lead to an interest in creating art. If the interest is strong enough, we persevere and spend a lifetime learning the craft. Why do we lose interest then? According to the Journal of early childhood news at around age 10 we want to draw realism. This makes sense, we are trying to represent the world around us. Here’s the problem. Teaching drawing skills is not a priority in many schools. We tell our children to express themselves, but don’t provide the tools to do that. If a child draws a car, it’s a bit squished, the wheels aren’t quite round – it doesn’t look right. There is a good chance that the teacher will still praise the creativity and hang the drawing on the wall for all to see. This would never happen to a math sheet where 2+2=5 or a writing assignment where evreything was spelt rong. The child knows the car doesn’t look right but has no idea how to fix the situation. Since there is so little incentive to draw, we pack it in.

Durer hands

Albrecht Dürer [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

The secret though is if you know how to write your name, you have all the find motor-skills required to draw. The rest is all learning. According to Drawing Academy, there are 12 essential skills to learning to draw, none of them has anything to do with physical skills or ability. The engineer Hessam Moussavi wrote a [great article] on the benefits of drawing on linkedIn. Notably, improvements in communication, problem-solving, stress release and concentration. Skills that are useful in almost any profession. Jennifer Landin, PhD writes in Scientific America how teaching her university biology students to draw has given them a richer understanding of the subjects they are studying. It’s also a great way to get involved in a community of interest. Whether you are an absolute beginner or make Albrecht Dürer look like a hack, there is a community for you to join.

Social media provides some great benefits for learning to draw while engaging the artistic community. The Facebook Drawing Club provides plenty of information on learning to draw. You can look up #drawing or #learntodraw on Twitter. The Ottawa artists Facebook Group is a place where you can show your work, learn from others and find out about art related events in Ottawa. I would encourage you to learn from these groups and contribute back. If you are feeling ambitious, blog about your artistic journey on Medium or WordPress. Join Deviant art for sources of inspiration, you can also have your work critiqued here if you ask. I would encourage you to pick any of the tutorials available on social media. Do the exercises for 5 days and you will be able to draw like a rockstar. Will you be great? Probably not, but who says rockstars know how to draw?

I’m curious, what skills do you think learning to draw would bring to your profession?

You can draw like a rockstar in 5 days. Learn how!

Would you like to learn how to draw? Good news! You can! If you can write your name, you can draw. Here’s how you can learn to draw like a rockstar in 5 days.

Never mind the MOMA, the ROM, the Tate or the National Gallery, There’s a new curator in town and it’s you!

courtest of pixabay:

In 1987 I stood in front of a broken wheelbarrow. The axel smashed and the wheel lays a few feet away. I was not on grandpa’s farm, or in the family garden. I was at a prestigious art gallery. The wheelbarrow? Not junk, not a tool in need of repair; it was a symbol of human labour. An artist created the piece, a curator decided it was worthy of display and there I stood. The exact same thing could be found in sheds, barns and garages across the country. I didn’t get it. I thought it was crap. I felt scammed. I also had no significant art history education, no context and whether something was art or not pretty much boiled down to “Does it appeal to ME?”.

There is, in North America, a long history of mistrust of art. Particularly the art found in galleries. In 1975 Tom Wolfe wrote in ‘The Painted World‘ “The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in modern art is merely romantic fiction. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened.” Canadians will be familiar with Barnett Newman’s “Voice of Fire“. A huge painting of an orange stripe on a blue background. There was outrage when it was purchased in 1990 that, to a degree, continues to this day.

We seem to be distrustful of art that is defined by critics, curators and collectors.

This is changing.

The public now has more influence over what goes on in galleries than ever before. Since the mid-2000s, many of us have started using social media. There are websites dedicated to the sharing of art. Deviant Art, according to Wikipedia is the largest online artists community. The site allows artists and patrons to post work where it is critiqued, discussed and shared via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. There are many Facebook groups where people share art they like. On Pinterest, you can find carefully curated galleries on everything from Renaissance art, to abstract expressionism to macramé. Popular opinion on an exhibit is quickly spread through Twitter, Facebook and Google reviews.

According to the CBC,  Thousands are lining up online for a selfie with AGO’s blockbuster Infinity Mirrors. The show is so popular on social media that Leah Sandals, and editor at Canadian Art says she is experiencing ‘social media exhaustion’.

I’m not sure what to make of this. Art is for the people. Perhaps social media is democratizing the art world. In the Washington Post article ‘Everybody’s an Art Curator‘ Ellen Gamerman writes about galleries in America that are deciding what does and doesn’t get shown in art galleries based on Twitter votes. Museums are crowdsourcing the curation of exhibits. This could have huge benefits in engaging people in the arts.

I do have concerns though. Art is not always popular. In the mid-nineteenth century, impressionism was seen as garbage. Today, thanks to dedicated collectors, we can enjoy the work of Monet and Van Gogh. Is there a line between amateur and professional curators? For me, there is a difference between good art and important art. Good art is the stuff I like. Important art contributes to the historical creative dialogue, spanning centuries and cultures. I’m not sure that in today’s climate, the National Gallery would have been able to successfully purchase Voice of Fire. That would have been unfortunate, by any measure it was a valuable investment.

What do you think? Is it fantastic that we can now use social media to influence what’s in galleries, particularly public galleries, or are we losing out when the voices of professional curators and art historians are drowned out?

Twitter: There’s new people in charge at major #art #galleries and it’s us! Are you the new art snob?

Facebook: We now have unprecedented influence in art exhibits at major galleries. Are you ready to curate some of the biggest shows on earth?