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« on: February 26, 2023 @765.15 »

I grew up in an arts family, and something Iv felt all my life is the sense that the wider culture often does not understand artists; it doesn't really understand our needs or goals - so often artists are on the sidelines of a culture that was not built for them; but at the same time totally defines itself by their work  :ohdear:

Sometimes it worries me that the web revival might start to lean in this direction too - we have such a strong focus on non-self promotion, non-monetisation and open-source (yet hard to use) technology; there is a risk that instead of inviting artists in and giving them space to grow, they end up getting pushed out because their needs and perspectives can't always work within those boundaries.

I find theres often a mis-conseption that artists are selfish in some way? That our goal is to promote ourselves for our own benefit; when in reality I think most artists are the opposite. We love our work, we want our art to be seen and appreciated; and we want to be able to make it all the time; so we hope we can earn a living from it even if its just enough to get by.

I don't really have a point here; but I felt like I needed to express this for some reason. Have you ever felt uncomfortable promoting your work within the web revival? How do you draw the line between good promotion of your work and the over-monetisation of the wider web?

I suppose my hope is that people can get away from the rat-race of sites like instagram; but is it really working for people? If it is how can it be better? And if its not, what can we do?
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2023 @779.63 »

I think people don't mind self promotion in general, they just mind it invading their unrelated spaces.

For example, I'd wager noone actually has anything against an artist promoting their art on their own website, or in an art-related community (like this one!). On the other hand, if my tabletop roleplaying communities are constantly overran by people pushing their barely related art in an attempt to sell more commissions, that is disruptive to the community, to healthy discussion and fostering social interaction.

I believe the reason the web revival in general is against self-promotion and monetization is because we are trying to build an internet based on genuine interaction, and not on transactional relationships. The internet is more than satiated with people trying to sell you something; but real, genuine connections to people are lacking everywhere. There's millions upon millions of artists, streamers, "content creators" and companies who are attempting to take a bit of your attention away to sell or show you something; whether it is a genuine artist who wishes to be seen or someone only in it for the money, and that is what pushes people away from the mainstream internet in the first place. It all feels "fake".

People come to the web revival on the other hand to have some semblance of real human online contact, and an artist who seems to be only a promotion agency for their product isn't that close to the genuine connection people want to have. Either way, I don't see anyone position themselves against an artist who also talks about and proudly shows off their art occasionally (that's genuine and most websites I see linked in the forums have it), but I understand people getting miffed at someone whose whole interaction in the internet seems to be a platform to sell or show off.


When it comes to the needs of the artist - well, it's the same as the needs of all of us. We all want attention, we all want money, and we all want to get paid for what we love. The thing is, as said before, people come here to escape from these transactional relationships. People will consume art of people they are also otherwise interested in, but not art of people who they don't otherwise get to know. I don't feel like open-source software is harder to use either; but if an artist wants to willingly subject themselves to software that discriminates against them, who am I to stop them, haha. It's definitely weird to attack people based on their software choice that hurts no-one but themselves.


Bottom line; I sympathize with the idea, but as someone who is also creating art online here in the retro web revival, I don't seem to have an issue with people getting frustrated with 'self-promotion'. Most of my "internet life" is already natural interaction about all kinds of topics, and therefore people are more likely to actually engage with my art too because they are interested in me as a person. Most of the people in the web revival are already artists, and I don't see a big backlash against them.
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2023 @874.50 »

My impression is that the web revival space is more for free expression than any commercial purpose. I don't think many people are trying to monetize their Neocities pages or use them as portfolio pieces (even though some of y'all have made some stunning layouts). So self-promotion takes on a different role here. Instead of being about marketing, it's about taking pride in your accomplishments.

I'm really bad at self-promotion because it's hard to balance pride and humility, which I think is the most important quality a person can have. It's definitely possible to show off your work humbly, but I always think of the people who post their own art on the Top Talent subreddit. It seems really egotistical to me even if their art really is top tier. It's like trying to give yourself a cool nickname.

I grew up in an arts family, and something Iv felt all my life is the sense that the wider culture often does not understand artists; it doesn't really understand our needs or goals - so often artists are on the sidelines of a culture that was not built for them; but at the same time totally defines itself by their work  :ohdear:

...

I find theres often a mis-conseption that artists are selfish in some way? That our goal is to promote ourselves for our own benefit; when in reality I think most artists are the opposite. We love our work, we want our art to be seen and appreciated; and we want to be able to make it all the time; so we hope we can earn a living from it even if its just enough to get by.

The devaluation of the arts is a huge problem in western culture. STEM is absolutely important, but it always gets held up over arts and humanities as more valuable or "real". They're always saying art isn't as important as STEM in the same breath that they're calling artists elitist. It's really infuriating how they don't see their own hypocrisy.

People also are more respectful of experts in STEM than in arts and humanities. I got into an argument with a friend a few years ago because he was saying that an education in art criticism doesn't make anyone more skilled at understanding art. I studied art and critical writing at university for five years, so that was a real slap in the face. When I asked him why my education doesn't make me more qualified to give an analysis of a piece of art but his education makes him more qualified to give legal advice, he called me an elitist.
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2023 @902.86 »

One particular aspect about art that differs it from so many other fields, is that it needs not only to be up to par in the technical sense, but also feel genuine, heartfelt, as if the artist made his/her work with the purpose of gifting it to the world to see, rather than offer it as a souless product to consume.

Your finding that people would sometimes see artists as selfish, is actually very accurate. Even if said artists do not intend to, the nature of why people appreciate art, which is ultimately the human connection, collides with the way the marketing methods which many of them used are perceived.

"/home/user" brought up many good points and examples that demonstrate such situations. It just ends up feeling very unwelcome. How am I supposed to feel a connection to your art(or heart!) when what I see in front of me, in its most basic form, is a salesman who is after monetary gain?

Being a side observer as someone who was just getting into drawing had also been a very negative experience. I've seen artists argue and complain about things like people who sell their art in competitive prices and therefore reduces their overall value, people who would chase down even the most ridiculous suspicions of copyright and free non-commercial use by other people, or would put down other people telling them their art isn't real because it should be 1 2 and 3. Where is the soul and love for the craft?

Even when I personally struggled with art and reached out for help, I got many responses that said things like "Maybe art just isn't for you", "try harder, you're probably just being lazy", "just draw haha", all the while refusing to share helpful information and methods. You really do get the impression that some of these people would eat each other alive just to come out on top! I could probably give links of people in forums such as DeviantArt getting absolutely bullied in the comments just because they dared asking for advice.

I eventually found my own positive environment to study art, but that was a very sour experience :tongue:

I'll be real with you about one thing, between us, just as your common and random internet guy who still haven't made it far enough on his journey to call himself an artist.

Even when I see a random artwork which is signed with the artist name, or marked with a watermark of any kind, it immediately discourages me from following that artist work and giving them any of my money. The very idea of overprotective ownership, of fear of it being used and enjoyed by someone else, tells me the following:

"I do not trust you. This work is mine, not yours. I made it for myself, not for you."

And at the end of the day this what it is about regardless if it's fair of not. One would only invest themselves in the art if they feel connected to it. An artist who fails to do so with their audience would simply be perceived the way that you describe.

It's a tough a situation for those who want to make a living out of their art since this in itself can sometimes be the point of conflict and misalignment.

EDIT: I'm sorry if it came out kind of rude. I just feel very passionate about this subject and I also kind of felt the negative experiences again as I wrote this.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2023 @943.13 by WingsOfImagination » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2023 @953.19 »

I'm not as deep into the web revival movement as you, so my experiences may differ, but from what I see around here, genuinely showing and being proud of your art should be well-received. You're not trying to sell something just by showing your creations, it's a part of your life and who you are. Some people are nefarious about it, but it's usually obvious when that's the case. I, and I believe others, generally assume good intentions on forums like this when someone posts their own work, and enjoy it!
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2023 @62.89 »

The main reason I suck at marketing is because, despite obviously wanting to make an income as much as the next guy, I honestly can't bring myself to promote my art solely from that standpoint. When promoting, I want to show off the thing I'm proud off and hopefully, hopefully, catch the eye of someone who's interested in what I'm offering. I've been struggling with my webcomic on Tapas, 'cause despite having a forum for promotions, a lot of it is 'sub for sub' and stuff, only hunting for number goals, and I just...can't do that. I don't want people to subscribe to me if they're not gonna read the thing and I don't want them to read the thing out of obligation only either.

Hell, I still haven't made an art thread here on the relevant sub-forum, despite, well, being a semi-regular participant at this point, 'cause I want to have base I'm fully proud of first. I want interest, dammit, not a numerical achievement!

I think my approach is probably more fitting for the revived web. Show off, be proud, but don't grind, that kind of thing. But it also doesn't bring me much attention, not to even mention any money. People say that for that to happen you need to take to twitter and reddit and all that, and I just suuuuck at those. I mean, I try! But the amount of hustle you need to put in is...not for me. I swear, out of all the cursed social media of today I'll quicker turn for TikTok - at least I like making videos!

So far though the most efficient approaches (considering that my stuff is hardly mainstream and doesn't make it to the front page of Webtoons or smth) have been the webcomic webring, the ComicFury forum and the mutual interest gained with authors whose comics I've also genuinely read. I feel like that kinda proves the point the web revival spaces are making (at least at far as niche things go).

I also feel like I might be not quite on topic by this point - if so, forgive me, I'm dead tired  :ohdear:
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2023 @706.13 »

As most people have said, self promotion is natural. I love showing off stuff I'm proud of, it's just that though. Self promotion in web revival circles always seems to take the route of just showing what you love doing and what you are proud of! I don't even have an issue with people offering commissions in these spaces, as long as it's in a way taht isn't disruptive or in your face. All in all I think that more artists should be willing and proud to show off their work in web revival communities, after all we are just a bunch of people making things to show (look at websites, they exist to be seen).
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2023 @720.84 »

I think my approach is probably more fitting for the revived web. Show off, be proud, but don't grind, that kind of thing. But it also doesn't bring me much attention, not to even mention any money. People say that for that to happen you need to take to twitter and reddit and all that, and I just suuuuck at those. I mean, I try! But the amount of hustle you need to put in is...not for me. I swear, out of all the cursed social media of today I'll quicker turn for TikTok - at least I like making videos!

Honestly, I think your approach highlights the difference between the "corporate web" and the "personal web" quite perfectly! The approach you're hating and can't relate to is the one that was engineered by Google and Amazon and is meant to make money and feed corporatism. What you're doing is making genuine connections, and what I think the web was initially meant for. Making those connections can seem harder and take more time, but I think it's more fulfilling overall.
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2023 @959.94 »

I think part of the problem is that there are a lot of people who want to make a living making art, and there just isn't enough work for all of them. Most people on the internet don't really want to commission anything. Because of this, unless if you're really talented, self-promotion the honest and genuine way just wont put enough food on the table. It's sad and it's not the fault of any of the artists, but that seems to be the world we live in.

As @/home/user/ , @MamboGator and @SilkSkull have said, just showing off some things you've made, without the intention of making a sale fairs much better. Still though, these days we live in the "attention economy" and at any given moment on the internet there's dozens, sometimes hundreds of different people competing for your attention. I wish I had the time to read every webcomic I read, but I can only really keep up with a dozen or so.

No one reasonable will get mad at you for trying to share what you worked hard on, but you probably won't get as much attention as you want. If possible, I think it's best to keep a "day job" and just make art for the sake of making something, but I understand that that won't work for everyone. If you're making it for yourself though, you'll be happy when someone comments on it, instead of being disappointed that only one person commented on it.

I don't want to be negative, I try to support as many small creators' patreons as I can, I just think sometimes we need to be realistic.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2023 @965.02 by Stonehead » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2023 @437.41 »

If possible, I think it's best to keep a "day job" and just make art for the sake of making something, but I understand that that won't work for everyone. If you're making it for yourself though, you'll be happy when someone comments on it, instead of being disappointed that only one person commented on it.

As as an artist that attempted to live off of online commissions, I agree. I'd rather just have a reliable job than being my own social media manager, "branding" expert and marketer, plus all that really does kill artistic passion. This is also a big reason I don't share a whole lot of my art anymore - I used to have this habit where I'd draw something, anything, just not to miss a day of activity on my twitter/tumblr/whatever profile. And I always got upset at the numbers after posting.

I try to make for the sake of making now. Instead of sharing every little thing I do, I try only sharing what I think is worth sharing, what I put effort into & am proud of, selecting from things I've already made rather than creating them specifically to post a pretty artwork.

And I mostly share with my friends, because...
If I share it on my fediverse microblog, same issue as big social networks - what purpose do "boosts" and "likes" serve for me, apart from "number go up"? I'm not connecting with anyone over my art.
If I have a huge wall of artworks on my website, it's all just going to blend together for visitors. They won't have much individual meaning or impact.

That being said, I still share on those, so that people can access my artwork that I think is particularly interesting or useful. I try to use CC-BY licenses, so that my work maybe can contribute to some other thing, or help out someone, or whatever.
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2023 @707.34 »

I've really only dipped my feet into this whole web revival movement, but a lot of my hesitation in putting any of my work out there or really starting to have an online presence at all again is from just how badly I've been burned online before in general and the fact that I was forced into commercial art for a living and subsequently lost my passion for it. So I have two huge hurdles to get over on this front.

I'm not sure the scrutiny and the potential for drama is something I can handle, even within a space I can more tightly control and without any of the self-promotion necessary to get engagement on most platforms. My goal was never to be "popular" or make money or anything, but my artwork is me at my most raw. It's easy to get taken advantage of due to that, at least on the so-called "modern web."

I've learned a lot - many fumbles were in part due to my youth and naivety for sure. But again, that wasn't the only factor. And the fact that I've been in some sort of commercial art professionally for half a decade doesn't help. It's marketing. It's manipulation. It sucks the joy out of everything.

Not to say I'll never post anything anywhere again, but the trust has to be built up first. And I need the time to re-discover the joy of creating for its own sake from my heart and my heart alone.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2023 @632.00 »

Please excuse me while I rant for a minute!
I think the online art community kinda sucks. (Emphasis on online, irl the art spaces I've been in are drastically different!!) The reason I love the web revival (or whatever you may call it) community is because of how chill it is. There's never any drama, unless you go out of your way to look for it, and even then it fizzles out fast and leaves almost no trace besides becoming an inside joke among those involved.
The art community on the other hand is full of drama, hypocrisy, and judgement. It's as catty as a 2000s high school movie. As an artist, it can be hard to create art only for myself. I'm very happy with my skills and wish to share what I make with the world because the art I make out of love tends to be what I'm most proud of, but artists who want to gain a following or be seen are regarded as no more than clout chasers who are ungrateful for their four Twitter followers. If you have no following, though, it feels like screaming into the void at times. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't with most situations, which is why I only post on a side website and my private instagram with 40 followers, most of which are irl or longtime friends. The only self promo I really do these days is that I'm working on an Etsy site and sometimes share it on my accounts, because I LOVE making anime keychains, damn it!! I genuinely have a passion for trinkets and wish to put more into the world!!! But even then, I always feel bad plugging that shop because even though it's small, I don't want to seem like I'm trying to be opportunistic or greedy or something idk.
And as far as online personalities go (since /home/user/ was talking about being genuine and making connections rather than transactions) I personally don't care for it, though I understand why many do. When I follow an artist, I admire their technical skills. I really don't need to know who's behind the art most of the time. And for me as an online artist, I go to the internet because I'm tired of being myself. As foolish as it may be, I'd rather be known by my art style and the anime boy in my pfp rather than my name and history. Being an anonymous nerd is really relaxing after a day of being an anxious weirdo in classes and at work.
So to wrap back around on topic, I think self-promo is a nuanced topic that has a lot of stigma. I think self-promo should be allowed and accepted in the right spaces, and many artists do it out of necessity. It's hard to make art for no one, and many wish to monetize that art and need an audience to do that. The only issue I see is that many artists dog on each other for it, and I think that's bad! Plug your shop on self promo Discords and your Twitter, just keep it out of my comments section, ya know? Artists gotta eat, so as long as they keep it in their own online presence/appropriate online areas, then who cares what they do with their art? Plus, I think online artists have too much pressure. Big social media has changed the art landscape for the worse, and I think Neocities can help to bring back some artistic freedom. We shouldn't be forced to be a business, but being forced to be completely, uh... *not* a business is also bad. Personally I think freedom is what matters most, not just in art but all sorts of parts of life! (But especially art.)
(Sorry if any of this is disjointed or poorly worded, I can clarify if needed!! I really hope I conveyed my thoughts right, I'm mentally spent after finals week and working a lot ;v;)
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2023 @915.66 »

Mmmm there's a lot to unpack here with this. Especially being an artist myself who sells at conventions and wants to do more conventions; does try to push their online art store on social media and well as a newsletter (more so recently as I just recently got made redundant from my day job :ohdear:); and all of the extra baggage that having fibromylagia has brought to me and the frustration of not being able to work as fast as I once used to.

Like... I have a link to my shop/portfolio site on my personal website (my neocities). It's there at the top of the menu. I do have an update on that personal site that encourages people to check out the shop cos... yeah. I mean, I would love if it was my full time job. Not to mention just to help me out a bit while I'm currently on this never-ending job hunt. I don't like how the modern web has made it so that if you don't churn out works regularly, then you're quick to be forgotten or unfollowed. And that's not fair at all. That's the one aspect that sometimes make me think my online shop is failing, because I can't make and produce new stuff constantly, despite having a rather good catalogue from recent years. I want my work to have longevity!

But anyways, back to the main point here: I have my shop/portfolio linked on my neocities, and sometimes I may do a gentle nudge. But, that's really it. The link is just there should you wanna check it out, as it's the other major part of my online presence and... who I am. I am an artist. But my neocities is just more of a peaceful park to chill out and visit and explore a curio or two.

I suppose I prefer doing all my self promotion on social media, anyways. Like, the way I see it, if they've made it hard to get discovered with The Algorithm(TM), then sure. I'll fight fire with Fire, and spend a few minutes shamelessly reposting my work and stuff and using all the tricks I learnt to get seen there. Feck it, it has gotten me a sale or two the odd time and some new customers. And even better again having been using social medias like Mastodon and cohost, my stuff there can be seen a lot easier and gets a nice bit of traction.

Ultimately, I'd like to make shrines on my personal site showcasing like specific fan art I've done of a thing I love. These would be images that I don't sell as prints or as trinkets, but just to showcase my love of a thing through the years, as it may not feel 'professional' enough on my shop/portfolio. From there, I probably would then end up adding a link to a product I do have on my shop relating to that said thing, just as a ways to say: 'hey, if you enjoyed this, and want a piece for yourself and show some financial support, here's a way to do that'.

I mean we're living in a world where AI and stuff are costing jobs of showrunners and other artists. And art for fun is so important to do, I do it holistically and make sure even the commercial stuff I do is stuff I want to create anyways. But like any other trade, should you wish to sell art, that's fair game. And you should be able to use whatever mediums and access you have to spread the word about your work as you see fit. Ultimately better to support an independent creator then massive corporations.

I'm not the best with making thought like this sound connected, I can go on tangents. I think in closing I do have some crossover habits with doing promotions on modern web and web-revival (my neocities in this case). But I feel I do push it more on social medias when I have the time and spoons to. With my neocities, it kinda takes more of a back step cos it's just more focused on my loves and interests, because in creating and updating that website, it gives me another creative outlet should I not feel I am able to draw at a given time. Social media is still a ball-ache. I think however there shouldn't be any issue with a creator using a website made in the web-revival movement used to promote their work, especially if it is relevant or an extension of themselves.
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