Simply Safe: Protecting & Sharing Your Art Online
One of the greatest aspects of today's art community is that feeling of pride and accomplishment when someone across the country becomes a fan of your work. The Parliament certainly feels this through our interactions on Facebook and Instagram; what's more exciting than networking with other creative people around the world? Members of the art community today have more opportunity than ever to gain exposure and promote their artwork. In addition to photosharing platforms like Flickr and Society6, simply entering a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram is now enough to get a perfect stranger to discover your work (we see you too, Tumblr!). And that is FANTASTIC when used in a positive way.
Unfortunately, there are real concerns that must be acknowledged when sharing work online; too many artists have seen their images pop up on another person's website, under someone else's "ownership". And simply finding the best way to get your name out there online can be a struggle. If you're interested in gaining a stronger online following for your art, while making sure you get credit, here are some things to consider:
Low-Res // Watermarking
These methods of protecting artwork are two of the easiest, though some artists would prefer not to visually "spoil" their images with a marking. Understandable! While this is an effective way to make your work less appealing for plagiarism , you can also choose to lower the resolution of an image; The Art League is a proponent of this method, explaining,
"You can try to find a happy medium between an image that’s large and clear enough to convey the sense of the artwork, but small enough to prevent people from getting a clear image if they hit “print.” While you’re editing images for your site, try lowering the resolution to 72 ppi (pixels per inch) instead of the 150 or 300 that your camera might save"
Now, if you're reading this too late, or someone has still managed to use your work without permission, what's the best course of action? This can be awkward to say the least, but it's not the end of your career!
Dealing With Plagiarism
Picture this: you're perusing the pages of a local magazine, only to be stopped in your tracks when you see one of your logo designs in an ad on the classifieds page. Knowing you were neither notified or given credit for the work, you go into panic mode as to how you should deal with someone stealing your work. Copyright infringement is an icky situation to find yourself in, but it's important to assess how serious the situation is before taking grave legal measures to punish plagiarists. Fast Company Design has a great 6-step method for dealing with stolen work, but their very last point sums up this issue quite well
"Copyright law is tricky (it's law!), and the way it's interpreted can vary wildly by region because local courts interpret law differently...The best thing you can do if you think someone has stolen from you is to remain as objective as possible, estimate your risk, and know that when it comes to legal fees and your own lost productivity, you might win the battle but you'll likely lose the war."
Basically, it's a smart idea to seek the advice of someone who knows their "art laws", and think through every step of the process; you have the right to protect your work; but it could get much worse before it gets better. If needed, you can also check out this super helpful "legal cheat sheet" from Starry Night Artist Resources.
Hopefully this never becomes an issue and you're just reading this post for ideas on setting up the ultimate website for your work. We got you!
Creating A Website
Nothing says 'professionalism' quite like a well constructed web address that people can visit to view your portfolio and acquire your contact information. In today's world-wide web, there are tons of options for artists who want to have a stronger online presence in this way. It may actually be tough choosing just one spot to call your official website. Our Gallery Director, Cooper Millholland, suggests Squarespace as a good platform for creating a website because of the clean, easy templates. Tumblr is also a great platform because of its vast user network and its flexibility for those who know how to code in html! Cooper also suggests that artists designing a website strive for a clean aesthetic that displays your contact info easily.
So now that you've got a cool URL to direct your fans to, what other methods are there to effective self-promotion?! Quite a few, actually...
Your Art & Social Media
After your portfolio is established online, followers love to know that you're still alive and kickin', and passionate about the work you do. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook seem to be the go-to platforms for keeping the world up-to-date with your creations (find out how to build your art career through Instagram here). The Parliament loves connecting with the community and artists worldwide through our Facebook page and Instagram! Now, two important factors to remember when updating these sites are timing and frequency; the best time slot to update social media is between 12 pm. and 6 pm. According to Buffersocial , frequency of posting for each platform can vary.
It's encouraging to have a bit more know-how on keeping your work safe online-- artists are more confident to share their work when they know their name will be proudly attached to it! That combined with a booming online presence is sure to boost your art career in the right direction. We wish the best of luck to all you artists and dreamers!