Visual artist Kristina Havens, a.k.a. Krystyna81, wrote to me with a great story of success as a result of her presence on Twitter, a free social networking and microblogging service. On Twitter you can share news, links to blog posts, photos and communicate with a group of your “followers.” Read on to hear Kristina’s story and her tips on using this cool (and quick) networking tool.
Selling art online can take time to find the right combination of factors — planting little seeds in different areas, getting the right amount of exposure and cultivating the perfect relationships. Twitter is one place where sometimes, the right combination takes place, and beautiful things can come from it.
I started posting via Twitter a few months after starting to sell on Etsy, and did my best to do the main things everyone recommended — gain followers, search for fellow Etsy sellers, follow other artists, try to get Ashton to tweet back to me, etc. I tried to be funny (hey…I laugh at myself ALL the time!) but to also remember why I was there — to promote my art and put my work out there for people to see. So I posted links to my blog and my Etsy shop while mixing in comments about being a SAHM and the quest to boil the perfect egg (a goal that was quickly reached with all the helpful hints from fellow tweeple!)
One day I received a message from Laura Mercurio Ebohon (on Twitter she’s known as LauraLME) in Italy who had seen my painting, “Guarded,” and wanted to talk with me about using it on her first published book of poetry. We began writing back and forth, wrote up a contract and reworked the painting to fit the cover of the book.
A few months later, I received a package from Laura, and inside was her beautiful book. And there was my painting, on the cover. I was holding in my hands tangible evidence of our friendship and collaboration that had crossed an ocean. I knew I was excited about the project and knew it meant a lot to me that she liked my work, but it was nothing compared to the way I felt after I held the book in my hand and read her poetry.
Her work is emotive, deeply personal, yet also so very universal. It was incredibly humbling to see that she felt my art resonated those same qualities, and together made them both all the more beautiful. She had trusted me with that great honor of being the first impression when people look at her book.
I asked Laura if she had been searching for a cover, and she replied:
My first poetry book was almost done, I had my title already, Se guardo dentro (If I look inside), but I had not found the image that could summarize the intimate feeling/mood of the verses about to be published. When I saw Kristina’s painting, “Guarded,” it had everything I could have possibly dreamed of for my cover — it was like the answer that by magic you receive before asking the question! As I always say, my book would have not been complete without Kristina’s “Guarded” on the cover!
So, how did the right person see the right painting at the right time? Can you put the right picture in front of the right person at the right time? Yes, you can. If you focus your efforts and always put your best work in the right light, you will see results.
I create art in a variety of media and even a variety of subject matters, but my strongest pieces are my figurative works. So I focus my blog posts and the links I post on Twitter on my latest figure drawings and paintings, figurative art techniques, and figurative artists who inspire me. The biggest success stories I have from selling online all center around my figurative art.
Seek out others who share your interests. Grow your sphere of influence by paying attention to who other tweeple are following. Are you a visual artist? You should follow galleries, interior designers, and other artists. Do you make luscious soaps? Follow boutique owners, spas and resorts. Design incredible jewelry? Follow fashion blogs, wedding coordinators, and style divas.
(Don’t forget to seek out tweeple in your home state and city as well!)
Answer questions, compliment a blog post or new piece, try and take an interest in what they are talking about. Of course you cannot do this with everyone, but what’s great about Twitter is you can do this quickly with several people each time you log in. And who knows if your interest in them will lead to an interest in you, and your work?
Build on Your Success
Don’t be shy! Brag about yourself a little! Did you sell a big piece? Let us know! Did you finally master a new technique? Tell me how! Get into a major juried show? Awesome! I once had a fellow artist tweet to me, “You are always so positive about your art. I can’t do that with my own work!” To which I replied, ”Well if I don’t like it, who will?”
Laura Mercurio Ebohon’s book of poetry is written in both English and Italian and is available here. You can find Kristina Havens’ gorgeous work in her Etsy shop, be sure to connect with her on Twitter, too!