Different Forms of Art Blogs

Well, it's time to get back to the Artists Online Series - today I'm going to be exploring the different types of art blogging.

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One of the golden rules of blogging is that 'content is king'. All the articles about improving your readership numbers will tell you to 'write great content' and 'post regularly'. But how do you do that? Where to start? It can all seem a little daunting at first.

Fortunately, there are lots of different techniques for art blogging and it's probable that you can find at least one that suits you. Here are a few different kinds to think about:

The Blog As Art Project

This form can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. My own Diary Project is an example of this but there are plenty of other artists using blogging to create art projects. Some notable examples are The Textile Files, PostSecret and Skull-A-Day.

I've noticed that art project blogs usually have a set of defined rules, however, this isn't set in stone and blogging is a form that lends itself to plenty of creative interpretation. Blogged art projects can be a one person affair or a collaborative or communal project. If you've got a great idea for an art project, why not take a moment to consider whether blogging could enhance it. Remember that blogging can often bring you a larger and more diverse audience than a gallery show.

The No-Writing Blog

This is an excellent way to blog if you're not confident with writing or don't have a lot of time to write in-depth stuff. Because art is a visual medium, you can put together a great blog simply by linking to other people's work. Do make sure that you have images of their work though, rather than just a text link - you'll have a far more interesting blog that way.

Maditi Links is a good example of this form, she doesn't write about the work at all, just posts an image and a link. Her blog is a feast for the eyes and I visit regularly for inspiration and to find interesting artists for my own blog.

If you want to use this technique, make sure you host images on your own site rather than stealing bandwidth and don't lift any images if the artist has stated that people shouldn't do so. If in doubt, simply ask the artist. Always give full credit to the artist and link back to their site. If you want to include a little bit of text, you can usually pick up a description from the artists' site (be clear that you're quoting them) or write a brief piece about why you like the work.

There are plenty of places to find artists to blog about - Flickr, other art blogs, other artists you already know, general search sites like StumbleUpon! or dedicated art sites like Saatchi Online or AXIS.

Linking to lots of other artists in this way will often improve your traffic since the artists in question usually come over to your blog to check you out. Don't be cynical though, only link to people whose work you genuinely like, rather than people you think might be useful to you.

The Process Blog

Blogging as a way of recording artistic process is a popular choice amongst artist bloggers. It can be helpful for artists because it creates a journal-type record of their practice but readers like it too because it gives them an insight into how an artist creates and the way a piece develops - warts and all! It's a way of unlocking the studio door and that's always appealed to people. If you can talk about your work until the cows come home (erhm, guilty as charged, officer!) and are comfortable showing unfinished work, then you'll probably feel quite at home with this technique.

I don't have any numbers to back this up but I suspect that this could also be a good way to drum up sales because allowing people to see the process might get them emotionally attached to a piece.

Blogging images of your own work also exposes more people to your work - I've found that a large proportion of people who read my blog don't visit my galleries. Posting images of my work on a fairly regular basis means that those people see at least some of my work. Blogging about your own work also allows you to go into greater depth about subject matter or technique than might be appropriate in the portfolio part of your site. If you're not comfortable showing unfinished work, then just show finished pieces and talk about them instead.

The Tutorial Blog

If you're a frustrated teacher then this could be the blogging technique for you!

A step-by-step guide to a technique, especially when accompanied by clear informative pictures, is a great way to draw people to your site. Plus, there are plenty of places where you can promote tutorials - sites like Whip Up and Craftster are always on the look-out for them and I'm sure there are plenty of other sites that would happily link to them. If you can't find an existing place to promote them, then why not set up your own Squidoo? Squidoo isn't something I've got into yet but I know a lot of people find it a useful concept: Katherine from Making A Mark uses it to provide a handy round up of art resources and a search for 'art' on Squidoo gives nearly a thousand results, so there are clearly plenty of people interested in art who are using it.

If you want to try this form, you'll need to have reasonable photography skills and be good at writing out projects or techniques in easy to understand steps.

The Article Based Blog

A similar approach to the tutorial blog but with more words and less pictures. Good if you're confident with writing and have plenty to say on a subject. This really works for visitor numbers - the articles I've written for my Artists Online Series have brought a large number of people to this site. Watch out though, this kind of writing is time-consuming and you may want to balance it out with some of the other forms, both for your own convenience and so your readers aren't drowning in words.

The Subject Blog

If you want a very defined blog, then blogging about a single subject can be the way to go. The Carrotbox is a blog about rings and nothing but rings. You might think it would get boring but it's actually a constant source of delight and a brilliantly condensed way to learn more about contemporary jewellery because there's lots of images and the work chosen is so diverse. The downside to this type of blog is that you may only attract the people who're already interested in your niche subject.

The News Blog

A round up of news stories in the art world is a fairly easy way to provide regular, topical content. You can provide stories without comment as The Arts Journal site does or add your own opinions, like The Arts News Blog does. If you're going to focus on this form you'll need to have the time to keep up with current art stories and you should also have a few research and journalistic skills.

The Opinion Blog

Aren't artists always a bit opinionated? The ones I know certainly are, myself included! If you're a critic at heart, love to analyse things and don't mind sticking your neck out, then you'll probably enjoy this form of blogging. Just remember that being overly critical might not win you too many friends and being overtly nasty can look very unprofessional.

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Of course, your blogging might cover many or all of these forms, there's no rule that says you can only do one and I use a combination on this blog. However, if you mostly blog in one way, why not try shaking things up a little by trying a different form? You might gain a new readership and surprise yourself by being good at something you didn't know you could do.

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26 thoughts on “Different Forms of Art Blogs

  1. Excellent points and I find this post particularly interesting because I just read (or started to read...) a similar post on another art information blog but unlike this post, it was so dull I couldn't finish it, though I tried. Content *is* king.

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  2. Excellent points and I find this post particularly interesting because I just read (or started to read...) a similar post on another art information blog but unlike this post, it was so dull I couldn't finish it, though I tried. Content *is* king.

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  3. Everything you had to say was useful. Could I just add, from my own experience as an early blogger that blogging your work provides an organizational framework, quite often and enables me to quickly find out what is and isn't working. It is such a useful learning tool, especially when you get feedback and most importantly, for me, it is a personal diary form that enables me to express my own ideas and opinions freely. I chose that to be my primary goal, rather than the circulation of my work, which if it comes later I will consider an unexpected bonus.

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  4. Hi,
    this is very interesting - I've been feeling my way about with my newish blog and just seeing the list of what different approaches one can take is useful - to see where mine fits in and what I'd like to avoid.
    Cheers,
    Gesa

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  5. Hi,
    this is very interesting - I've been feeling my way about with my newish blog and just seeing the list of what different approaches one can take is useful - to see where mine fits in and what I'd like to avoid.
    Cheers,
    Gesa

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  6. Not sure what category I fit in either. I think probably a subject blog since it is all about ART. I tend to treat my blog as an empty sketchbook or canvas to play with visually and with sound. I also try to keep text short and simple. I have been to some of the links you mentioned, some of which I am a regular reader, and they are excellent.

    Anyway I enjoyed your post about blogs :)

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  7. Not sure what category I fit in either. I think probably a subject blog since it is all about ART. I tend to treat my blog as an empty sketchbook or canvas to play with visually and with sound. I also try to keep text short and simple. I have been to some of the links you mentioned, some of which I am a regular reader, and they are excellent.

    Anyway I enjoyed your post about blogs :)

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  8. @Lindsay

    Yes, that sounds like a fairly accurate description of your blog to me, Lindsay. You know, I can't believe that I left out autobiographical/life, I think it was so obvious that I just didn't think about it!

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  9. Post author

    @Lindsay

    Yes, that sounds like a fairly accurate description of your blog to me, Lindsay. You know, I can't believe that I left out autobiographical/life, I think it was so obvious that I just didn't think about it!

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  10. @Gesa.

    I'm glad you found it useful, Gesa - I always think that knowing what we don't want from something is half the battle and I usually work that out far quicker than deciding what I do want.

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  11. Post author

    @Gesa.

    I'm glad you found it useful, Gesa - I always think that knowing what we don't want from something is half the battle and I usually work that out far quicker than deciding what I do want.

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  12. Post author

    @ Vivien

    Isn't it funny how we can be thinking about stuff and then suddenly it's everywhere. I think it's fine not to be tactful - it would be a pretty boring world otherwise.

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  13. Thanks for posting this. It's helped me to see the different directions I could take my blog. Also, it's helped me to find other bloggers who are interested in documenting the process.

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  14. Thanks for posting this. It's helped me to see the different directions I could take my blog. Also, it's helped me to find other bloggers who are interested in documenting the process.

    [Reply]

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  15. Hi there, I enjoyed reading this.

    I've been doing blogs-as-art since 2005. I found that even three years ago, the kind of "round up" you provide, of various approaches to blogs as art (or the incorporation of blogs into art, or the use of blogs by artists) was not possible. The whole thing really has exploded recently, and I think blogs have proven to be great tools for artists.

    Personally, I fit into your first category, where the blog is not used as a way of documenting or illustrating the "art", the blog IS the artwork. Like you suggest, I also employ the use of "behavioral rules" in order to create boundaries and tension within the blog projects.

    I have written an essay about some of this stuff, if you'd like to read it. It's available here:
    http://www.lucazoid.com/bilateral/bilateral-blogging-essay-about-bilateral-kellerberrin-now-available/

    cheerio
    Lucas

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  16. Hi there, I enjoyed reading this.

    I've been doing blogs-as-art since 2005. I found that even three years ago, the kind of "round up" you provide, of various approaches to blogs as art (or the incorporation of blogs into art, or the use of blogs by artists) was not possible. The whole thing really has exploded recently, and I think blogs have proven to be great tools for artists.

    Personally, I fit into your first category, where the blog is not used as a way of documenting or illustrating the "art", the blog IS the artwork. Like you suggest, I also employ the use of "behavioral rules" in order to create boundaries and tension within the blog projects.

    I have written an essay about some of this stuff, if you'd like to read it. It's available here:
    http://www.lucazoid.com/bilateral/bilateral-blogging-essay-about-bilateral-kellerberrin-now-available/

    cheerio
    Lucas

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  17. Hi,

    Guess I may have to try out all the forms you listed out until I can find the style/form that I'm trully comfortable with.

    But would like to know if one can copy articles from other blogs and use on their blogs (of course with the owners permission and credit duly given)

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  18. Hi,

    Guess I may have to try out all the forms you listed out until I can find the style/form that I'm trully comfortable with.

    But would like to know if one can copy articles from other blogs and use on their blogs (of course with the owners permission and credit duly given)

    [Reply]

    Reply
  19. Everything you had to say was useful. Could I just add, from my own experience as an early blogger that blogging your work provides an organizational framework, quite often and enables me to quickly find out what is and isn't working. It is such a useful learning tool, especially when you get feedback and most importantly, for me, it is a personal diary form that enables me to express my own ideas and opinions freely. I chose that to be my primary goal, rather than the circulation of my work, which if it comes later I will consider an unexpected bonus.

    [Reply]

    Reply

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