Destroying Art & Own Twitter Like A Boss!

THREE OFFERS YOU CANNOT MISS

Welcome to Saturday! This week I have another three offers, all following on from one of my most popular works, Resting Tiger which is available here. The three pieces this week are all from my Tigris Collection. This is a collection currently comprising of seven artworks, and today you have a chance to own three museum quality stretched canvas prints that look simply stunning.

First up is M.As White Tiger. This piece comes on a huge 36x24 inch Museum Quality Stretched Canvas and is available here.

White Tiger
Only three White Tiger Prints Available At This Price Until 23/7/15
M.As Prowling Tiger is next, again this piece comes on a 36x24 inch Museum Quality Stretched Canvas and it's available here.

Prowling Tiger
Only three pieces available until 23/7/15
Swimming Tiger is one of my all time favourites from The Tigris Collection. Printed on a 36x24 inch Museum Quality Stretched Canvas, this piece will look stunning in any space. You can buy it here.

Swimming Tiger
Only three pieces available until the 23/7/15
Remember that you can also purchase all of my work on a range of other products including, Throw Cushions, Duvet Covers, Tote Bags, Phone Cases, and now you can even buy Shower Curtains! Photo, acrylic, and other prints are also available. For the full range please visit my artist website here.

All orders are fulfilled by Fine Art America, and all come with a 30-day Money Back Guarantee.

Own Twitter Like A Boss!

As an artist you need to reach as wide an audience as possible to get your work exposed. Even some of the greatest living artists have social media accounts. On Monday I told you how to own email like a boss, and I hope that you managed to at least shave a few minutes off your email day as a result. You can see that post here.

Social Media is a key channel in opening up new markets for any industry, but it is especially important as an artist. As an artist you need to connect with your client base. I love talking to my collectors, we often have conversations that are absolutely nothing to do with art, and it is this type of relationship that not only builds up a client base, it builds up some great friendships too.

Today we look at Twitter, although I will be covering Facebook soon, and as soon as I work out just how Google+ works, I will cover that too. I must admit, I like Google+, but it is different to other social media platforms. People are friendly, and there are some great communities, it’s all just a bit unfamiliar when compared to Facebook and Twitter. I will also be covering Pinterest, this is one of my favourite platforms, I spend hours tracking retro pages down to pin, and it is one of my most popular boards, described recently as one of the best Retro boards on Pinterest. You can take a look by following @beechhousemedia

FIRST THERE WAS THE EGG

Twitter
Own Twitter Like A Boss!
Twitter, the only place where you can be an egg, follow a tweeting cactus, and get involved in fights that make the Jeremy Kyle show look like an episode of the Walton’s. That’s not to say it is aggressive all of the time, but sometimes it is amusing to watch a spat break out, especially when it involves a couple of celebrities.

Nothing screams louder that you haven’t got a clue than keeping the original Twitter egg as your profile picture. When I first started with Twitter, and I will admit to being a late comer to this particular party, I kept my profile picture as an egg for a week. What amazed me was that within the first week I gained a hundred or so followers, and 97 of them also had the same egg as a profile picture. Clearly, no one on twitter knows what they are doing. Well, at least the 97 other eggs that week didn’t. If you want to see my efforts, then follow @beechhouseart

I quickly learned that hatching from the egg and creating a recognisable avatar image associated with me, was the right way to go. I created a few pieces from a campaign I got involved with earlier this year, and one of the unused pieces was rehashed to fit the profile picture. I also added a header, and I do tend to change this occasionally to either represent the mood of the day, or to support worthy causes. The avatar, in my opinion needs to be maintained, the avatar is what shows up in people’s news feeds, and if they are on the lookout for your particular 140 character epic, they will tend to look for a recognisable avatar. The header image should be 1,500px by 1,500px, as a minimum. The last thing you want as an artist is a pixelated image. Unless you recreate 8 Bit retro computer art. By the way, there is an emerging market for that.

THE BIOGRAPHY

It’s a short 140-character bio, not war and peace. You’ll need to be succinct, and you will need to get a message across. Trust me when I say that describing everything you need in just 140-characters is actually harder than writing your life story.

Your bio needs to tell potential new followers enough to help them decide if you are worthy of a regular appearance in their news feeds. You do however need to avoid the following list of words:

Guru

Expert

Imagineer

Evangelist

Claim PPI

Retweet my tweet

Why do you need to avoid these words? Because they are all shorthand for either, "I love me, you should too", or; "I’m a complete tool". There are also a few other definitions which I cannot describe here as I am conscious my dear daughter reads this blog and so do her friends.

THE FOLLOWER COUNT

Let’s get this straight. There is nothing wrong with following more people than follow you. Unless you follow 2000 people and only one or two follow you back. That just appears to be spammy. Now I have written Spammy, I realise that my blogs always add new words to my Microsoft Office Dictionary.

Keeping up with 2000 people’s tweets is a nightmare. You will find that a few do not post every day making things slightly easier, but the other 1998 who do, will fill your feed with irrelevant motivational tweets that have been cut and pasted from a million others. You need to choose who you follow. By following someone, you need to understand that it is not a marriage. There is nothing legally binding that says you have to follow everyone. Twitter itself will stop you following more than 2000 people, only increasing this number in certain situations which are decided by an unpublished algorithm.

SOMEONE SHOOT ME

Twitter is generally self-moderated. If you spot an abusive tweet, or spam, you will do the world a solid by reporting them. However, sometimes reporting them doesn’t always work, I reported those hackers who held the PlayStation Network to ransom, and do you know what happened? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Having said that, they do take a large percentage of reports very seriously. It is easy enough to do, takes about 10-seconds. You can report users by going to the button on the tweet which says report, or you can go to their profile page, click on the cog, and send the report from the options.

Twitter will ask some follow up questions about what the problem is, and it is all done really quickly. Once you have reported someone’s tweets, they will be blocked from seeing you, and you will be blocked from seeing them. Their @ replies will also no longer show up in the connect column.

If someone is just annoying you, harassing you, or generally being like a wasp on a summer’s day, but not enough to report them, you can block them. This stops them from being able to contact you, see your tweets, and you won’t show up on their timeline. The process is exactly the same as report, but you need to click on the block option instead of report.

Now for the conundrum of all conundrums. What if you know a person in real life (by real life, I mean the time you are not stuck to a screen), and you feel a bit of a traitor for unfollowing them, you can simply mute them. It will still look like you are following them, they will still be able to see your tweets, but their repetitive ramblings about how great the couscous was last night will not appear in your timeline. Seriously how anyone can eat couscous is beyond me, if they do, I would warn about following in the first place. Yes, I know I will get some abuse from the couscous society about that statement, but there you have it, case proved.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEARCH AND TWEET

Seems pretty obvious, but just ask Ed Balls how easy it is to get the two mixed up. Politicians really should be banned from Social Media, they clearly do not know how to use it, and when they do, they say they get it wrong. I have a major tip here for all politicians, use a decent social media management organisation. I do this for a few clients, but I completely ignore their requests to say how great they/their product is, I add in some spin. If they’re not great, recognise it. It makes them appear to be a little bit human. If they tell me "they are great", what they mean to say is "I want to be great", then see the above definition, meaning complete tool. This method of being honest is actually well received.

On Twitter’s web interface, the search button is really close to the "what’s happening" button. If you are new to Twitter you must remain vigilant. If you think you are searching for hot lady boys with ping pong balls, there is a chance that this could be tweeted instead of searched for, and in the split second when you realise the error of your ways, a bazillion people already know you are a hot lady boy lover with a fetish for ping pong balls. You can delete it, but twitter travels fast.

THE PRIVATE MESSAGE

Originally users could only send you a private message if you were following them. In 2015, Twitter changed the rules, allowing you to keep your DM’s (Direct Messages) closed to people who do not follow you, or you can open them up. My view is that as an artist, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a sale because someone doesn’t follow you. Is it worth the spammy DM’s you will get? Actually, there aren’t quite so many spammy DM’s these days, but you need to weigh up how much time any potential spam will take away from you.

PRIVACY

If you want total privacy then you need to consider not using social media at all. There is a way to retain some privacy, you can lock your Twitter account down which hides your tweets, favourites, and follow lists from public view. When you do this, people have to request permission to follow you before they can see anything. Again, as an artist you might not want to consider doing this, unless you are extremely well known, and then you will need to decide if you really have the time to accept requests to follow. I would tend to do this if I were an exclusive high end gallery, but if you want to grow a client base, the request process can put people off.

Some people use Twitter to chat to a group of friends, and the request feature makes sense if that is all you will be doing, but spread you social wings further, and you will either never get found, or you will be forever approving the next request. If you tend to accept every request, you might as well not bother with this feature at all. If you use your tweet to get a celebrity to fall in love with you, then I doubt you will succeed. Sorry, but George Clooney is married (happily by all accounts) and I am also taken.

TWITTER – THE CASUAL SOCIAL NETWORK

Even if you use Twitter predominantly for work, you really need to convey your tweets in a less formal way. Some large corporations show a more human side on Twitter, often poking a little bit of fun out of themselves. Twitter can and does drive traffic, it allows you to directly market using relevant hashtags, but you need to remember that it is also far less formal than Google+, home of the bearded media person, hipsters, and couscous eaters. Google+ is where you might just find more serious art buyers though.

There are some things you need to avoid on Twitter. Humble brags, oversharing content, retweeting something and just adding, "Just Sayin", passive aggressive subtweeting which is an untagged tweet clearly directed at a specific person, are all generally disliked by the Twitter community. As are those annoying tweets that ask you if you can do this job, and if so, you could earn a bazillion bucks a minute.

It is easy to forget a basic human principle on Twitter, and any social media network. Over the years I have been studying various behavioural actions on social media platforms, without actually joining in, and that basic principle is decency. Generally, if you wouldn’t say something face to face, don’t bother at all.

HISTORY ALWAYS RETWEETS ITSELF

Not only is that line used in my twitter bio, it is a clear message that you need to get things right the first time. If you make an annoying typo in the tweet that gets shared a million times, well, that typo is there forever. You cannot edit a tweet, but you can delete it. That opinion that you thought was a great idea, hit the tweet button and then decided it was the wrong opinion, will in the few seconds before you confirm delete, have been read possibly hundreds of times by hundreds of people. If they don’t agree, this is something called reputational damage. If you are posting a tweet, the only real advice is to write it, read it, and read it again, before you hit send.

People advise against the "Drunk Tweet", personally I think they’re entertaining. The problem here is that history always retweets itself, and just like the hangover, the tweet will still be there tomorrow, and no doubt that the world will know you made out with a lamppost. There is an etiquette around the retweet.

General Retweeting means that you want your followers, and possible their followers to see this incredible tweet, or you want them to see this tweet that is so bad it made you ROFL.

Retweeting and adding a comment that still references the original poster is fine. Retweeting an original posters comments as your own is not fine. This is also known as tweet stealing, and if someone stole my tweet, unless it resulted in a customer, I would be a bit mad. I might even start a bun fight. Manually retweeting a tweet in your own words suggests that you want to take credit for something that you didn’t post, but still want the credit for. Keep it original folks!

THE CANDY CRUSH TWEET

I have little to say on this apart from I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST IN THE FACT THAT YOU PAID 79p/99c TO UNLOCK A NEW LEVEL. Honestly, this just screams, SAD. Turn off the auto tweet, especially from apps, and especially from Candy Crush.

IN SUMMARY

Don’t be a tool. This is solid advice not just for twitter, but for the internet and life in general. If you have something to say, say it. But make sure what you say is what you still want to say tomorrow.

DESTRUCTION OF YOUR OWN ART

Why? I have a tee shirt with this exact question on over at Zazzle. You can buy it here. The question of "why?" in this instance is why would anyone want to destroy their own art? Now to some extent I get it. I have deleted near finished images in order to start again when a painting or digital artwork hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go. But destroying art that has some value is a whole new level of crazy, or is it?

Douglas Gordon took an axe to attack the wall of a theatre where he was staging a new play which received scathing reviews. Clearly upset that his work wasn’t loved, he got out the axe and set about the business of destruction. But Douglas wasn’t the first artist to do this to his own work, or in Douglas’s case, the theatre where his work was on display. There are countless instances of artists throwing a hissy fit, if Louise Bourgeois didn’t like one of her sculptures, she would sweep it off the kitchen table and watch it smash on the floor.

One of my favourite all time artist’s Francis Bacon once showed a display of artistic behaviour by famously destroying all of his early work. Picasso, not much better, he would paint over paintings he thought were unsuccessful because he didn’t have the money to buy a new canvas. Clearly, they didn’t have a Walmart or a Staples back then. Luc Tuymans recently said that his £1m+ artworks only ever took a day to paint. I can spend weeks on a single piece, some of my pieces in the Tigris Collection took in excess of 40+ hours each.

Inspired by the work of Marcel Duchamp, American pop/conceptual artist Robert Rauschenberg took the decision early in his career that he wanted to test the boundaries of what could be interpreted as a work of art. He wondered if a work of art could be created through the art of erasure. He started by erasing one of his own drawings, and the result was that it didn’t work. He felt that the destruction of an unimportant piece of work, created by an unimportant artist didn’t really test or push the idea to a degree where a new piece of art could be made.

Rauschenberg decided that in order to test his theory, the only option would be to destroy a work by a well-known artist. He spent a number of days working up the courage to visit the studio of Willem De Kooning. An artist Rauschenberg revered, and also one of the most famous artists of the 1950’s. When he eventually knocked on the door, he was greeted by a stern faced Kooning, an American-Dutch Master, who wanted to know why Rauschenberg was bothering him.

He was at best, unimpressed when Rauschenberg nervously explained that he had come to ask for an original De Kooning to be given to him free of charge, and then on the understanding that in providing a beautiful work of art, it would then be destroyed. At first, De Kooning didn’t approve, but thought that young artists should be allowed to experiment. De Kooning then showed Rauschenberg some of his works which were scattered about in the studio and asked Rauschenberg to pick one.

Rauschenberg took away the artwork and set about the task of destroying it. Rauschenberg started to destroy an ink and paint drawing created by Kooning, and eventually erased all visible traces of De Kooning’s image. He then took De Kooning’s now blank piece of paper to Jasper Johns who was a friend, and asked him to create a frame for the work. John’s also created a label for the destroyed image which read, ERASED de KOONING. Finally Rauschenberg had created a piece of art by destroying a piece of art.

I honestly cannot think that this is going to be the new trend on Zazzle and Fine Art America, but it is an interesting concept. I think this is certainly a case of it has been done once, and I also think there is no room to attempt it again.

EYE IN THE SKY

Cloud Projection
Cloud Projection (Not actual footage)

At this point you’re probably thinking the next article is going to be all about the increasing use of drones. It’s definitely not drones we are talking here, but something a little more down to earth. Well, sort of.

What if you didn’t fancy going to a movie theatre, you want to get some fresh summer air, and you also want to watch the latest blockbuster? Now there could very well be a new technology that allows you to watch Hollywood, not on a big screen, but on a cloud. A cloud as in a real cloud, not that data thingy cloud.

The Cloud Movie is part of project Nimbus, originally spearheaded by artist Dave Lynch. Almost a decade ago, Lynch was studying for a master’s degree when he discovered a security studies paper that laid out some proposals for non-lethal weapons. One of the proposed military strategies was to project a God like figure onto the clouds above the battle theatre, so that when the enemy looked up, they would see a vision encouraging them to either run to the hills or surrender. Some conspiracy theorists openly discuss that this is what gives the form of UFO’s in certain areas of the world. It’s not, because UFO’s are possibly real. See how I always edge my bets?

The technology included a wonderfully named tool the zoopraxiscope. Used for many years, this is one of the oldest types of projector ever created. It used a spinning disk. Together with laser experts, Lynch developed a modern version of the Zoopraxiscope and coupled it with some laser technology. The lasers replace the spinning disk slits that then projects crisp clear images onto a nebulous cloud.

The only downside to this is that the image has to come from an aircraft flying in the area of the cloud, projecting the image with green lasers. There is the downside. As it stands, the technology could probably produce a sharp image of the Batman signal, but it needs extensive development before it starts showing Hollywood above your heads. The technology needs to happen from the ground, so there is a long way to go yet. Maybe this is the cloud of the future.

Have you read any truly bizarre, strange, or other unusual art & technology stories this week? If so, I would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

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