Getting that social media support, frustration with uncooperative clients and friends and family who want your art for free

I have been absent for a while and I do apologize for that but April has been very busy at work with the bombardment of projects that I have slightly neglected both at the real job and in the studio (GASP, I’m neglecting my art) and the fact that another year in the life of Rebe has completed and started anew, LOL.  This month I decided to combine three topics together into one large post, basically due to the fact that I haven’t had the time to write three individual posts.  The “I can’t find where the time has gone” post will come later on in the summer, oh boy, that’s going to be a goodie, LOL.

I want you to keep in mind that this month’s topics will seem like I am ranting but that is because what I will write is from my point of view and my experience dealing with these situations.

So, as I stated, the first topic shall be (and say it with sass):

Getting that social media support you always wanted…

I have been on Facebook since 2011 (plug, Rebe Banasiak Art), Pinterest since 2014 (BrushHilt), Instagram (banasiakart) and Twitter (@banasiakart) both started this year.  But most of the first topic is going to focus on Facebook since that is the media I have been on the longest.

I have had some ups and downs with my experience of using Facebook (and starting to see the ups and downs on the other social sites) on the public and personal sectors (a whole other blog post of its own, LOL).  On the public sector, my page started out as Banasiak Art Gallery but at the beginning of this year I decided to change the name to actually reflect ME and my artwork, so Rebe Banasiak Art became the new name.  When this happened it was like a boom of likes.  Confession, that was mainly because I made my personal account into a public account and merged it with my Rebe Banasiak Art page.  (Hint: if you are sick of drama from some friends and the negative algorithms from FB, this is a good way to get more likes on your page, LOL, just saying.)

On a more serious note (which doesn’t happen all that often), I tried the whole “please share my page” or “invite your friends to like my page” and this just doesn’t work.  Either because most people don’t see the post or they just don’t want to be bothered to help you out (but there are always a couple really good friends who do help out, you know who you are guys, 😉 ).  There is one thing that always makes me cringe though.  It is when “those couple of people” (not all) would comment or message me that if they did share/invite friends to the page could they get compensation for their hard work in the form of a discount or worse, something for free (GASP).  WOW!  Really! Something FREE!  Seriously people, this is my livelihood. Those couple of humans need to realize this is how I make my living.  Right?  I’ll talk more about “these freebie wanters” later but if you liked my page to begin with just support me and share the damn page with your friends.  How difficult is it to hit the share button on a post to your wall.  I have done it for others and fellow artists.  Not that hard.  See the picture below, it is very simple to figure out where the share button is.

Screen grab SHARING

Screen grab of how someone can share your page on their wall.

If you don’t want to help because I won’t give you a discount or something for free than just unlike my page and leave me be.  I only want fans that really like my work and that are willing to interact with me on my posts and help me out by spreading the word, sharing the page, or inviting others to like the page.  I do try to help out fellow artists anyway I can by liking their pages and interacting with them in our art groups because this shows that I am looking and admiring their hard work (although, with a full time job, I haven’t been able to check out all the wonderful work that finally dots my FB wall).

Being in several groups on FB has helped me get to see what other fellow artists are creating, ask for critiques on what I have created, and asked for support when I need it.  The groups have been one way to connect with other artists through various “share for share”, “like for like” or just “post you page” posts going on the past couple months.  This is where the big boom of my page likes has been from.  I am very grateful for all the support from all these great artists and their liking and commenting on my posts, but the main part of “my social media support” problem is getting the original fans from before the boom from the groups to help out in liking and commenting on posts and sharing the page with their friends.  I do have some very awesome friends who do like and share posts and the page every now and then, but they have always been the exceptional people in my life who have supported what I do in art and I thank them.  So, for the rest of the beginning fans, help out this artist and my fellow artists if we ask.  Please realize that most artists are not doing our art as a hobby; we are actually trying to make it a living and when you like, share, or comment that means everything to us because we know you are interested in what we are doing.

Now for our second topic:

Frustration with uncooperative clients…

Why is it that when someone does want to buy something or want me to paint or draw something for them, they become very uncooperative when it comes to paying me.  Hmmm….there is a price I place on artwork I create which usually reflects the size, supplies used and hours I spent working on the piece.  I also have a price list for portraits, both animals and people.  How come when I have these fixed prices, there is that one person (or two or three people) who want it cheaper, much cheaper where what they want to give me won’t even cover the cost of supplies (UGH!).  If I a discount for one person and others hear about it, then everyone else will want a discount.  How can I pay my bills if I give everyone artwork for cheap or free verses what I am asking for it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do discount sometimes, but not always and I do not advertise certain discounts because I still need to make a profit.  You know, I have to pay the bills, the mortgage, the car insurance, and so on, and so on, and so on.  You get the point.

The other thing that pains me is when a client contacts me to draw or paint something and either wants to see me do every little stroke as I am placing it on the paper/canvas or decides to change something after I’ve asked them prior if anything needed to be changed.  The latter is a bitch because if I cannot “correct” or change something due to the medium I’ve used, I get stuck having to start over.  This is my biggest pet peeve with clients.  This is why I give updates and post as I am working on something so that the client can see the progress.  What I do like are the clients who are very patient, very aware of the fact that I do like and need the input and will give it to me when I ask for it; instead, some blow me off so that when they do see the pieces progress, they want to make changes that I may or may not be able to do.

Both of these are big problems that many artists face.  What do we do?  Sometimes it just depends on the situation or how well I know the customer or client.  I do want them to come back to me or to spread the word about my art and I don’t want it to be bad.  I am always upfront about my prices and how long something will take and I add in writing if there are any provisions that require extra time, that it will cost them more.  This usually helps a bit but as I said before, there will always be that one person, that one person who has to be difficult.  This is when I have a nice glass of wine and just nod head until it falls off, LOL.

The third and most dreaded topic is:

Friends and family who want your art for free….

NOOOOOOO!!!!! Can I stress this enough! NO! You can not have everything for FREE!  I call these people the “freebie wanters”!  How am I to make a living as an artist if I give everything away for free.  I know you are friends and family (and my biggest fans and supporters) but I have bills that need to be paid otherwise my ass is going to be homeless.  I also have two little furbaby mouths that need feeding; Stephie and Gracie are not forgiving when they don’t get breakfast or have dry food in their bowls.  So, my question to them is, if I give you something for free are you going to take over my rent/mortgage payments?  Are you going to pay my insurance bills, my credit card bills, my furbaby food bills?  I didn’t think so.  That is why I learned a new word about 10 years ago…NO!  If other customers and clients have to pay, so do you.  Maybe, I will give you a discount but never think that you will get anything for free or maybe, I’ll create something for you for your birthday or even Christmas, but sorry kids, I do have to make a living.

As I said before, this is one of my jobs, my livelihood.  I want to make sure that I did not waste 7 years in school learning from some great professors and professional artists on how to improve my craft and become a great artist myself to making this a hobby giving all my hard work away for free to live in a cardboard box.

So, what should we do as artists to get the proverbial public to help us out and interact with us on social media, to get the uncooperative client/customer to be more responsive, or to make sure friends and family realize that our art making is our job/career?  Well, I am still figuring all this out and if someone out there knows how to help all of us artists out with these “problems”, please share your ideas.  We will consider all suggestions. So, let’s keep this conversation going.

Until next time, artists keep creating, fans keep interacting, and friends/family/clients/customers please be patient and cooperative, and please don’t be freebie wanters and cheapskates.  We need to eat, too.  😉

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