By Yehudit Mam, April 5, 2016
In times of austerity, the arts is the first industry to suffer. As the nation still lingers in the shadow of recession, a lack of funding in education and rejection of the arts as a potential career path means in recent years this industry has been neglected.
Since 2008, over 80 percent of schools nationwide have experienced cuts. As a result, children from a young age are missing out on an essential part of their creative development. Furthermore, rising university fees mean that students are more cautious of opting for arts-based subjects, which may not lead to guaranteed income after graduation.
This problem also extends outside of education. The number of visitors to art events – be this musical, or museum and gallery visits – is also reported to be in decline.
Online communities exist to support the professional artist to reach new audiences. I spoke to three artists from DADA.nyc’s visual conversation community. This article explores just how these individuals use online communities to connect with other artists, and share their work with larger audiences.
Smartphones connect audiences with art
Armed with connected devices, people are able to access new content in a wide variety of ways. Sites such as Instagram have connected people with photos, Twitter helps people stay up to date with the news and trends, and as Facebook continues to dominate Zuckerberg and Co. seem to release a new feature every month, designed to keep the community active and inspire engagement. This connectivity and proliferation of new communities also mean today people can more easily access and enjoy art online.
The National Endowment for the Arts reported that while 51 percent of American adults attend live visual or performing arts events, 71 percent use electronic media to watch, listen to or download art. The Pacific Standard reported that at times art can be intimidating, and through sharing these experiences, online or in person, this is reduced.
A community can be an artist’s playground
Artist communities can provide professionals with a number of benefits. The community can be a space for them to explore, learn from others and gain feedback on their work. Art is typically a very personal, at times solitary exploration, and these forums can also provide support.
The internet means there are many more channels for artist’s to reach their audiences. In order to gain attention and recognition for their works niche communities provide a tool for people who are interested in specific styles or works.
Art sales are actually on the rise, and this is down to increased consumer interest and online auctions. The internet breaks down the barriers of proximity and this means today an artist from Argentina can connect with a Russian art enthusiast, and share their creations.
However, in a commercialized society, often the most talented and creative artists are overlooked. And groups that promote this work can be a solution to this.
“People may love our work, yet give it very little monetary value, or even ask for it for free, which is terrible. And because there is a lot of competition, most clients can afford to be cheap, and many artists have no choice but to take it or leave it. It’s a vicious circle, since artists who accept such conditions are helping to encourage them. The biggest challenge for artists today is going against this and gaining fair recognition and reward for you work.”
Javier Errecarte – Graphic Designer and Illustrator
How does DADA.nyc help artists?
DADA.nyc is a platform where anyone can join for free and start drawing. DADA’s drawings become conversations, connecting artists who share a passion for art with amateurs who just want to explore. DADA helps professional artists explore new concepts, share their creations, and even find work.
Professional artists are frequently forced to find additional employment to fund their lives as they continue to create. In 2012, the Artist’s Interaction and Representation survey found a third of artists in the U.K. earned less that the equivalent of $7,200 a year. However, according to the BBC, the online art market is growing by 20 percent each year, meaning artists can make a living from selling their work.
“Sites like DADA provide a collection of artists’ profiles. They allow us to show our work to other artists, as well as to art consumers who want to enjoy art. In this way, technology helps artists touch many more souls with their creations. DADA allows me to improve my skills because of the constant practice, it brings me closer to the possibility of making art through digital media. Using the site I can see ideas from people around the world and I can also share my own skills on social media. For me it helps to enhance my creativity, it has helped me find and evolve a style, and I have no doubt that it has much more to give. “ Carolina DeGiorgio – Artist
As online communities grow, and new platforms connect sellers with buyers this promotes the value of art in society. Through providing a means to connect with the world, art communities support the struggling artist and help shine a light on new works, broadening the awareness of a larger population.
“Art is a lifestyle. It is our roots. You decide to communicate a feeling to humanity that you are aware will reach each person differently. The satisfaction of knowing that there are people in the world that appreciate what we do is priceless.”
Talita Sotomayor – Artist
All images created by the artists using visual conversational drawing platform DADA.nyc.