Simply Safe: Protecting & Sharing Your Art Online

One of the greatest aspects of today’s art community is that feeling of pride and accomplishment when someone across the country becomes a fan of your work. The Parliament certainly feels this through our interactions on Facebook and Instagram; what’s more exciting than networking with other creative people around the world? Members of the art community today have more opportunity than ever to gain exposure and promote their artwork. In addition to photosharing platforms like Flickr and Society6, simply entering a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram is now enough to get a perfect stranger to discover your work (we see you too, Tumblr!). And that is FANTASTIC when used in a positive way.

Unfortunately, there are real concerns that must be acknowledged when sharing work online; too many artists have seen their images pop up on another person’s website, under someone else’s “ownership”. And simply finding the best way to get your name out there online can be a struggle. If you’re interested in gaining a stronger online following for your art, while making sure you get credit, here are some things to consider:

LOW-RES // WATERMARKING

These methods of protecting artwork are two of the easiest, though some artists would prefer not to visually “spoil” their images with a marking. Understandable! While this is an effective way to make your work less appealing for plagiarism , you can also choose to lower the resolution of an image; The Art League is a proponent of this method, explaining,

“You can try to find a happy medium between an image that’s large and clear enough to convey the sense of the artwork, but small enough to prevent people from getting a clear image if they hit “print.” While you’re editing images for your site, try lowering the resolution to 72 ppi (pixels per inch) instead of the 150 or 300 that your camera might save”

Now, if you’re reading this too late, or someone has still managed to use your work without permission, what’s the best course of action? This can be awkward to say the least, but it’s not the end of your career!

DEALING WITH PLAGIARISM

Picture this: you’re perusing the pages of a local magazine, only to be stopped in your tracks when you see one of your logo designs in an ad on the classifieds page. Knowing you were neither notified or given credit for the work, you go into panic mode as to how you should deal with someone stealing your work. Copyright infringement is an icky situation to find yourself in, but it’s important to assess how serious the situation is before taking grave legal measures to punish plagiarists. Fast Company Design has a great 6-step method for dealing with stolen work, but their very last point sums up this issue quite well

“Copyright law is tricky (it’s law!), and the way it’s interpreted can vary wildly by region because local courts interpret law differently…The best thing you can do if you think someone has stolen from you is to remain as objective as possible, estimate your risk, and know that when it comes to legal fees and your own lost productivity, you might win the battle but you’ll likely lose the war.”

Basically, it’s a smart idea to seek the advice of someone who knows their “art laws”, and think through every step of the process; you have the right to protect your work; but it could get much worse before it gets better. If needed, you can also check out this super helpful “legal cheat sheet” from Starry Night Artist Resources.

Hopefully this never becomes an issue and you’re just reading this post for ideas on setting up the ultimate website for your work. We got you!

CREATING A WEBSITE

Nothing says ‘professionalism’ quite like a well constructed web address that people can visit to view your portfolio and acquire your contact information. In today’s world-wide web, there are tons of options for artists who want to have a stronger online presence in this way. It may actually be tough choosing just one spot to call your official website. Our Gallery Director, Cooper Millholland, suggests Squarespace as a good platform for creating a website because of the clean, easy templates. Tumblr is also a great platform because of its vast user network and its flexibility for those who know how to code in html! Cooper also suggests that artists designing a website strive for a clean aesthetic that displays your contact info easily.

So now that you’ve got a cool URL to direct your fans to, what other methods are there to effective self-promotion?! Quite a few, actually…

YOUR ART & SOCIAL MEDIA

After your portfolio is established online, followers love to know that you’re still alive and kickin’, and passionate about the work you do. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook seem to be the go-to platforms for keeping the world up-to-date with your creations (find out how to build your art career through Instagram here). The Parliament loves connecting with the community and artists worldwide through our Facebook page and Instagram! Now, two important factors to remember when updating these sites are timing and frequency; the best time slot to update social media is between 12 pm. and 6 pm. According to Buffersocial , frequency of posting for each platform can vary.

It’s encouraging to have a bit more know-how on keeping your work safe online– artists are more confident to share their work when they know their name will be proudly attached to it! That combined with a booming online presence is sure to boost your art career in the right direction. We wish the best of luck to all you artists and dreamers!

Summertime Sadness: How to Survive a Creative Drought

Ah, It’s that dreamy time of year again.

Invigorating morning yoga sessions, fresh watermelon, and watching the most gorgeous array of colors paint the sky as the sun sets– these are a few of our favorite things! There’s no doubt that summertime brings a tranquil vibe to almost every aspect of life, but spending a few weeks (perhaps months) without a daily routine can get to be discouraging… especially for those who love to create and imagine. The extra down time during the summer months can be a huge blessing to some crafty/artistic folks, but others may find themselves in a creative rut. When inspiration is scarce, it’s difficult to feel like you’re making a move in the right direction– but you can do it! We’ve done some research and asked advice from all kinds of experts about how they recover. Here are 5 ways to get out of an artistic rut:

1. Multitask

While it may seem somewhat unnerving to start a new piece before one is finished, having several creative projects in the works is great a way to stay productive when inspiration seems lackluster. Artist Dmitry Samarov shared his experiences with creative block for Huffington Post, stating. “I like to have several things going at once. That way, if one’s not coming I can work on something else… There’s nothing worse than trying to force it and the world doesn’t need any more bad art.” When fresh ideas for are in short supply, try experimenting with multiple concepts in different works. You may find it super helpful to ward off creative block if you have more options on the drawing board (the literal or metaphorical kind)!

2. Escape With Art

Sometimes life’s crazy circumstances become a blockade for free expression, and that’s understandable–but what if we started looking at making art as a way to deal with those stressors? “Escaping with art” doesn’t mean that all other obligations go away, it simply implies that life’s stressful demands should be put on the back burner while you positively invest your energy in the work you’re creating. For illustrator Dana Huffsmith, art is a go-to method for her in dealing with the issues caused by chronic illness:

“For the past six years, I’ve been fighting an invisible, chronic illness. The thing with chronic illness is you often lose your interest in your hobbies and the things that once made you immensely happy. I’ve struggled with staying inspired, motivated, and having the energy to keep on creating…For the longest time, I thought if I told people about my illness, being “sick” is what would define me. I now realize being sick does not define you, but what you choose to do when you aren’t feeling ill. That is what you let define you. I choose to create art.”

Choose art, and let life’s difficulties create a pathway to some of your most authentic, emotive work.

3. Let Go

While attention to detail can definitely produce some insanely cool results, getting bogged down by minuscule details while trying to establish a general concept in your work can get pretty tiring. It’s important to keep an open mindset and avoid regarding your current project as the best thing you’ll ever create; Author Scott Berkun writes, “Obsessing about every little choice is a sure fire way to prevent great work from happening. Try a bold choice. Put the beginning at the end, or the top at the bottom. Blow up your work into jagged pieces and put them back together. You might just find this opens doors you didn’t even know were there. (Scott Berkun)” Be positive about what you make, but remember that there countless ways your work could evolve and improve!

4. Take Care Of Yourself

Recently, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of self care, and we couldn’t be more on board with it! The idea is simple– actively seek ways to take care of your body and mind. Far too often, artists become worn out from work which can be both physically and mentally demanding. If you find yourself running out of motivation to finish a piece, take a step back and breathe. Creative block could be your body’s way of asking for a bit of TLC! An excellent start to self-care can easily be stepping outside for a 15 minute walk in the middle of a drawing session, or eating a nutritious meal. Long term practices like yoga and meditation produce amazing results, because they are designed to keep your body and mind in harmony (which is so important for artists or just about anyone!). Take care of yourself, and when the time comes to get creative, you’ll feel a new spark of inspiration!

5. Set Boundaries

In contrast to multitasking, some artists work positively in a minimalist environment– one concept at a time, and lots of practice and studying of that one idea. York based videographer, Greg Timmons, claims this to be the best way for him to re-discover his love for a certain aspect of film:

“I’ll purposely leave most equipment behind, forcing myself to work with a single lens, which allows me to break away from the habits I’ve formed over the years. The entire process becomes a ritual of problem solving, resulting in footage that has interesting framing, angles, shapes, flares and other unique character building features. Regardless of the quality of the footage, the practice of creative problem-solving reminds me of discovering the camera for the first time. It renews my faith in thinking creatively.”

While it may seem too limiting at first, a resourceful mindset combined with specific criteria is often a recipe for brilliance!

When a creative rut strikes, it feels like forever before you’re able to continue making art, but just remember that you aren’t alone! Every artist struggles with this at some point, and The Parliament is made of people who are ready to help in any way they can. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions, or stop at our gallery for some tranquility and inspiration! Good luck, and good art!