A local Toronto artist has a unique way of engaging with his community on instagram, while giving his followers a chance at snagging a piece of his art for less than they would have to pay at a gallery. Anser (@ansermysteriousdate) posts a unique piece of art every Friday under the hashtag Affordable Art Friday. What this essentially means for his over 12k followers is that they have a chance to claim a beautiful piece of artwork each week at a lower cost than what most artists would charge at a gallery, assuming they’re the lucky one to send him an email first!
Now, why would he do this? Does this diminish the perceived value of his work? In speaking with another local artist, that fear certainly is real. It can also be tricky when an artist is signed to a gallery to distribute art anywhere but there. However, in this instance, I think it’s important to take note of something; these are not finished, gallery-ready pieces on canvas. These are quicker sketches, sometimes on unique materials, and the engagement generated from his posts on instagram each week are unusually high.
When comparing his instagram engagement to other local artists, there are a few things I notice. Firstly, the comments on his work seems to be from people outside of his own social following. Why is this important? The value in a strong social media presence is not just better engagement with your friends – it’s also for reaching new people! This is why often with social media contests you are asked to tag a friend in the comment section to enter. They don’t just want you to see it, they want your friends to see it too! Secondly, it’s easy for supportive friends, family and followers to say “love this!” but to see post after post with people upset that they couldn’t get their hands on a specific piece of art? That kind of demand is hard to drum up! Finally, it’s hard not to think about the valuable insights you can gain by looking at which styles are engaged with the most. How many emails you get for people wanting a specific piece. The feedback it encourages is enormously valuable.
All in all, what I think matters most in this particular case is that sometimes it’s good to get outside of the status quo. We often have a tendency to price ourselves at a certain level, which is great, but being creative and trying to drum up new business however we can get it is important. If you are a creator of content, whether it be art or music or anything else, you should be creating non stop. You need to love what you do and pour every ounce of yourself into it. Not every piece is gallery worthy, or album worthy. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t share that with your community and give them a reason to care about you in return. Maybe giving back just might be what actually gives the greatest returns back to you.