Paint Your Own Social Media Portrait

By now, anyone who has been following this blog knows that I am a big proponent of social media and its benefits to artists as a free marketing medium.

Social media has been proven to be one of the fastest and most effective means of promoting your art brand, building contacts and announcing events – I know this from personal experience. Below, today’s guest post shares some unique ways to help you do just that! ~Lori

Guest artist/author: Geoff Talbot

Paint Your Own Social Media Portrait

So you’ve got to have a Self-hosted Blog or Tumblr, you must use Twitter, have a Facebook Fan, be on LinkedIn, create viral videos on You-Tube, the list goes on and on. Are you worn out by the concept of marketing and pushing your art online?

There are so many voices, prescribing theories and charging dollars, telling the Independent Artist how they can make a fortune through marketing their art with Social Media.

Yet your passion is the expression of your creativity, not selling, using technology or marketing and you have so much time each day! This brave new world of technology is a bothersome and frightening thing for many artists.

But you need not be afraid or feel worn out… this brave new world is here to help. It’s simply offering you a new canvas, a different vehicle for creative expression, a different medium to paint, sculpt and tell your stories.
Stay away from Social Media Consultants and Advisers who would force you to compromise the integrity of your art by pushing you to become a salesman, in the worst possible sense.

Your Social Media Portrait (What people see of you on the Internet) should be your creative expression and it can be as mysterious or as extravagant as you wish. Don’t be pushed into being someone you are not. Be yourself, but enjoy this new medium.

Here are seven riffs or ideas for how you can paint your own portrait:

1. If you are not tech savvy, find a consultant that works primarily with artists, who values creativity. If dollars are an issue, look for a student who is tech savvy (so many are), and walk through the process with them.

2. Understand the power of mystery in your art. How much you wish to reveal, the detail in your Social Media Portrait may match the detail in your artwork. If you’re work is obtuse then perhaps your social media portrait and your method of online expression should be also? It’s totally up to you.

3. Think of the Internet as an exhibition perpetually stuck on opening night. People are visiting, looking at your work, wanting to engage with you and your art. You can help them, you can listen to them, you can learn from them.

4. Your Social Media Portrait shouldn’t be just about your art; it’s your portrait, it should be about you. And you care about many things that are apparently on the outside or the periphery of your art. Issues, hobbies, passions… write, tweet, express yourself in these areas.

5. Instead of marketing, think of it as a place to share yourself with others. You can become part of a creative community of artists who are sharing life, creativity and resource with each other.

6. Whenever you get stuck simply tell your story.

7. The online engagement although scary and different may actually be good for your art. It may force you to question why you do what you do. It may highlight areas where your art is misunderstood or inaccessible. It may open up new avenues of creativity inside of you. Since it’s your portrait you also get to look in the mirror and see what others see.

In conclusion, your canvas is huge and your options are unlimited and you can paint whatever you wish to paint. Your portrait could be a simple silhouette or it could contain the fine details of a Leonardo masterpiece. There is no right or wrong, it’s really up to you.

*Geoff Talbot is an film-maker and social media consultant living in Hollywood. He writes a popular daily Seven Sentence Blog for creative people. He has a big dream that he’s still chasing.


If you liked this post, you might like these…~Lori

5 Reasons Why Artists Need Social Media & Eye Opening Stats to Back it Up!

3 Reasons to Start a Creative Blog for Your Business

Demystifying Social Media for Artists

The PowerArtist Series: Artists Who Excel in the Arts and Social Media (really good stuff here)

Easy Steps to Secure Your Facebook Account from Hackers

Branding You: 5 Ways to Improve Your Professional Image

Inbound or Outbound: Which Direction is Your Art Marketing Going?

PS. If you want to see my art please visit my art blog and let’s meet on Twitter and my Facebook Fan page!


  1. sherry maxwell June 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Arti Lori,
    I so love your site and all of your “Info”. Its so helpful in so many ways.
    I’m a oil painter. Just to tell you about me, I’ve been painting off and on all my life, but as a hobby. A couple yrs ago I was told by my family Doctor and a couple of other specialist, that I can’t no longer work a laboring job. So now I’m considered disabilied. Never in my life did I ever think something of the such would happen to me. Boy was I wrong! I have for the past couple yrs. been having trouble excepting the idea of it all. Now that I’m home all the time, I am trying to be a full time “Artist” that I have always dreamed of being. Only thing is I can’t set long painting and stand long at all. This is causing me to lose consentration, can’t stay focus. I want to “Blog” as much as my “Art” but not sure of what to Blog about.
    I have thought of talking about my condition to others. Finding and sharing info with them. But some have told me thats like complaining. Don’t want that. My hubby hears it all the time. lol
    So Lori, if you have any great ideas that you can share with me, oh it would be awesome to hear them.
    I really would like to add more and more blogging to my site.

    Would love for you to join it too! Thank you for all your info. Have a great rest of the week. Sherry

    • Geoffrey Talbot June 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Sherry,

      My name is Geoff I wrote the article above on Lori’s site. I hope you don’t mind me answering your question.

      Your story is a GOOD ONE Sherry, so it wouldn’t necessarily be “complaining” to simply tell it, in a blog. But I think it is fair to say that your story isn’t just your “inability to labor or to stand for long times. Your entire story is so much more than that…

      I think that would be worth blogging out…

      I checked out your site, clearly you live landscapes and nature, blog about that too encourage others into the discussion.

      What about memories how do they tie into your art; what part does nostalgia and places have in your art work. Memories that inspire you.

      What about your technique, the way you specifically create… that is also interesting.

      I hope this helps in some ways Sherry… keep going and keep blogging.


      • Lori McNee June 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

        Those are great tips and ideas, Geoff. Thanks for being a generous soul and for helping your fellow art blogger!

        Lori 🙂

    • Lori McNee June 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      Hello Sherry-

      Thanks for taking time to comment and for your nice feedback. I am grateful this blog is helping others like yourself.

      Sherry, I think people learn so much from another’s experiences – good, bad, challenging and triumphant. I agree with Geoff…you should blog about your story if that is what inspires you. However, I think it is important to be a light and example to others. We all have to overcome adversity and it sounds like you are working through your health issues with a positive outlook that will help you and your readers. Just make sure you are willing and comfortable to have thousands of people knowing your personal business. Your blog is beautiful and I like the name. Blogging about your artistic journey and its challenges will be interesting.

      My best…and I am here if you need me!
      Lori 🙂

  2. Meltemi June 13, 2011 at 3:25 am

    There is perhaps an oversight. I, like you and many other artists have a serious online presence with my own website, several blogs and I also use the social networks. A quick analysis shows that the majority of those people I connect with just happen to be other artists or family. These other artists are unlikely to either buy or plug my art and I doubt if I would theirs either. Those eleven people I might just know on Facebook all turn out to be fellow artists. Then there is only so much art the family will buy. So in essence is social networking really a marketing tool or just an over-hyped buddy network?

    • Geoffrey Talbot June 13, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Hi Friend,

      I do think that artists, blogging about their art to other artists, does just become an over-hyped buddy network. That is why you need to blog about more than just your art… if you wish to extend your network…

      Consider the themes behind your artwork? The issues, the causes, the beliefs, the subject matter, your own journey… These things will connect with people who aren’t just artists.

      • Lori McNee June 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

        Hi Geoffrey-

        Thanks for following up on your comments. The readers really appreciate hearing from the author…
        Your networking suggestions are good. Artists who want to expand outside the art niche need to tweet about other interests rather than just art. I tweet about social media, blogging, nature, travel, art (of course), and other topics that interest me. This has given me a bigger social media footprint outside the art world. I am able to stay true to my audience and attract new people this way.

        Happy blogging!

    • Lori McNee June 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Meltemi,

      It is true that many artists just tweet, FB and blog primarily with other artists. In fact, the majority of my readers are obviously artists. However, social media opens up great conversations outside the art niche. My own social media experience has opened up numerous opportunities with people from all over the world. I guest blog for other niches quite frequently, write for magazines and books and even host for Plum TV…all because of social media! As far as I am concerned, there is no hype about the marketing power of social media. It is the fastest way to brand yourself and get a message out there to the masses. Artists need to extend their networking base before they will see this happen – but it will, if they work at better connections.

      Thanks for the candid input-
      Lori 🙂

      • Ben Thompson June 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm

        Lori –
        Most artists can not (nor want to) “write for magazines and books and even host for Plum TV”; they are artists, not writers.
        You state “social media opens up great conversations outside the art niche.”
        But I (and I would guess most artists) are not interested in that. We just want to sell more art and blogging & Tweeting to other artists gets one little.

        • Lori McNee June 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm

          Hi Ben-

          My purpose in sharing those interesting things that have happened to me, is to prove that social media does work – I was not trying to boast. It has been such an amazing two years since I started blogging and tweeting as a way of ‘giving back’ to my art community.
          I have learned that conversations are really the only way to create art sales via social media. It is important to build trust via communication, then the sales come….and they do. I have sold many paintings via social media and so have other artists. There are some articles on this blog that share their stories. Social media is a free branding tool that reaches beyond your artists network if you learn how to follow and network with the right people. Some artists (including myself) buy art from time to time, but it is good to follow people outside the art world. As far as ‘blogging and tweeting’ getting one little, we will have to agree do disagree on that point. 🙂 Social media is not a get rich scheme, however you will get out of it, what you are willing to put into it. I wouldn’t be wasting my time doing it otherwise. I am way too busy.

          Thanks for your thoughts…

  3. DK Osorio January 20, 2012 at 9:04 am


    Found you on Twitter, thanks for the great thoughts in this article!

    I am starting to realize that people want to klnow the artist, and not just the art. It’s difficult for me, but I know I have to “put myself out there.” Thanks again.


    • Lori McNee January 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Hello DK and thanks for the comment. Yes, Twitter is a great way for artists to ‘put themselves out there’. People really do like to know the person behind the painting. I am glad these tips inspired you to get out there!

      Happy tweeting-

  4. Lucy Chen December 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    My avatar is my self portrait painting 🙂

  5. Dave Blinder November 21, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Great article Geoffrey, and thank you Lori for hosting it. I may be on the flipside of the coin here. Makes me wonder if I expose too much social media info about my personality, and art photography techniques?

    • Lori McNee November 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Hello Dave, yes there is a fine line between sharing and giving too much away. Only you will know where to draw that line. Thanks for sharing.

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