|Mandarin Plant by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki|
There is no doubt in my mind who the favorite people of any artist are - beyond my dearest ones, my extended family includes all art lovers. That happens to be a huge number of people. Nowadays, when we can make friends via internet, artists cover a LOT of ground. It can become very confusing to figure out how to stay connected with all our people, in the most appropriate way.
I recently corresponded with another artist about this topic, and she liked what I had to say, so I'll share.
The question was how to organize all our "contacts". The problem is that when things get out of hand, all we can see is a bunch of "contacts", while what we want to see is all the wonderful people we met on our journey. Here's how I turn my "contacts" into meaningful lists of awesome people.
1. My Art Blog Subscribers
I invite people to subscribe to my blog if they are interested in reading about my art journey. It's all about sharing experiences. The people who sign up are tracked by the app attached to the blog, so I don't really need to do anything with this list. I just monitor the number of subscribers to make sure it's going up. If it was to go down (hasn't happened yet), I'd think about improving my blog content. I don't send any other correspondence to this list - I'm just grateful that they found value in my blog.
2. My Art Collectors
The super extra wonderful people who have purchased my art are subscribed to my Art Circle list that I maintain in the MailChimp app. The subscription link is on my web site although I should probably add it to my blog too. MailChimp helps me send nicely formatted invitations for my shows and any significant news about my art career. This is all about my paintings. Anyone who is interested in purchasing my art, that I know of, is in this list. There are many people missing from it, because I usually don't get to know the gallery clients, but some of them do get in touch and are added to this list. I also add here the gallery owners and dealers with whom I had significant relationship. It is important to know that people can't be added to an automated email system like Mail Chimp, without their permission, so only genuinely interested people make this list.
3. My Art Lovers
There are many, many people I have met on my art journey, with whom I don't want to loose touch. Every single person enriched my life in some way and it's a joy to reconnect every once in a while, work on a project together, or just exchange thoughts. It's not always easy to remember every single thing, so to prevent myself from forgetting those precious moments, I enter contact information of each person into my Contacts database attached to my Gmail account. It's a good idea to enter a few notes that will help remind me where I met the person and if there was something particularly interesting we did together. Over the years, this database has become huge so I am planning to break it down to make it easier to search. I can create categories such as friends, vendors, teachers, students, art clubs, etc. I use this list for sending of individual emails only. Days of email blasting of innocents is long gone, people whom we befriend trust us with their contact information, so it needs to be used conscientiously.
4. Social Media
The world of the social media has it's own rules and rewards, the best one being that everyone can subscribe to what they are interested in following. I love it! I use Social Media to stay in touch with like-minded people and topics that I am passionate about, to support other artists, and to immerse myself in the art community. I also share my blog posts and gallery announcements there, which exposes my contribution to more people who might get interested in it. So effectively, Social Media helps me grow the other three lists. I mostly use the Facebook, from which I forward to Twitter, Google+ and Pintrest.
We all are social beings, some more, some less, but we do all have important people in our lives, whom we cherish. I've found myself too busy to follow up with friends at times, which I deeply regret. But having these systems in order, and knowing how to use them is a great help to me. I hope it helps someone else too.
Your friend in arts,