Personal Brand Building for Visual Artists. Conceptual Analysis between Online and Offline Marketing

Bachelor Thesis, 2018

57 Pages, Grade: 2,00

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This paper focuses on possible approaches for improving and changing the current content of visual arts education and analyzes proper channels through which visual artists can communicate with their audience as well as pointing out significant advantages and disadvantages. Sources in the fields of art, economics, psychology, and research technology have been applied to ensure the best possible cross-disciplinary approach. Research has shown that online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs provide the best practice to build a visual artist’s brand quickly and correctly. Further, online marketing is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the established reputation in the offline area through exhibitions in art museums, art galleries, and other art exhibition spaces.

In the light of the available results, it has concluded that, e.g., marketing opportunities like Facebook are less suitable than Instagram or Twitter. Therefore, further research in the online marketing area is being recommended as it will develop tremendously fast over the next few years. Most important, additional possible content for visual arts education needs to be investigated as it acts as a foundation for future artists.

Keywords: arts education, brand building, offline marketing, online marketing, visual artists


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Figure 1: Context-based curriculum for arts entrepreneurship. (Beckman, 2007)

Figure 2: The art machine. (Rodner & Thomson, 2013)



Visual artists today are facing a highly competitive but also well-developed art market with more channels and opportunities to show and sell their work (Thornton, 2008). In fact, artistic labor markets are steadily growing with visual artists who want their work to be recognized and appreciated (Muniz, Norris, & Fine, 2014). With a rise in demand for art and culture through the development of social media consumer’s possibility to access art has never been so unmediated (Thornton, 2008).

However, not only online marketing like social media has a significant impact on purchased art, but also offline marketing. Although art galleries promote, sell or exhibit the visual artist and his/her work this is not enough as their work needs to be seen and exchanged several times before being successful in this sector (Joy, 1996).

Branding can be as artistic as crafting new artwork. Visual artists who rely on a manager to establish them in the arts sector run the risk of losing their integrity. Therefore, visual artists have to be independent concerning their business. Unfortunately, a visual artist’s education usually lacks deep economic and business-related expertise. Alternative methods include extra- occupational workshops, coaching systems and job-related knowledge for further training in business management (Bauer, Viola, & Strauss, 2011).

To address this problem, we need a better understanding of the arts - especially visual arts - and the opportunity of using online and offline media for brand building as well as the importance of entrepreneurial knowledge which is still missing in a visual artist’s education.

The benefits of addressing this problem would change the common misleading opinion about visual artists not being allowed to have financial motivation in creating artworks, leading to a different designation of arts than being destitute and minor. Further, the discussed importance of online and offline media in this paper allows visual artists to build their brand correctly and quickly through interacting, inspiring and motivating other visual artists and designers as well as encouraging other visual artists in self-education through communicating and documenting their practice (Budge, 2013).


This paper is going to analyze visual artist’s opportunities and challenges in building a personal brand and provides possible approaches to use online and offline media as a brand building tool. Further, the insight of a visual artist’s education today is given to ascertain the relationship between education and success. The given objectives lead to the following research questions that this paper is aiming to answer:

RQ1: How can arts education integrate business skills to help artists establish themselves? RQ2: What marketing channels are available for artists in the 21״ century?


This academic paper is divided into four chapters: In the first chapter, a detailed description of the essential terms used in this paper is given. Moreover, I will provide an overall explanation of brand building in general as well as a more detailed one of personal branding.

The second chapter focuses on the definition of being a visual artist today, considering their education, path, and career. In addition to that, giving an insight into possibilities to acquire business knowledge through internal and external curricula as well as the current opportunities and challenges.

In the third chapter, I will outline the importance and impact of online marketing on brands as well as the challenges of online branding, giving a detailed insight on social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Blogs. Further, an approach on financial funding for visual artists will be given and risks will be outlined.

The fourth chapter is going to focus on offline marketing including art museums, art galleries and other exhibit spaces. Moreover, I will give a broader understanding of collaboration and interaction between arts networks and sponsorships.

For citation, the APA style was used.



Today, one of the leading causes of changing communications is technology - especially the Internet. Consequently, customers have access to a wide range of information about companies and their brands/products which makes traditional approaches on branding useless (Keller, 2009) and allows a reinterpretation of branding.

According to Keller (2003), a brand is created when designing a name, symbol, or logo for a new product. By doing so a certain amount of prominence, reputation and awareness are attained in the marketplace, making branding a priority in this increasingly complex world. Regarding the minds of consumers, it is necessary to build mental structures in labeling the product to help consumers broaden their knowledge and deepen their understanding in products and services. By labeling the product, and the understanding of differentiation as an advantage for companies since it should be mentioned that attributes, which distinguish brands, provide customers with benefits for which they are willing to pay for is developed (Wood, 2000).

An understanding of how brands are created is equally important as knowing their roles. For consumers, brands are symbolic devices and a signal of quality. On the other hand, brands are a source of competitive advantage, and financial returns from an economic point of view (Keller, 2003). This classification leads to a two-sided interpretation of a brands meaning to define a brand - the product plus approach and the brand itself. Concerning the product plus approach, the brand is seen as an identifier and therefore added to the product. The brand itself is tailored to the customer’s needs and unifies the marketing mix to reach high brand equity (Styles & Ambler, 1995).

Since brands continue to play an essential role in a competitive market, the tasks of a brand manager are becoming more complex and long-dated. To accomplish this everchanging environment, brand managers need to improve their competitive abilities and accept new challenges which might arise (Low & Fullerton, 1994). Besides that, by knowing the forces, which are shaping market behavior, sustainable and competitive advantages could be developed, leading to more successful adaptions to market changes (Shocker, Srivastava, & Ruekert, 1994).


Having considered the different roles of brands, I want to deepen the understanding of the relationship between brand and customer - most notably brand responses and relationships.

The term brand response refers to how customers react to the brand and whether their reaction appears to be more emotional or analytical to distinguish between brand judgments and brand feelings. Brand judgments involve customers’ own opinion referring to the brand, including, e.g. brand credibility and brand quality. Brand feelings focus on customers’ emotional responses to the brand, e.g. excitement, self-respect, fun, and security. Both brand judgments and brand feelings are important if accessible and positive when thinking of the brand (Keller, 2003).

Provided that customers react to the brand, a so called brand relationship evolves. It can be measured through activity and intensity, which refers to the depth of customers’ emotional and psychological connection with the brand - that is a harmonious relationship (Keller, 2003). Apart from this, brands play an active role when it comes to relationships (Fournier, 1998). Therefore, it can be said that consumers do not only choose brands/products but also lives (Fournier, 1998), influenced by ideological discourse, cultural codes and consumer’s background knowledge (Schroeder, 2005).

Knowing that people want to communicate who they are, makes brand consumption a powerful social tool used for self-identity. Further, by interacting and interpreting the social world, consumers acquire meaning from actions, behaviors and objects. The way brands are used and interpreted by consumers to construct the self, differs symbolically, iconically and alternatively. (Schembri, Merrilees, & Kristiansen, 2010)

However, to understand brand knowledge, consumers need to develop two important components: brand image and brand awareness. Brand image refers to preferences and perceptions of consumers concerning brands, whereas brand awareness is defined as the lasting memory of a brand (Keller, 2009) across a variety of settings.

To provide structure, it is useful to think of a so called branding ladder. It includes the linkage between brand identity, brand meaning, brand responses and brand relationships. In other words, without creating brand identity there is no chance to establish brand meaning, and brand responses cannot occur without the development of the right brand meaning and so forth (Keller, 2003).

Consequently, the different approaches in defining brands differ as they depend on one’s perspective. Besides that, brands can be distinguished by their purpose and characteristics. However, the value of a brand always depends on consumers’ beliefs, attitude and knowledge, making consumers the most important coefficient which needs to be considered.


The aim of branding lies in the development of brand equity, defined by brand knowledge, which could be reached through customers’ feelings related to the brand.

Most importantly, intense emotions are most likely achieved by strong brands with characteristics as e.g. less vulnerability to marketing crises, more inelastic consumer response to price increases, improved perceptions of product performance, additional brand extension opportunities and possible licensing opportunities. Knowing the importance of emotions, customers’ desired thoughts, images and perceptions will be most challenging for marketers in building a strong brand. (Keller, 2003)

Brand equity is driven by three main factors which are initial choices made for brand elements (e.g. name, logo, character, slogan and package), marketing activities integrating the product (e.g. product, price, distribution and sommunication) and connotations linked with the brand (e.g. company, another brand, country of origin). One approach in measuring brand equity is the identification and tracking of consumers’ brand knowledge structures including brand identity, brand meaning, brand responses and brand relationships. (Keller, 2003)

Given the above, brand equity is not only important related to customers’ feelings towards brands, but also an essential criterion for marketing communication. Each communication option plays a specific role in maintaining or building brand equity (Keller, 2003). Since brand equity is in direct proportion to emotions and impressions, it can be used for measurement, which will help marketers to implement and design the right communication programs (Keller, 2009).

Living in an ever-changing environment, a dramatic shift from traditional advertising media (e.g. radio, newspapers/magazines, and TV) to mostly Internet-based connections in marketing communication has happened. In this new media environment, consumers do not only have a choice whether and how they want to receive commercial content but also more variety in media use (Keller, 2009).

Being aware of a new media environment, the Internet does offer advantages such as contextual placement. Speaking of advantages, there are also disadvantages e.g. the rules of engagement are defined by customers as well as what information they need and what they are willing to pay. Furthermore, the Internet is effective at reaching people during the day through websites, blogs, and online ads/videos, but is ineffective for those who do not use it. Websites are an efficient communication option to affect brand equity and resonance, giving marketers the opportunity to communicate with customers and provide unique information directly. Blogs are known for fostering active engagement, creating communities and allowing feedback that can improve the marketing program of a brand. Online ads/videos are beneficial in expanding legal or creative restrictions of traditional broadcast and print media as well as targeted and timely messages. (Keller, 2009)

All things considered, marketing communication includes information about why and how a product is used, by what kind of person and when and where. On the one hand customers can inform themselves about products and companies in detail, on the other hand companies can link their brands to places, people, events, experiences and feelings (Keller, 2009).


Further, by explaining the definition of brand building one must distinguish between branding a product and branding oneself.

Personal branding is used by people who want to market themselves, from establishing a brand identity to developing a brand position to evaluating a brand image. In other words, personal branding is an individualistic approach and new form of the marketing concept, related to adopted marketing strategies and leads to promoting oneself (Kheder, 2014).

According to Hines (2004), personal branding can also be seen from a different perspective, bringing forth self-knowledge and self-expression - a way to discover the inner self and proclaiming it to clients. Also, personal branding includes a balance between personality and skills. To strengthen the personal brand one needs to deliver on the promise of being authentic since good brands are about trust. (Hines, 2004)

By building a personal brand, one stands between the proactive and the reactive members of society. He/She has to ensure that the information displayed online is encouraging others rather than having a negative impact. One who can manage the online chaos and develop a good personal brand, will enrich the lives of others and gain access to new career opportunities. To establish and maintain online profiles and collaboration, a culture of trust needs to be present, which is build over time due to individuals’ reputation based on their sense of community and expertise (Harris & Rae, 2011).

Controlling online personal presence as well as using the internet has grown increasingly complex due to advanced technology. With the development of platforms like Facebook and online personal Web sites, users do not need to be familiar with technics or coding languages to post content about themselves and participate in a social network. Personal branding by internet involves building social networking profiles, blogs, and search engine optimization techniques to enable access to one's information (Labrecque, Markos, & Milne, 2011).

As mentioned above, personal branding includes three phases: brand identity, brand positioning, and brand image. Brand identity is based on characteristics being branded; and about self-presentation which allows you to distinguish yourself from everyone else. Brand positioning is used for highlighting positive characteristics that enrich the lives of one’s target audience. It occurs through impression management and reveals some personal information through blogs and social networks, maintaining a consistent image. Brand image is developed over time and responsible for creating a perception of the brand in the consumer’s mind. It is established to achieve results and depends on information, posted by the particular person (Kheder, 2014), (Labrecque, Markos, & Milne, 2011).

By explaining the definition of personal brand building one must consider to distinguish between its meaning in the marketing sector and arts sector to understand the differences and similarities which are.


According to Butler (2000), the art world acts as an open system whereas the business world operates in a closed system which is systemized. Therefore, business should learn to integrate the mindset of the creative industry, especially that from visual artists to appeal contemporary consumers as well as ensuring a branded and sustainable long-term reputation (Rodner & Kerrigan, 2014).

However, Fournier et al. (2008) claim that personal brands can be seen from a more artistic perspective as developed bundles of meanings and ideas linking consumers with each other. If the meanings of brands harmonize personal, organizational and cultural, they become a cultural force shaping the collective social space. By separating arts and business the potential of studying the art market as a place of image-based branding has been neglected. Nevertheless, it is possible to broaden the traditional definition of personal branding by acknowledging both brands in visual culture and commercial mechanisms in the art market (Schroeder, 2005).

Speaking of differences and similarities in arts and business, one must go into detail regarding business such as marketing. Marketing practice traditionally was about creating products to fulfill consumers’ needs whereas today’s marketing needs to be more aware of requiring an advanced perspective like it is common in the arts sector - continually questioning previous definitions, schools or thoughts is a daily activity to artists. By doing this, creativity is set free, leading to new trend-setting perspectives and approaches (Rodner & Kerrigan, 2014). Due to art museums, art exhibitions and art auction houses the branded world intersects with the art world playing an essential role in consumer experience and leading to strong brands. In fact, many artists integrate brands into their work to comment and critique on it (Schroeder, 2005).

All things considered, personal branding has become a powerful tool producing knowledge through practice and refusing its traditional role as a marketing strategy (Schroeder, 2005). Further, it can be used in various ways regardless of whether in a business or arts context building a bridge between two traditionally different worlds.


As mentioned before, one of the leading causes of changing communications is technology - especially the Internet. This does not only have an impact on today’s branding culture but also on visual artists. To understand the linkage between branding and arts one must look closer to the present differences and similarities. I, therefore, want to discuss the importance of branding in the arts sector first to provide an understanding for both subjects.

Due to the rising importance of social media, brand control is becoming more difficult to overview for the brand owner. Especially most visual artists struggle with that by producing artwork out of their commitment instead of following market trends (Butler, 2000). These self­expressing artists often try to collab with art professionals, who have more social connections and a permanent establishment in the arts sector, to reach a wider audience (Rodner & Kerrigan, 2014).

Further, the visual artists themselves can be seen as brands since the usage of creativity is part of the art production (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014). To define the visual artist’s brand better, it is measured by external recognition and validation. In the moment of contact with a foreign audience, the financial and symbolic value of an artist’s artwork is approved or disapproved (Rodner & Thomson, 2013). A visual artist’s brand is arranged of an individual identity, composed of emotional, spiritual and physical engagement, gaining an extraordinary and attractive position among an audience. Keeping this in mind, the focus should be not only on external and visible spaces but also on internal and invisible areas, lived by the artist, since brand and branding is linked to artists’ self-expression. (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014)


Art is serious business regarding successful artists as managers of their brand and knowing how to exhibit and brand their work efficiently (Schroeder, 2005). Since it is more challenging to gain a reputation for visual artists today, the entrepreneurial role of visual artists emerges and deserves more attention.

In this changing context, it seems most visual artists have to rethink the relations between branding, art, and artists to consider how to market and manage their brands for achieving a visible position in the art world. By building brands, visual artists do not only facilitate the recognition of their artwork, but also of themselves, the essential qualities of his/her work and artistic knowledge. Therefore, visual artists increasingly understand the vital role of entrepreneurialism in applying marketing and managerial principles within the arts sector (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014).

According to Hirschman (1983), there is a difference between visual artists aiming for self-expression and those working for commercial success. The primary attention of most visual artists is creating artworks to make a statement about their vision related to the environment and not making money. In other words, most visual artists work against economic logic and those who create art exclusively for money often fail to be taken seriously by other artists (Webb, Schirato, & Danaher, 2002). Moreover, Abbing (2002) says that the difference between a commercial and non-commercial artist lies in the external and internal rewards.

Given the above, visual artist who, in fact, make money with their artworks, developed personal business strategies leading to a brand - an interplay of artwork and personality (Anderson, Kupp, & Reckhenrich, 2009). Further, those artists took risks, ignored customer’s needs and adopted an entrepreneurial attitude by consistent effort. They developed an understanding of how the arts network influences their brand and that it relies on cultural agents such as curators, critics, and collectors. (Rodner & Kerrigan, 2014)

Successful visual artists can be thought of as brand managers and enjoy celebrity status in the art market developing and promoting themselves and their artwork (Schroeder, 2005). Further, visual artists create visual brands via their work and style as well as interact with brands in various ways, e.g., by including commercial symbols in their art. In fact, there exists no other market where the relationship between branding, name recognition, and value is so apparent than in the art market. Speaking of creating visual brands via artists’ work and style, it is necessary to name some artists such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman who used advertising, strategic marketing and self branding to gain a long lasting reputation and success as global brands (Schroeder, 2005).

In fact, visual artists often adopt brand names, brand images, and marketing campaigns consequently, highlighting the essence of the brand by taking it out of the marketing context into the gallery (Schroeder, 2005).

The identity of artists tends to seek creation and innovation, just like the entrepreneurial personality does although both operate in different social segments with little interaction. This leads to a definition of the visual artist as entrepreneurs creating their business, selling their artwork and achieving artistic and financial success. Given this, artist-entrepreneurs mostly face an inner conflict because, on the one hand, they want to gain commercial success and on the other, they are driven by creative success. Besides, artist-entrepreneurs is a unique mixture of artistic and financial values, searching for marketing opportunities as well as artistic actualization (Bass, Milosevic, & Eesley, 2015).

As mentioned, an identity conflict emerges as the artist identity rivals the entrepreneur identity. Bass et al. (2015) suggest that artist-entrepreneurs experience three different stages of identity conflict: detachment, fusion, and integration - from keeping the artistic and entrepreneurial identities separate to a conjunction of those identities to the stage where they shape the identity of an artist-entrepreneur. Keeping this in mind, specialized curriculums are needed addressing possible conflicts between artistic and entrepreneurial identity as well as achieving financial and artistic success.

In other words, visual artists who are more interested in building a brand than in self­expression are more likely to succeed in a competitive art market.


The interest of young visual artists is best supported by the school system, family, during their studies, from awareness programmes or through apprenticeships. In other words, there are many ways of developing visual artists’ skills (Butler, 2000). Nowadays it is not only essential to teach art but also to increase entrepreneurial knowledge to motivate visual art students and to be able to support them adequately in their careers.

Visual art students want to broaden their knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and are interested in self-employment. Although the differentiation of commercial and non­commercial art is still essential for arts educators and society, this debate is not a concern for visual art students. However, it is crucial for visual art students to earn a living as they do not perceive themselves as the ‘starving kid’ and therefore also work for minimum wage jobs to support their talent financially and grow as an artist (Roberts, 2013). In other words, visual art students are indeed eager for entrepreneurship and arts education (Beckman, 2007).

According to a British study, visual arts graduates who had no managerial courses show a significant deficit in self-confidence, negotiating and networking skills, self-promotion and time management (La Valle, O’Regan, & Jackson, 2000). This leads to the assumption of current (academic) arts education as being unhelpful in preparing visual art students for their artistic future and the economic reality (Almhofer, Lang, Schmied, & Tuček, 2000). Nowadays nothing but an arts education is not enough. Even with natural creative talent and technical expertise, the majority of visual artists fail to brand themselves as well as advertise their artwork successfully (Hughes, 1984).

Arts educators should integrate arts entrepreneurship, training, and education into the curriculum as it is not the only beneficiary for individual art students but also helps to increase the economic viability of cultural and arts industries. In focusing on pedagogy and by developing modules of knowledge, skills, information, and abilities that infuse entrepreneurship into the arts education, young artists can develop business skills which allow them to be successful with their artwork and passion. (Roberts, 2013)

Although visual art students as well as 41 percent of professional visual artists (Meyer & Even, 1998) seek for entrepreneurship classes, it might be difficult for them to attend these since visual art students spend six to nine hours a day in studio classes practicing their skills (Beckman, 2007). Further, one should not expect art students to flourish in an entrepreneurial world by letting them attend an academic education exclusively focusing in arts; meaning a theory-driven instead of a student-driven education (Dempster, 2011), (White, 2013). Art students with competencies, skills, and behaviors that are not demanded nor enough will likely have poor professional outcomes (White, 2013).

Taking into account that some few institutions offer an additional education in arts entrepreneurship, they either have long waiting lists for classes, require a significant time investment or are high in costs leading to lower participation of visual artists in entrepreneurship classes (Beckman, 2007), (Bauer, Viola, & Strauss, 2011). This means that educational content, relevant to visual art students, such as courses in financing, self­management, business administration and marketing are instead offered by private institutions demanding high course fees instead of being part of an academic arts education and free of charge (Bauer, Viola, & Strauss, 2011). Given these challenges, the problem is not a matter of interest or time, but the lack of support and the underestimated importance of this subject (Beckman, 2007).

While only some few academic institutions around the world offer education in arts entrepreneurship, interest in it is growing and it will be an essential part of visual artists’ careers. For instance, a course with a focus on communicating art to the marketplace expressing a young artists' artistic potential or the development of an artist portfolio could more than help visual art students. (Beckman, 2007)

Challenges might be how to organize and integrate arts entrepreneurship into established arts degree plans. Today, the most common method in organizing arts entrepreneurship education is still accomplished by a partnership between arts and business schools, especially those with professional entrepreneurship programs. This approach is mostly based on interdisciplinary cooperation and has the benefit of dividing financial obligations among various faculties. Further, by distributing those commitments an experiential education in the form of an internship could also be achieved by units that do not have internship programs in inviting successful arts entrepreneurs into the classroom. The positive impact of experimental education is not only recognized by students but also by many administrators who encourage the application of entrepreneurial techniques in a controlled environment. (Beckman, 2007)

Unfortunately, most educational partnerships between arts and business school suffer from inadequate funding and missing qualified teachers. Due to this challenges, such interdisciplinary cooperations have appeared only intermittently and have not been sustainable. The most critical factor is the resistance of the faculties supporting older models and teaching techniques perceiving arts entrepreneurship as ‘trendy’. Considering the intersection of student needs, arts entrepreneurship education, faculty relations and changing arts education administrators are in an increasingly uncomfortable position. (Beckman, 2007)

Although most of the programs which promote entrepreneurship for artists are limited in the comprehension of the cultural economy, Bonin-Rodriguez (2012) has witnessed community-based ATPD programs being a “philosophical platform that embraces business acumen and provides an arts context for entrepreneurship education” (Beckman, 2007): The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI) in Cleveland, Artist Inc. in Kansas City and Artists и (AU) in Philadelphia. These programs share similar approaches and i.a. impart knowledge on how students might market themselves internationally as well as building partnerships. Moreover, these programs give an understanding of payback and participation of community engagement letting visual artists acknowledge their embedded markets. Each program negotiates place-based access and concerns as well as identifies how visual artists consider resources being available for them and the community shaping visual artists as a specific type of entrepreneur and clarifies visual artists as having the capacity to produce their artworks. Further, networking, budgeting and finances, grants and fundraising, organizational structures, audience development, grants and fundraising, marketing and legal concerns are featured. (Bonin-Rodriguez, 2012)

Context-based programs like these create multidimensional outcomes and opportunities for visual art students who may carry on the trade in traditional arts having a new kind of sense for their artistic careers and a broader understanding of their environment (see Figure 1). Moreover, each program crosses the disciplinary boundaries and appeals to both the artistic and the intellectual self. (Beckman, 2007)

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Figure 1: Context-based curriculum for arts entrepreneurship. (Beckman, 2007)

Another approach in integrating business skills into arts education outside an academic environment would be possible by mentorships, team projects, and experimental learning. According to Bauer et al. (2011), there is a wider variety of external courses than public art universities leading to an unbalanced cost-performance ratio and therefore failing to meet visual art students’ demands. However, by expediting the process of an integrated management education into arts curricula, extensive educational improvements could be achieved.

As mentioned above, there are three possible techniques for connecting business with arts: mentorships, team projects, and experimental learning. By participating in a mentorship, the student is disciplinary trained in the arts and gets feedback on his strategy, technique, and results. Further, self-reflection and independent work are supported. A successful mentoring relationship is defined by goals and learning outcomes, leading to a promising career in the arts. Learning to work on team projects encourages entrepreneurial behavior since groups develop more ideas than individuals - especially concerning creativity and innovation. Group brainstorming exercises are an ideal way of practicing creative thinking by questioning existing concepts and combining them with new ones or by defining creative solutions for current and future problems. Although team projects may have a positive impact on the students creative
thinking and intellectual growth, they are likely avoided outside the classroom due to the logistical challenge of managing five or more students. Some educators are convinced that experiential learning in arts entrepreneurship provides most opportunities for students. As with the two previously mentioned approaches of educational improvements in connecting business with arts, experiential learning allows students to develop new and cross-border ideas, and besides, lets students present it before an audience or even in the marketplace. Students may also be engaged in managing a theatre company, arts education program or gallery. (Essig, 2013)

Above all, visual artists want professional training in business education. The integration of economic knowledge into art curricula would not only help visual artists in being successful in their artistic careers but also in developing required skills which prepares them for the highly competitive art market. Although some institutions are acknowledging the importance of art entrepreneurship, there needs to be more widespread acceptance and openness towards the cross-disciplinary approach of visual artists being entrepreneurs.


Before this chapter deals more closely with visual artists and their role, needs, goals, environment and work, the concept of the artistry has to be explained and defined in more detail as there is a lack of a generally accepted definition of who is an artist (Jackson, 2004).

Artists are people who define themselves as such and received specialized training in an artistic discipline by themselves or others (Jackson, 2004). Unlike other highly regarded professions such as medicine, law or architecture there are no official credentials differentiating artists from non-artists. This leads to the widespread misconception of artistic talent only being a gift rather than hard work. Without an appreciation of artistic language consisting of unique techniques, style, and structures artists are unlikely to be well-esteemed for their professional knowledge. In other words, being an artist contains a continual defense of qualified status through the preservation of an artistic identity. (Bain, 2005)

However, visual artists’ primary interest is the creation of art and the expression through it (Butler, 2000). For that to succeed, they strive for occupational solitude most of the time to withdraw from human interactions and focusing on their artistic practice despite feeling nurtured by other artists (Bain, 2005). The role which visual artists adopt is somewhat critical - they provide a different view of our economic, political and social systems as well as to oneself (Fiilis, 2009). Not only do visual artists create artworks which are personal and universal at the same time, but also connect people and transmit emotions.

Although visual artists have the motivation of expressing themselves through their artworks and find appreciation within an audience one must consider that contemporary visual artists pay little to no attention to consumers’ wishes. Instead of creating artworks with complex and symbolic meanings in reaction to consumer demand, visual artists spend more time and effort on aesthetics in combination with the self - regardless of whether the consumer accepts or rejects the outcome. As a consequence, artistic thinking, movements and new schools of thought can evolve and flourish. (Fiilis, 2009)

A visual artist’s creativity entirely differs from commercialized creativity leading to a leitmotif gradually divided into self-orientation, peer orientation and commercial orientation (Meyer & Even, 1998). According to Hirschman (1983), self-orientation could also be described as “intra-individual” meaning that visual artists are the first admirers of their artwork. By creating something to communicate, share and express values and emotions self-oriented visual artists tend to be seen as initial consumers with internal exchange relationships (Fiilis, 2009). Peer-oriented and commercial oriented creativity are closely linked relating to fine art. Whereas peer orientation is primarily directed at peers and industry professionals allowing visual artists to publicize their artworks for external approval and recognition (Hirschman, 1983), commercial orientation has a monetary aim and is addressed to the public-at-large (Meyer & Even, 1998).

Keeping this in mind, being a professional visual artist is a full-time commitment. Although the desired goal for many visual artists is defined by financial independence, achieved through selling their artworks, recognition and appreciation play an essential role. However, a few visual artists manage to earn a living by making sales through their artistic brand leading to one or more additional jobs in order to finance their undisturbed commitment to art. (Bain, 2005)


Regarding consumers, personal brands are mostly seen as selling out due to others who try too hard for financial success and, therefore, appear to be trustless. It is essential for personal brands to remain authentic leading to more widespread acceptance and success (Muniz, Norris, & Fine, 2014). This makes it easy for contemporary artists since they seek for self-expression rather than finding a brand for their customers (Meyer & Even, 1998).

For most people, work is interpreted as paid employment instead of volunteer or domestic work that is not done for money. Even artistic work is tied up with public perceptions. The long hours which artists spend on their artworks and brand is expected to be ordinary since most people think creating work has to come from a desire to create rather than wanting to pay the bills or other monetary issues. Also, a ‘true’ artist is expected not to mix artistic vision with wanting to make an earning. This leads to a clear distinction between artworks which are produced to earn an income and those which are only created for personal expression. (Bain, 2005)

According to the arts community, young people should be identified as current consumers and, therefore, as audiences, participants, and artists to form a new perception of arts (Butler, 2000). However, one has to consider perceptions not only according to age but also to experience and knowledge. Whereas arts experts prefer artworks related to style and technique (Winston & Cupchik, 1992), non-experts tend to relate personal feelings to preference judgments (Augustin & Leder, 2006).

A particular study about visual aesthetics indicated that there are three main groups of painting types: landscape, abstract paintings, and portrait/still-life. Although emotional, contextual and social aspects play an important role in visual preference, as they depend on individual perceptions, the findings revealed that participants preferred images of faces who are similar to the observer rather than an average face. Consequently, perceived similarity, along with image statistics and selling price, is one of the three aspects of human preference for art. (Graham, Friedenberg, McCandless, & Rockmore, 2010)

To conclude, society tends to criticize artworks, especially when it comes to the public debate about what is and is not art. This may be due to many different reasons orjust the fact that many artists do not back off from criticizing society with the help of art even if fame and recognition mute that critique. (Schroeder, 2005)


According to Jackson (2004), six significant aspects are making an environment comfortable or uncomfortable for visual artists: validation, demand/markets, material support, training and professional development, communities/networks and information. All these aspects have one thing in common - external recognition; whether by other visual artists or by a direct public. Visual artists feel most appreciated when people return for another exhibition, interaction or purchase of artworks. (Jackson, 2004)

Since visual artists are defined as loners it is more common for them to live in a non­urban area (Markusen & Schröck, 2006). Further, visual artists tend to prefer neighborhoods with diversity, playfulness, and flexibility. Marginal spaces thus offer the ideal place of residence, as they have all the required properties, are still unfinished and are usually overlooked. Many artists like to live and work in low-income neighborhoods due to a lack of formally established art infrastructure as well as high boundaries between different social groups (Bain, 2003). However, since the expansion of the Internet, it is easier for visual artists to promote and sell their artworks regardless of how and where they live (Markusen & Schröck, 2006).

Since the environment of a visual artist also includes his/her working environment, this is now explained in detail. Artist rather like to be more isolated since they can entirely concentrate on their art, be more creative and develop ‘the self (Bain, 2004), (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014). This is best possible behind closed studio doors, being invisible and anonymous rather than seeking for interaction with others. The studio provides protection especially if the visual artist does not feel prepared for publicising his/her artwork leaving the option of showing their artistic skills when perceived as appropriate (Bain, 2004). It is a place where interactions of creativity, emotional and physical engagement and learning happen. Further, unique techniques and styles which define a visual artists’ identity and help him/her to be seen in the art world are developed. This refers to studio-based learning and production where everything is about observation, critical engagement, self-validation, and self-reflection. In other words, the studio is important for visual artists in constructing their artistic identity and brand. (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014)

On the one hand, the studio provides isolation, on the other hand, it is used for ‘invisible’ socialization. At times, artists need guidance regarding choices besides their studio-based learning and making process. These are mostly oriented by an imagined audience or a historical and social group of painters to whom the artist is attached to. The studio is both separate and not - a place for creating artworks as well as strategies for finding one’s way in the far-reaching art world. (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014)

Besides the art studio, social space is needed to attain effective brand construction. A visual artists’ brand is rather about the artist and his/her career than individual works and relies on the continuous redefinition and creation of ‘in-between spaces’. That is what the art studio, a place of isolation and self-validation, combined with the social and visible art scene is meant.

In other words, a visual artists’ brand emerges within ‘mixed spaces’ (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014) . The art studio is eminently suitable for the development of artistic knowledge and skills, whereas the social space, e.g., a visual artist’s neighbourhood is useful for establishing artistic reputation by participating in community art festivals or open studio events (Bain, 2004), (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014).

According to a study of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, visual artists - in particular - tend to have a strong commitment being self-employed (Markusen & Schröck, 2006). Over time the number of recruitments increased whereas the number of earnings and working time per artists decreased. This lead to an unbalanced growth of the artistic labor market and an opportunity for consumers and employers as there is a wide variety of artists trying to offer their artworks. Further, visual artists whose skills and talents are currently not in demand are struggling to make a living by producing artworks (Menger, 2001). Indeed, most visual artists’ low earnings from arts-related occupations force them to hold a second job which is their primary source of income (Rengers & Madden, 2000). Nevertheless, the statistical surveys regarding visual artists’ annual income need to be improved and revised as one must consider that many studies do not entirely focus on professional visual artists. By not distinguishing amateurs from professional visual artists, the calculated outcomes are statistically biased. (Bauer, Viola, & Strauss, 2011)


Today, it is an ease for consumers to buy art directly and without intermediaries. Two of the main reasons is the continuous growth of the global art market as well as artists becoming more proficient in marketing their brand (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014). The present paper attempts to understand the scope of the art market, especially the visual art market.

Artists work in linked markets or so-called “hybrid markets” which include opportunities for non-profit, informal, commercial, public and art markets. These markets bear a close relation to each other and form the following cycle: As soon as the non-profit and informal sector feeds the commercial sector with art forms, new ideas, and talent, financial resources are made available by people who engage in these areas providing a significant development and research function. Further, art markets benefit from the public sector since it provides needed resources - direct or indirect - to artists. Given these resources, many artists can develop new art forms and artistic skills leading to artistic activity that influences non- profit, informai, commercial and public markets and, therefore, finish the cycle. (Jackson, 2004) Nevertheless, according to Mietzner and Kamprath (2013), there still needs to be more empirical evidence of correlations among the non-profit, informal, commercial, public and art markets.

What makes the visual art market unique is the fact that artworks can be copied but not reproduced. Further, artworks are not only lovely to look at but also act as financial assets and a store of wealth (Throsby, 1994). This leads to the conventional interpretation of the visual art market as being all about money, investments and value (Schroeder, 2005). Despite this, the visual art market contains a diversity of support - private as well as public - and involves critics who can decide whether an artwork is ‘good’ or not (Butler, 2000). It is quite often that art dealers or gallery owners act as monopolists in dealing with visual artists and buyers (Throsby, 1994).

Generally, the visual art market is divided into three linked submarkets: Starting at the lowest level, or so-called ‘primary’ level, the market is decentralized and the competition widespread. At this submarket, individual visual artists provide artworks to private buyers, galleries, exhibitions and local art fairs. At the ‘secondary’ level, visual artists, public and private collectors as well as art dealers circulate artworks by established visual artists - those who managed to overcome the ‘primary’ level - and by deceased but still recognized visual artists. The markets in which this interaction is taking place is located in important cities such as London, Paris and New York. At the highest level of these linked submarkets, the most important role is played by the major auction houses, where artworks of prestigious visual artists are traded at barely affordable prices. (Throsby, 1994)

The visual art market needs to be explained further. This is possible by presenting the visual art market as a mechanical network, the so-called ‘art machine’ (Rodner & Thomson, 2013). The ‘art machine’ acts as an intertwining branding mechanism consisting of several cogs such as art schools, auction houses, galleries and dealers, collectors, fairs and art events, art critics and museums. It is a structure where tastemakers build a brand for visual artists while adding brand qualities of the mentioned cogs and, therefore, create value in the visual arts. Further, insiders need to work closely with each other to successfully create a reputation, name, cultural status and market for the visual artist and his/her artworks. (Rodner & Kerrigan, 2014), (Rodner & Thomson, 2013)

However, the ‘art machine’ does not ensure success since this is determined by financial, political, social, geographical factors, taste- variations, faults, chances and most importantly by the operating skills of the various agents and the visual artist’s input (Rodner & Thomson, 2013). In short, the ‘art machine’ is a system of co-branding, irreplaceable for success and a mechanism of validation for visual artists.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: The art machine. (Rodner & Thomson, 2013)

The ‘art machine’ consists of seven stages which the visual artist has to go through (see Figure 2). The further he/she gets, the more his/her reputation and financial worth increases. Stage I is about the art school in which the visual artist starts his/her journey and refines creative talent with the support of art educators. Most visual artists want to be appreciated by a wider audience after successfully finishing the arts education. The artworks of visual artists can be best interpreted by galleries or dealers (Stage II) as well as by critics (Stage III) since both cogs act as key components leading to further validation. On the one hand, the artworks will be then given a monetary value by the auction houses (Stage IV) and on the other hand, a symbolic value by art fairs and events (Stage VI). What connects these two previous cogs is the art collector (Stage V) whose cultural and social reputation depends on the quality of artworks being purchased and collected. Finally, the highlight of the ‘art machine’ consists of the museum (Stage VII) where the indisputable ‘seal of approval’ is given to the visual artist and his/her artwork. (Rodner & Thomson, 2013)

All things considered, the visual art scene is a space of desire, expectation, belief and hope - everything a visual artist can achieve or not in engaging within the visual art market. Further, by building their own platform consisting of formal and informal networks as well as creative strategies visual artists develop unique entrepreneurial skills helping them to gain required recognition and reputation for their artworks and themselves. (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014)

Today, visual artists do not only engage in self-promotion by working in the studio, but also by creating social media networks or personal blogs. In other words, the physical space of an art studio is transformed into a virtual art studio - including web pages, social media, and blogs - where the audience can engage with the visual artist’s space and artworks (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014). This form of self-branding will be discussed in detail in the next chapter to spread awareness and encourage an understanding therefor.


As pointed out in Section 2.2 and according to Shepherd (2005), self-branding is ‘an attention-getting device, and is frequently sold as the key to helping the aspiring professional to achieve competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace’. Further, it can be used in various ways regardless of whether in a business or arts context building a bridge between two traditionally different worlds.

Especially in online marketing self-branding has continued to grow to provide a possibility for personal brands to use platforms for interactive, global and commercial communication such as blogs, websites and social media to influence an audience. Online media is a consumer-centric space where individuals can choose any subject they are interested in and operates as a marketing possibility to deliver and sell a personal brand through several online sites. (Khamis, Ang, & Welling, 2017) However, despite the importance of self-branding current marketing research fails to recognize the development of self-branding into a form of ‘digital work’ (Gandini, 2016).

In an era of online media, fan pages, social media updates, and tweets are part of the branding process and can, therefore, communicate the brand to audiences effectively. Moreover, participation leads to a strengthened brand and allows the audience to identify with it and become involved. Some important aspects of branding in social media have to be followed to ensure a successful brand, e.g., building a membership, encouraging the communication of brand values and the audience to promote the brand, testing if the brand is understood correctly by the audience and building awareness of the brand. (Yan, 2011)

By trying to meet the needs of the consumers and motivate them a strong brand relationship can be built making a brand resistant to critical competitive feedback. Further, brand relationships include an emotional commitment of consumers who can make self­connections with a brand they feel related to. Creating a special brand relationship can be challenging since they are characterized by close, frequent and cherished interactions. Both, consumer and brand, have to engage in intimate behaviors wherefore social media is the ideal platform for developing such closeness due to its interactivity. (Turri, Smith, & Kemp, 2013) Since one-on-one relationships, between customer and brand, are not always easy to manage, brand communities are becoming more prevalent and serve as a solution. One of the reasons most consumers want to be part of brand communities is their desire to identify with the brand and others. Brand communities are made up of members as well as relationships and do not only provide support to consumers but also eternalize the culture and history of a brand.

(Laroche, Habibi, Richard, & Sankaranarayanan, 2012), (Laroche, Habibi, & Richard, 2013) Further, the content shared in brand communities is created by community members through interaction in social media and is a collection of expertise on individual topics increasing the members’ value and capital of knowledge (Laroche, Habibi, Richard, & Sankaranarayanan, 2012).

Before going into detail about how visual artists can use social media to achieve financial and artistic success, a required differentiation and explanation of social network sites versus social media needs to be addressed since both notations are easily confused with each other.

Social network sites are web-based services allowing individuals to view and exchange connections and construct a profile - public or semi-public. Although these sites are called social network sites, it is not the primary goal or practice (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). Personal profiles can contain any information, e.g., photos, audio files, and videos (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Social network sites change over time as the closed relationships do. These changes, if big enough, could affect one’s social capital as access to existing social resources gets lost (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007).

In contrast to social network sites, social media is ‘the environment in which social networking takes place has altered the way in which consumers gather information and make buying decisions’ (Paquette, 2013). Social media generates personal information profiles where friends and colleagues can be invited to engage with each other (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Further, it is used to share opinions and knowledge - basically, a concept created to explore it together (Laroche, Habibi, Richard, & Sankaranarayanan, 2012). The role of social media is to form an environment supporting and nourishing the linkage between brand and customer (Kang, Lee, Lee, & Choi, 2007).

Social media embodies a new trend in online space and can be seen as a digital evolution (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). It is not only an environment for networking, but it is also the 21st-century method of statement allowing its users to express ideas, beliefs, and manners in a new and openminded way and giving the opportunity to create a sense of community. Social media has various styles of platforms such as social networks, blogs, and microblogs. (Saravanakumar & Lakshmi, 2012)

To a great extent, social media is managed and utilized as shop window being visible all day. If done right, those who try establishing social media presence gain reputational capital which leads to job opportunities and revenues across the social media network (Gandini, 2016).

Acquiring reputation is perceived as one of the most important aims to achieve across the digital and freelance economy besides loyalty and value co-creation. Indeed, self-branding through social media is mainly about collaboration, networking, and interaction rather than competition. Therefore, an understanding and identification of self-branding being a process of achieving social capital and reputation connecting offline and online domains need to be embraced. (Gandini, 2016)

Many of the people who use online marketing - social media in particular - and consequently gain social capital, are called freelancers. They see themselves as créatives, entrepreneurs, and innovators rather than individuals who try to exploit the growing popularity of social media (Gandini, 2016). According to Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992), social capital is defined as a resource belonging to an individual or group by strong social networks of mutual recognition. The bigger the social capital, the higher the commitment to a community and the more likely it is for an individual to benefit from resources of other members within the social network (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007).

However, it is a common assumption that the social media workstyle is nothing more than a ‘dream job’ and ‘labor of love’. One possible reason could be the external first impression which social media personalities make by praising creative freedom and representing fun. Such prejudices dissimulate the less comfortable aspects of this work including the demands for self­branding labor, emotional labor, and continuous entrepreneurial labor (Duffy & Wissinger, 2017). The presence of social media networks has to be maintained continuously since this is crucial for the searchability and credibility (Gandini, 2016). Further, content creators need to internalize a particular emotion like humble gratitude to inspire the desired feeling in another (Hochschild, 1983).

In light of all these, it would be a waste of time, effort and opportunity if one is doing little to nothing understanding and interacting with his/her audience. Since there exists no rule book and the misuse of social media and blogs rarely depends on the platforms, the most important factor is one’s willingness to succeed. (Yan, 2011)


The present paper attempts to crystallize some social media tools which influence the brand building process by visual artists. The used term social media refers to the abovementioned explanation and observation. Further, it is necessary to clarify two terms used in this chapter studio practice and virtual studio practice. Studio practice refers to a face-to-face experience in physical, creative spaces, whereas virtual studio practice includes social media and other technological applications into virtual studio practices. (Budge, 2013)

Today using a virtual studio is commonplace for visual artists since social media and new technologies made it possible to share artworks through online relationships. Visual artists who seek companionship typically choose to work collaborati vely with others whereas some prefer working alone in their studios. Some visual artists even choose between those two depending on circumstances and mood (Budge, 2013). Social media offers a way of combining the ‘gregarious animals’ with the ‘lone wolves’ providing interaction and participation.

Unlike the previous and outdated version of Internet technology compound of non­interactive, static individual websites, visual artists today can enhance and share their creative practices through social media (Budge, 2013). According to Papacharissi (2006), the Internet has developed into social relations and networks. Moreover, social media used as virtual studio practices provides five specific benefits. First, social media tools add a social dimension to the artistic work and enhance chances of receiving feedback, clarifying aesthetic decisions, art materials, and tool usage. In other words, social media tools facilitate the visual communication beyond face-to-face networks and include interactions with people from different practical backgrounds and experience leading to a reduction of isolation. Second, by using social media tools as virtual studio practice, additional visual stimulation is given. This is important for visual artists as their artworks depend on inspiration and creative ideas. Third, the opportunity of combining technology with studio practice broadens the possibility of understanding visual artists’ practices on a global level since awareness is not geographical limited. Fourth, social media encourages collaborations between visual artists regardless of whether they live in the same country or not. The final and fifth benefit of social media tools is about motivation and related to the four previous ones - visual stimulation, social dimension, collaboration and understanding of visual artists’ practices. As doubt is a constant companion of creative people, it can be encouraging to witness the artworks and doubts of other visual artists reducing the feeling of loneliness and motivating visual artists to maintain their artistic practice. (Budge, 2013)

For the purpose of this paper, four specific social media tools should be mentioned: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Blogs. These tools allow visual artists to interact with others and influence their brand building process.


Facebook was established in 2004, allowing users to customize their profiles and to strengthen existing relationships with friends and family rather than meeting new people (Boyd & Ellison, 2008), (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). This social media tool allows its users to view each other’s profile and join groups based on mutual interests (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). As Rainie et al. (2012) indicate, younger adults aged between 18 years to 29 years dominate the social media tool Facebook trying to create a different or better version of themselves. Further, it consists of heavy usage patterns and technological capacities which bypass online and offline connections (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007).

Related to visual artists, Facebook is an opportunity for self-promotion and interact with fans. Showing talent, engage with fans and publish content about one’s artworks - in a structured manner - are some of the opportunities Facebook offers. What visual artists must consider is that Facebook is a social media tool meaning it is ah about networking rather than selling artworks.

Instagram is a mobile visual based application with more than 150 million users - young adults aged between 18 years to 29 years - and has quickly emerged since its launch in 2010. Users can post pictures and videos, add captions and hashtags and use symbols to describe, tag or mention other Instagram users. The posted photos and videos are mostly viewed on a core page showing the latest published content by ah followers (Rainie, Brenner, & Purcell, 2012), (Hu, Manikonda, & Kambhampati, 2014). Simply put, Instagram uses participatory sensing systems allowing people information about the environment and circumstances in which they are at every moment (Silva, Vaz de Melo, Almeida, Salles, & Loureiro, 2013).

Other than Facebook, Instagram provides visual stimulation and rarely contains texts - if used they have a subsidiary contextual or descriptive function. Instagram acts similarly as Twitter since their users have an account for following or being followed. Especially visual artists have adopted Instagram with excitement and have become enthusiastic users. As Budge (2013) mentions, as an artist T was drawn to the beautiful visual potential of Instagram due to the range of interesting photographic lenses it allows users to access through a simple smartphone application’. Besides, Instagram can be used for communicating, documenting and developing artistic practice. Through the abovementioned hashtags, visual artists can interact and connect with specific interests, techniques, and styles motivating and inspiring them. As a result, most visual artists changed over to this favorite social media tool receiving feedback and communication from a broader audience. In other words, Instagram is a natural platform for giving an insight into virtual studio practices. (Budge, 2013)

According to Marcus (2015), Instagram is less focused on relational identity and more focused on personal identity since it primarily serves for self-promotion. Keeping this in mind, famous visual artists using Instagram have the potential to reach their followers in an extent similar in size to that of television networks - a mass audience (Marwick, 2015). Speaking of famous visual artists using Instagram, this paper is aiming to give two examples - kelogsloops and tomaszmro.

Hieu Nguyen alias kelogsloops is an Australian visual artist specialized in watercolor and digital paintings. His drawing style is a mixture of abstraction, surrealism, and realism - a clash of (mostly) female portraiture and dreamscapes. He operates a personal online store, exhibits in galleries and uses social media like Instagram and Facebook for making his artworks known worldwide (Nguyen, n.d.). Due to his efforts in social media, he has already got 811k Instagram followers and 136,5k Facebook followers.

Tomasz Mrozkiewicz alias tomaszmro is a Polish visual artist and illustrator specialized in working with acrylic, pens, inks and digital mediums like Adobe Photoshop. He creates portraits with different atmospheres inspired by graphic design using Instagram and Facebook to promote his artworks (Mrozkiewicz, n.d.). Thanks to his online network he has got 238k Instagram followers, 6,5k Facebook followers and already sold some of his artistic works to private collectors.

What acts as a recognizable pattern is that both visual artists have a greater follower base on Instagram than on Facebook, which proves that Instagram is the more suitable platform for artists and offers access to a broader audience.

Twitter is a microblogging service established in 2006 and has gained in popularity during the past. As a short explanation, microblogging offers users to communicate worldwide and in real time what they think or feel (Schedi, 2010). However, updates are limited in size and can only contain 140 characters what makes it easy to handle and requires less time. Twitter can further be used to promote new blog posts, keep in touch with the audience, announce events or keep the readers informed about one’s thoughts. (Saravanakumar & Lakshmi, 2012)

Most people who use Twitter are aged between 18 years and 29 years (Rainie, Brenner, & Purcell, 2012) and keep a short profile about themselves including name, location, web page, biography, number of messages (called tweets) and followers. Unlike on Facebook and Instagram users can follow any other one and those being followed do not need to follow back (Kwak, Lee, Park, & Moon, 2010). Regarding the tweets, Twitter users can post them directly an indirect. Direct messages are personally addressed to a specific person, whereas indirect messages are meant for anyone interested. Nevertheless, both kinds of messages are public. (Huberman, Romero, & Wu, 2008)

Since Twitter has been enhanced and is accessible through one’s phone, this social media tool became extremely portable making it easier to use for visual artists. Although it is primarily a text-based application, it allows links to videos, photos, other images and sources such as magazine articles, newspaper, blog posts and other digital links. As mentioned, Twitter became portable which means that visual artists use it for documenting practice in color, materials or composition, seek feedback from others and talk about art related topics. For visual artists using the social media tool Twitter as virtual studio practice, this is the easiest and quickest way of communicating with other visual artists across the world. The use of hashtags provides an uncomplicated search of others with mutual interests organized into a list called back channels to simplify repeated searching. (Budge, 2013)


Besides the abovementioned social media tools Facebook, Instagram and Twitter another possibility to communicate and interact with others is creating a personal blog using a social approach to support creativity in context with environmental, community and ethical awareness (Budge, 2012).

According to Miller and Sheperd (2009), specific affordances and configurations make the blog different from other social media tools; further blogs are interactive, frequently updated and useful in creating viral marketing (Rentschler, Bridson, & Evans, 2014). They are usually used more like diaries (Garden, 2011), provide the possibility of communicating with others through comments (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), and allow customer to react on issues concerning their interests (Hsu & Tsou, 2011). The blogger can publish short articles, so-called posts, add comment sections, blogrolls as well as subscriptions, and can be integrated with almost every platform and tool (Saravanakumar & Lakshmi, 2012). Some researchers would, therefore, claim that blogging replaces personal websites (Klamma, Cao, & Spaniol, 2007).

As blogs gained popularity in being a useful communication and knowledge sharing tool, they support a constant learning environment (Chai & Kim, 2010). Further, bloggers can attach any information or knowledge to their blog. The more attention an issue attracts, the more significant the influence of society. Despite the cultural and political influences which could be achieved, it takes much effort to start and actively maintain a blog - it takes one who wants to upload content regularly, called blogger, and blog readers who want to read and interact with it. (Hsu & Lin, 2007)

Blogs have different effects on customers and can vary with involvement. Consumers who perceive the shared content as exciting and informative grapple with it more intensely. The way the customers interact with the content can be changed by relevance (Hsu & Tsou, 2011). Therefore, Hsu and Tsou (2011) suggest building interactive blogging activities, providing precious information, inviting other bloggers or experts to share knowledge and analyzing consumers’ demands in continuously updating the blog’s content. Such self-branding is known as ‘aesthetic entrepreneurialism’ and creates the blogger into a self-regulating and self­inventing subject (Elias, Gill, & Scharff, 2017).

In participating in a social system, people identify with a defined role they adopt. Blogging creates a new form of community, seeing themselves as members of a group and treat others as ‘kindred spirits’. Further people who participate in a group are motivated to help each other and create enjoyment and fun. Besides, some benefits in sharing knowledge and interests within an online community are expected relationships, increased reputation and trust leading to a more frequent blogging activity. (Hsu & Lin, 2007)

Moreover, alongside information sharing credibility of blog content plays an essential role as they determine present and future customer experiences. Bloggers should, therefore, provide trustworthy, credible and поп-biased information that requires minimum effort to search and check. (Hsu & Tsou, 2011)

Related to visual artists, blogs offer the possibility for documenting practice as well as getting in touch with other artists and designers. Further, it is a platform for reflecting and promoting one’s own practice and artworks of other artists who may had an inspiring impact. Being part of an online blogging community can be a positive and enriching experience for visual artists. (Budge, 2013)

Blogging gives a sense of community via references and comments on supporting visual artists seeking feedback on their artworks or products they use. Examples approving the importance of supporting each other in creative development such as the sharing of practice and the support of artworks of other visual artists are common and strong characteristics of blogs and bloggers in the online art community. Besides, blogging promotes values - which are not market-driven - and individualism. (Budge, 2012)

As artworks need to be shared to broaden the audience, this is mostly done through ‘friends’. However, as people usually invite many friends to their online profiles and blogging space to let them participate in it, art curators use this list to decide whether the content is popular or not. If visual artists think of online friends as those whom they want to build a business related to rather than considering them as ‘real friends’, they could probably refocus on what an online friendship means and how social media tools work. In other words, friends made online are useful in simplifying and enabling the process of access control online. (Hogan, 2010)

Overall, the possibility to communicate through social media opens up new perspectives and opportunity in the art world and encourages visual artists in creating content - artworks. Further, connecting the studio with social media creates access for the audience, customers, and artists to engage with the visual artist and his/her artworks. (Budge, 2013)


As it is difficult for visual artists to get the funding they need for achieving some financial success, one additional approach in attracting attention through online marketing, besides social media, is crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding belongs to crowdsourcing meaning that the early stage of financing a product/ idea is outsourced to the public and possible customers instead of financial institutions, friends or family. Over the time, crowdfunding has developed to a popular method of financing companies and their creative projects, which will be produced when the crowdfunding has been successful, and the entrepreneurial goal achieved. (Qiu, 2013)

Besides Patreon and IndieGoGo, Kickstarter is the most known crowdfunding website where people with creative ideas can start a campaign to collect the required money. By starting a campaign, a deadline and funding goal has to be defined so that others can transfer money and receive some rewards in return, e.g., from being involved in the product’s design through to getting acknowledgment for participating. Kickstarter integrated social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook on its website to gain a broader audience. However, Twitter being public is more suitable to increase the popularity of this crowdfunding website since Facebook is only restricted to the user’s friends and therefore leads to few results. (Etter, Grossglauser, & Thiran, 2013)

Not only does Kickstarter operate in marketing through social media and the internet, but also through newsletters and personal contacts eg friends. A project on Kickstarter can be featured various times on the front page which is actively used for advertising of projects and even can be mentioned in hobby magazines or media if innovative enough. In using social media Kickstarter informs the consumer about the existence of new projects and further motivate them in participating to invest. Project updates before and after the end of a funding campaign can have an indirect advertising effect on investors to remind them in supporting the implementation of a project. (Qiu, 2013)

As mentioned above, investors receive some rewards for supporting creators such as equity returns or physical objects. Reward-based crowdfunding rests upon an ‘all or nothing’ approach meaning that the investors’ money can only be collected if the goal of the project is reached before the given deadline. To decide whether a project is worth investing in or not, investors take their time to read up about relevant information regarding the project ‘s background, aim and implementation. Most information is divided into soft and hard information whereas the latter refers to the objective and transparent information description (drafts, videos pictures, product parameters). Soft information includes text information and has no apparent structure. (Liu & Liu, 2016)

Projects being financially supported on Kickstarter are seen as separate brands available for a given time. At the start of a campaign, it is common that only the creator and close associates are aware of the project and gradually get the support of others. (Qiu, 2013)

Given the above, crowdfunding is an excellent opportunity for a visual artist to get financial support and achieving an additional income. Further, crowdfunding websites like Patreon, IndieGoGo, and Kickstarter enable investors to feel creatively affiliated, to get in touch with visual artists and to meet them face-to-face. (Chohan, 2017)

Although visual artists can gain from crowdfunding as it is an innovative way of raising money, Wells (2013) claims there are some legal risks which need to be considered, e.g., intellectual property issues, ownership rights and perk obligations. The publication of intellectual property can effect its legal status significantly and may even involve a patent litigation dispute. As kickstarter users have the possibility to comment on the product and suggest improvements or alterations on features, the project creator faces the risk of litigating the ownership. Further, a project creator who promises rewards and is not able to fulfill these, for whatever reason, may face legal liability and a damaged reputation. (Wells, 2013) Therefore, the use of crowdfunding web pages should be thoroughly rethought.


Although online marketing covers an extensive area of self-branding, it is essential to include offline marketing in the branding process as it expands existing customer relationships - often reached through social media - and the audience. Thus, offline marketing acts as an additional branding method including museums, galleries, other exhibit spaces, arts networks, and sponsorships.

Artists build their career upon visibility by participating in the visual art world through advertising campaigns, offline media, and art displays. Staying invisible and unnamed is accompanied by sacrificing potential artistic career success. Most visual artists seek exposure, new ideas and formats which allow them to arrive on the art scene since recognition by the public are not given to every visual artist. However, the visibility of visual artists depends on attending social events in the art scene and exhibition openings as a photograph of the visual artist is rarely hung with his/her artworks. Staying in touch with the audience, peers and gallery curators is essential in making sales, securing future exhibition opportunities and a visual artist’s presence in the art scene. (Bain, 2004)


Visual artists who are known for being active in the art scene are usually involved in gallery boards and visual artists’ collective, frequently have a group or solo show and experience in curating. Further, art critics and art gallery owners are familiar with the artworks of an active visual artist. As the art world is very competitive regarding exhibition opportunities and funding, visual artists need to expend effort to create a presence. (Bain, 2004)

Despite a visual artist’s studio, art museums and art galleries are places where art is made visible (Joy, 1996). Nevertheless, Rodner and Thomson (2013) claim that once artwork is displayed in an art museum, the branding process moves no further. In other words, artworks of an unvisited art museum are fossils.

Art museums which are organization-centered collect and exhibit artworks (Fiilis & Rentschler, 2005) and extend their traditional programming with high quality touring exhibitions to attract various audiences and build brand equity as well as cultural capital for long-term sustainability. The art museum has their collection of artworks - all representing the museum’s brand - in combination with a unique exhibition programme as sub-brand (Rentschler, Bridson, & Evans, 2014).

The sub-brand can influence the perceptions of an audience and appeals to the leading brand, the art museum. Every sub-brand/exhibition has a name which distinguishes it from other exhibitions (Rentschler, Bridson, & Evans, 2014). This is, because the art market today is very competitive in achieving ambitions (Rentschler & Geursen, 1999). Therefore, art museums need to differentiate from others by high-quality exhibitions and renovation programmes, e.g., additional park, new entrance, shop, and café (Rentschler, Bridson, & Evans, 2014).

Speaking of differentiation, one new approach in reshaping exhibitions and attracting various audiences is the ‘blockbuster’. Blockbuster exhibitions vary in appeal and size and create a pathway to visual artists for people who would not usually visit an art museum (Balloffet, Courvoisier, & Lagier, 2014), (Berryman, 2013) and changing prejudices of art museums being a grave for artworks. More importantly, these exhibitions combine the museum’s brand with the visual artist’s brand and are, therefore, unique in the experience rather than the package itself. Blockbusters - being sub-brands of the art museum - are supposed to address a broader audience leading to new relationship building, different perceptions and loyalty through art lovers. The reason for implementing blockbuster exhibitions is the need for linking visual artists with the art museum providing authenticity (with stakeholders). (Rentschler, Bridson, & Evans, 2014)

Considering a curator’s point of view, the blockbusters and the renovations, art experience goes far beyond concepts of value and has a deeper meaning including the pleasure of beauty, community building and social connection (Harrison, 2009). Speaking of a curator’s opinion regarding art museums, the purpose of visiting them is to experience and learn about art because otherwise, an art museum would be meaningless (Joy & Sherry, 2003).

One characteristic of artworks is their identification by place meaning that an artwork associated with a particular art museum (or art gallery) could be bad for the reputation of visual artists depending on the location of an exhibition. Further, this may give visual artists or their artworks a status of ‘alternative’, ‘acceptance, ‘arrival’ or ‘radical’. On the other hand, the difficulty in separating the artwork from the location could be an opportunity for branding and strength the market positioning. (Butler, 2000)

To conclude, art museums are a possibility to preserve the past and present in containing and showing artworks which have already received respect and approval (Joy, 1996). Nonetheless, the art museum remains a powerful institution of being a criterion for beautiful artworks considered as necessary in the art world (Joy & Sherry, 2003).

Despite displaying artworks in art museums, galleries are also beneficial in promoting a visual artist’s work.

Art dealers are tastemakers by ‘merely offering the public what it wants’ (Chong, 2010) and transforming the visual artist’s talent into commercial success (Rodner & Thomson, 2013). As it may seem an easy economic transaction, it is very complex and problematic since the relationship between the art dealer and the visual artist involves a contract stating that the visual artist has to prepare artworks for periodic gallery shows whereas the art dealer has to promote the visual artist’s artwork to critics, collectors and curators - the gross revenue is mostly divided by half. Moreover, the contract made has no defined duration and can, therefore, be annulled if the visual artist’s artworks appear less satisfying or the art dealer’s style in promoting does not appeal to the visual artist. (Caves, 2003)

According to Meyer and Even (1998), gallery owners are a visual artist’s main business partners as they act as mediators and interpreters of selecting artworks being presented in their gallery and changing them into products. By choosing a visual artist’s work, most gallery owners perceive their personal and subjective persuasion as well as the visual artist’s style as most important factors. Further, Meyer and Even claim that the key success factors of a visual artist’s career are - organized by importance - connections, good luck, a strategic approach, ambition, proficiency, talent, favorable critical response, and education. (Meyer & Even, 1998)

With every artwork being sold, the reputation and credibility of a visual artist increases. The more international the visual artist is represented in galleries, the higher is the value of his/her artworks. Without exhibiting their artworks, visual artists’ works cannot be evaluated and collected by institutions or individuals. Therefore, art galleries are a form of an elaborated system including circulation, creation, and consumption of art. Participants in this circle are curators, art critics, artists, art dealers, art banks, art brokers, corporations and art museums. (Joy, 1996)

McCracken (1988) defines the visual artist as central to art galleries which distribute and frame worldviews and new ideas in a broader social context. Like museums, art galleries are a social instrument but playing a more ephemeral role in creating art history and institutionalize art (Joy, 1996). Moreover, they emphasize the importance of techniques and skills necessary to create beautiful artworks. Most art galleries hold a semi-permanent collection of artworks although they are often on sale. Unlike museums, art galleries cover a more detailed segmentation in commercial art galleries, parallel art galleries, corporate art galleries and public art galleries. (Joy, 1996)

For commercial art galleries the visual artist and his/her artworks are in focus. As the notation suggests do commercial galleries pay more attention to the sale and are seen as small businesses consisting of an owner and (perhaps) an assistant. Like traditional museums, commercial art galleries act as a neutral and quiet place where the focus is on the object rather than the context. (Joy, 1996)

Parallel art galleries support upcoming or unknown visual artists in providing space for their artworks since being seen is the beginning of gaining a reputation in the art world. Compared with commercial art galleries, parallel art galleries do not have an own collection or perceive the sale important as their primary objective is to spread the art. Parallel art galleries are mostly funded by the government, volunteer work, and private fund-raising efforts. The artworks published in parallel art galleries show political and controversial art rather than a favorite or specific style as those art galleries operate as research centers. Parallel art galleries are usually owned by artists and are more risk-taking in their efforts encouraging visibility for a visual artist’s work which may be exhibited in a commercial space. By having funding limitations, the facilities of parallel art galleries are not as attractive as commercial art galleries or museums, but by being located near other parallel art galleries, these spaces are pretty good linked among each other. As already mentioned, parallel art galleries operate as research centers providing resources to the public and focusing on the visual artist. (Joy, 1996)

Corporations own corporate art galleries, are guided by art curators and exhibit from curated art and their art collections. Although selling artworks is the primary focus, the sales negotiations take place outside the purview of the corporate art gallery. (Joy, 1996)

Unlike the abovementioned art galleries, public art galleries offer most of the exhibits for free and are associated with public libraries or community centers (Joy, 1996).

Besides art museums and art galleries, visual artists often try to find alternative and complementary strategies to avoid gallery systems. Pop-up galleries offer visual artists to create market space or themselves as they do not need to share their earnings and control of their artworks. (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014) Further every form of exhibition is a presentation of the self regardless where it takes place as some artworks of unknown visual artists are photographs exhibited in someone else’s living area (Hogan, 2010).


As the art world is very competitive, support networks - having a cooperative and pro­art perspective - provide the necessary stability and opportunities for visual artists in political development, stressful situations and knowledge transfer (Butler, 2000). Besides, additional support from a visual artist’s environment is not only crucial in the early stages of his/her artistic career but also throughout the development of self-employment (Hausmann, 2010).

Support networks include community-based art activities taking place in a group of creative people with mutual interests and values based on identity and location. These networks are considered being a contact point for improvement and empowerment for visual artists and other artistically talented people, divided into four different types - artist cooperatives, art incubators, ethnic-specific art spaces and community art or cultural centers - located in suburban and central city locations. Artist cooperatives are art spaces owned and managed together by artists, whereas art incubators offer office space for art organizations or artists as well as administrative, low-cost and professional assistance and exhibition space. Ethnic- specific artspaces provide room for displaying art, history, and culture of various ethnic groups acting, therefore, as multidisciplinary as community art or cultural centers which typically focus on art participation and consumption for nearby artists. (Grodach, 2011)

Some art spaces are forced by the city to be situated in areas where it is difficult to generate interest in commercial activity since vacant buildings need to be filled rather than supporting artistic development. Nevertheless, those art spaces offer guidance for unknown visual artists, visual art students and those who do not have any experience in exhibiting and representing their artworks. Further, art spaces strengthen their role as art incubators by creating opportunities for visual artists’ career development, collecting regional artistic talent and being a place for social interaction. Indeed, arts networks like these provide a broader representation for visual artists’ works than achieved through art galleries and additionally feature regional visual artists more frequently than art museums. (Grodach, 2011)

Speaking of art incubators, they support visual artists collectively and individually by offering enhanced autonomy and security to create their artworks while receiving opportunities for networking and interacting within the regional art scene. Therefore, art incubators are seen as safety net and springboard for visual artists establishing their artistic career and, most importantly, are a potential exhibiting space for visual artists. By creating work-related advantages and serving as a contact point in the regional art scene, those art incubators simplify interaction and, further, integrate art gallery owners, art collectors, artists, art museum curators and others in participating at lectures, workshops, studio tours and (guest-curated) exhibitions. Even though art incubators have an essential artistic function, they are not adapted for expanding the career options of visual artists and serve as additional support. (Grodach, 2011)

As mentioned above, art spaces are usually situated in suburban or central city locations being an integral part of the neighborhood and identifying the revitalization of these places as one of the most critical roles. The active displaying and sale of regional visual artists’ works provide financial support for unknown and emerging artists and foster artistic capacity as well as build close ties and community relations. However, through a stable support system, which nurtures and retains talented visual artists, the local audience does not have to consume and appreciate artworks imported from elsewhere and can enjoy artistic talent in their neighborhood. (Grodach, 2011)

Sponsorships including public art bodies, economic surpluses, and profits of art organizations, private donations, commercial profits, corporate sponsorships and endowments provide another source of supporting and funding visual artists (Butler, 2000).

With the financial support by fellowships, governmental grants, commissions and corporate sponsorships visual artists and art organizations are encouraged in being more business oriented since some form of evaluation are defined to satisfy business, government and corporate outcomes. What needs to be avoided and is known as a delicate issue is the visual artists’ sensibility of being forced to comply with a corporatist model as this would make him/her unmotivated in creating artworks. (Harrison, 2009)

Although funding plays an essential role as there are various forms of sponsorships available such as grants, project and rent subsidies, awards and studio assistance; many visual artists do not access these (Hausmann, 2010). Besides that, some innovative forms of resourcing the art scene even include support in marketing and management (Butler, 2000). The reason why only a few visual artists benefit from sponsorships is the fixed perspective of government funding as it only includes the rational perspective which assumes predominantly, utilitarian, short-term and functional gain. Sponsorships like these need to change their perceptions and take into account extended conceptualizations of outcomes, symbolic messages and alternative marketing based methods in evaluating art. By allowing the visual artists to create artworks without financial pressure and guidelines, the focus is on the product and less on customers needs and social conditions. As a result, the visual artist can apply his/her artistic skills and knowledge efficiently and communicate with his/her audience directly rather than framing them as propositional statements. (Harrison, 2009)

Given the above, there are various ways of brand building through online marketing and offline marketing. Supporting visual artists in their career and self-fulfillment is most likely successful by the involvement of arts networks and sponsorships. However, new and creative approaches need to be considered in evaluating art outside of measures exclusively based on economics and consumption (Harrison, 2009) so that visual artists are not limited in their artistic talent, skills, and knowledge.



As the art market is very competitive and visual artists want their artworks to be recognized and appreciated (Muniz, Norris, & Fine, 2014), they have to be independent and confident in promoting their artistic skills which is only possible if arts education integrates economic knowledge and business skills into art curricula to support visual artists in establishing themselves. This can be achieved through community-based ATPD programs - known as context-based programs - and alternative methods including mentorships, team projects as well as experimental learning creating multidimensional outcomes and opportunities (Bauer, Viola, & Strauss, 2011), (Bonin-Rodriguez, 2012), (Essig, 2013).

Further, visual artists who are more interested in building a brand through business knowledge than in self-expression are more likely to succeed in a competitive art market.

However, visual artists do not only engage in self-promotion by participating in arts curricula and working in the studio (Sjöholm & Pasquinelli, 2014). By using online marketing channels such as social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Blogs) and crowdfunding as well as offline marketing channels such as art museums, art galleries, other art exhibit spaces, arts networks and sponsorships the audience can engage with the visual artist’s space and artworks.

It would be a waste of time, effort and opportunity if visual artists do little to nothing understanding and interacting with their audience (Yan, 2011). Besides that, the use of online and offline marketing allows visual artists to build their brand correctly and quickly through interacting, inspiring and motivating other visual artists and designers as well as encouraging other visual artists in self-education through communicating and documenting their practice (Budge, 2013).

Overall, the possibility to communicate through online marketing and offline marketing methods opens up new perspectives and opportunity in the art world and encourages visual artists in creating content - artworks.


This paper aimed to provide a brief overview of the current content of arts education and the importance of integrating business curricula as well as an insight into the personal brand building for visual artists through online and offline media.

As discussed in this paper, visual art students want to broaden their knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and are interested in self-employment. Although some institutions are acknowledging the importance of art entrepreneurship, there needs to be more widespread acceptance and openness towards the cross-disciplinary approach of visual artists being entrepreneurs. Further, the integration of economic knowledge is not a matter of interest or time, but the lack of support and the underestimated importance of this subject on behalf of arts educators and society. However, it is evident that visual art students who have no managerial courses show a significant deficit in self-confidence, negotiating and networking skills, self­promotion and time management.

Given the above, these findings may help to understand the importance of linking arts education with business education and, therefore, supporting visual artists and changing the common public perception of visual artists studying entirely in vain and better choosing more popularly accepted studies such as medicine, law or architecture.

Besides containing some research on arts education, this paper gives some insight into the personal brand building for visual artists through online and offline media.

Speaking of online media, it turned out that social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Blogs as well as crowdfunding pages such as Kickstarter are the most active online platforms to strengthen and broaden a visual artist’s brand. Related to visual artists, Facebook can be used as a personal homepage and for displaying background information but is not as useful as Instagram and Twitter as it is inconvenient in texting others and not enough image oriented. This became visible by closer consideration of two already mentioned artists as both have a greater follower base on Instagram than on Facebook, which proves that Instagram is the more suitable platform for artists and offers access to a broader audience. Since Twitter is primarily a text-based application, it is the easiest and quickest way of communicating with other visual artists across the world, making it the perfect counterpart to Instagram. Also, if the abovementioned social media tools are too complicated or offer not enough advantages, visual artists can use personal blogs as platforms for publicizing content, networking and sharing artworks. Nevertheless, a combination of all four is recommended as each platform addresses a specific audience and the visual artist can consequently reach a wider audience.

By wanting to gain more insight related to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, only online sources were available but no qualified research papers. Therefore, more research needs to be made in this area as online media becomes more important over the years and promoting

one’s brand is impossible to imagine without it. Further, crowdfunding consists of too many legal risks for visual artists to suggest it as suitable funding platform and should only be considered an example.

Although online marketing covers an extensive area of self-branding, it is essential to include offline marketing in the branding process as it expands existing customer relationships - often reached through social media - and the audience. Thus, offline marketing acts as an additional branding method including museums, galleries, other exhibit spaces, arts networks, and sponsorships. Despite the numerous mentioned offline marketing methods, a focus on art galleries is given as they provide more possibilities for emerging visual artists to socialize with other artists and establish themselves in the art world. What stands out here is that other exhibit spaces such as pop-up galleries are sufficient for unknown visual artists in providing the first experience in exhibiting artworks. Moreover, supporting visual artists in their career and self­fulfillment is most likely successful by the involvement of arts networks and sponsorships.

However, as already referred to in the social media area there needs to be more research in new and creative approaches in the collocation of arts networks and sponsorships so that visual artists are not limited in their artistic talent, skills, and knowledge.

Most important, however, is the restructuring of arts education as it represents the basis for many future artists and provides the first step into the art world.


This academic paper holds several limitations which need to be outlined. It has become clear that social media tools do not replace studio practice as it is not possible to experience the full effects of the studio environment especially interacting with other visual artists face-to-face about knowledge, practice, and materials. Social media tools are far more part of studio practice and can only be added to it. (Budge, 2013)

Moreover, neither Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and personal blogs can be taken far from their standard settings. It is only possible to interact with them in a specific and given frame, which may be better bypassed by offline marketing methods. (Yan, 2011)

Certainly, the current marketing possibilities, especially in the online area, will continue to evolve and probably have completely new approaches within a few years. Thus, it is up to the visual artist himself/herself to choose the appropriate marketing combination for brand building.


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Personal Brand Building for Visual Artists. Conceptual Analysis between Online and Offline Marketing
FH Vienna
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arts education, brand building, offline marketing, online marketing, visual artists
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Lisa-Marie Weidl (Author), 2018, Personal Brand Building for Visual Artists. Conceptual Analysis between Online and Offline Marketing, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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