Art is everywhere. It’s in the buildings that make up our towns and cities; it’s on the streets we walk along every day; it’s in our own homes and sacred spaces; it makes up the world we live in using visual, audible, and tactile mediums to connect us with each other. So, how can we continue to access art in the burgeoning digital world that is growing all around us?
Whether you are an artist seeking connection with your peers across the globe or an art aficionado looking for new inspiration, the internet can give you what you need. Here we’ll explore all the different ways in which art can be accessed online.
Becoming an Online Student
Increasingly, different businesses and services are moving into the online sphere. Whether that means tv shows relocating to a streaming site like Netflix, favourite games being made available on a platform like PokerStars Casino, or summer outfit shopping moving away from the mall and over to Theory or other websites, all your favourite interests now have an online presence. The same goes for studying. Online learning communities like Skillshare and FutureLearn offer people the opportunity to learn anything from anywhere. This is particularly useful for creatives who may not have access to a nearby college or university to attend in person, or who may not be able to afford the time or money for standard night classes. And the benefits of online learning are seemingly endless. It gives you flexibility so that you can fit your learning around your busy schedule; it allows you to work on your passion from home; it puts you in touch with creatives and teachers from across the world; and it’s often a much more affordable option.
Collaborating with Other Artists
The internet also gives you much greater opportunity to connect with fellow artists and share ideas. If you’ve been looking for somebody to collaborate with on your next musical composition, or you need a skilled digital artist to add the finishing touches to your latest painting, then chances are you’ll find somebody on the internet. All the usual social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great for connecting with people who have similar interests to you. However, there are also other channels specifically set up for artists, especially those interested in collaborating with likeminded peers and building a community. Sites like Twitch Creative, Pinterest and DeviantArt are set up with visual content sharing on a larger scale firmly in mind. Whilst Twitch is the newest of the bunch, it’s great for producing video content like WIPs; on the other hand, DeviantArt has been a solid hub of creativity for 20 years and continues to go from strength to strength.
Sharing Work with Your Community
Speaking of content sharing, perhaps you’re not interested in collaborating on a piece but merely need to get the word out about your work and attract some potential customers. Resources such as Society6 and Redbubble allow you to upload original work in a digital format; they will then transfer the work onto different products such as fabrics, mugs, apparel and stationery without you having to coordinate the production process. Both sites offer high quality products that can help you to make your art saleable and net you a healthy profit from your work. If you really want to go it alone though, then sites like BigCartel and Etsy allow you to create your own online ‘shop front’ and list items for sale. You can then set your own prices and have more choice over how your art is distributed to customers. However, this option does mean that you have to source all products yourself and also coordinate shipping; it’s not a big hurdle if you can be organised enough, but it is something to consider.
Accessing Exhibitions and Galleries
As an artist, it’s important that you have regular, easy access to inspiration so that you can continue to make art and express yourself creatively. Different people draw inspiration from different things, but looking at other artists’ work is always a sure-fire way to kickstart some new ideas. But what happens if you can’t make it to a gallery or exhibition for whatever reason?
The answer lies in bringing the gallery to you. Many galleries, museums and exhibition spaces now offer virtual tours and walkthroughs of their collections, allowing people to access specific artworks from wherever they are in the world. Institutions like London’s National Gallery, New York’s The Met and even the open-air East Side Gallery in Berlin all have satisfyingly detailed virtual tours accessible online for those interested parties that can’t make it there in person. Of course, nothing will ever top seeing the Mona Lisa or van Gogh’s Sunflowers in person, but the carefully curated online resources available will certainly do for now.