This is the article that originally made my art go viral online and across international media with over 2 million views (that I can count on one site). I put together drawings and paintings I created from the age of two to twenty five. I wanted to host it on my own website to;
a) illustrate a point about the importance of engaging an audience with a personal message
b) re-iterate the importance of contuining to grow your audience in the future by taking control of your work
c) discuss the ways I was prepared and completely unpreppared when this happened
You can view the original post here but I have included the artworks in their entirety in the slideshow below.
So what did I learn when this blew up online? For one thing, I think it resonated with people in a lot of different ways. The importance of practice, dedicating yourself to a passion from an early age and that dilligence in developing something you love that can pay off in the long run. I think as an artist its important to let people know where you coming from, your inspirations aspirations and especially your development. Some of the most popular artist videos online are process timelapses and studies that give you insight into how an artists works on their craft on the day to day, and they can be mesmerising to watch (as well as providing a passive income to those who are generating decent viewership). Providing this timeline gave people an insight into my growth over years. To engage an audience I think providing a little insight and a story as to hows and whys provides a much more engaging experience with which they can relate.
There are also things I wish I did properly before this did the rounds on the internet. Watermarking my images, providing better links back to my website. I didn't have much of a social media presence back then which would have benefitted immensely from the sudden surge in interest. Don't get me wrong, it was still a huge change in my circumstances, I sold all my original artworks, I was getting 10,000 visitors a day to my site for a couple of weels and my prints sales skyrocketed. However what I learned as well is that from the beginning you should have an online architecture to take control of these kind of opportunities if you are lucky enough to catch a big break. A website with solid distribution and sales platforms, a subscribers list, social media connections...essentially, build a professional and solid foundation from which you can utilize momentum. Nothing may happen and you shouldn't rely on something "going viral", but ultimately doing things right from the start will always benefit your art in the long run. With the nature of the internet, it just takes one person to stumble on your work and take it to the next level.