top of page

Can Introverts Sell Art on The Internet?

I've been selling my art online for a few years now. It's a tough gig and there are always ups and downs. Over the past couple of years, I've gotten increasingly discouraged. The internet has started moving too fast for me. By the time I learn how to use a new social media platform three more platforms have sprouted up. What started out as blog posts and photographs has turned into videos. Those videos have gotten shorter and shorter. Everyone is screaming for attention, sound bites are king, and sometimes it seems like only the most outlandish, flashy, or controversial content gets any traction.

I started following social media marketing gurus, signing up for classes, and trying to turn my introverted, somewhat serious personality into an extroverted goofball. Now, don't get me wrong, I have a healthy sense of humor and can get silly sometimes, but at my core I am a quiet, introspective person. Everywhere I looked it seemed only artists with big personalities were really making it on the internet. But for me, dancing on Instagram day after day to get likes didn't feel authentic. It just wasn't my personality. I felt stuck and didn't know how to move forward. The gurus are always saying we just need to be ourselves, but also that we need to jump through all of these extroverted hoops in order to be successful. I couldn't see a path to success that made sense for me. I kept asking, can introverts sell art on the internet?

The universe kissed me on the forehead in January when my Library App recommended the book, "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. It even went one step further by making the audio trilogy, which included Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work! and Keep Going, the only option to download. Those three books shifted my perspective about being an artist on the internet drastically. I've already set the intention to reread the books at least yearly. The three main take-aways for me was do good work, practice in public, and win by showing up. There was a fourth big take-away too and that one was all about social media. Instead of chasing likes, follows, and views on social media put most of your time and effort into the work. Let the work speak for itself. Eventually the right people will find it, and if they don’t that’s okay too. When you focus on your craft it improves. You have something to show for your effort and commitment. The work is real and tangible. Social media is fickle and a little like trying to hug a cloud. In the end you might not have anything at all.

Then the UNIVERSE kissed my forehead again by randomly offering up a Youtube video by a quiet woman who paints birds in watercolor. Her name is Louise and her YouTube channel is Art by Louise. She made a series of videos describing her journey of quietly painting, making long form videos and classes, and how she has grown a solid following and income on the internet, all while being her introverted self. A model for success, that fit my own style and personality, fell from the sky right into my lap. Sometimes those social media algorithms get it right! Louise talked about worrying that she might be boring and that her videos would go unwatched. I found her quiet, straight forward demeanor soothing in a world often filled with cacophonous sound. Obviously, many other people did too. Her approach was a breath of fresh air. Maybe "boring" wasn't so boring after all. I realized I could talk about my journey and share my work without engaging in Tiktok fads, dancing in silly ways, or using "popular audio guaranteed to make your reel go viral!" I could actually "be myself" and still succeed on the internet. It was a relief and exciting.

I'm beginning a new journey here in February. The freedom to be my "boring" self feels like an invitation to stop holding myself back from doing the work I need to do. I now feel energized and full of ideas. In what seems like a major paradox, I wouldn't be surprised if I started posting more on social media now because I feel liberated from trying to fit into an extroverted box I was never meant to fit into. I’m also not going to waste so much time trying to figure out how to bend social media to my will. Instead, I’m going to focus on my work and even if I don’t get a big break and have a lot of attention all at once I know I can find success by showing up every day as myself. I’m redefining what success looks like to me. It’s not going to be about going viral, but about consistency, good work, and keeping my integrity.

If you have had any aha moments in 2023 about your creative life, please leave a comment below. Maybe we can support each other in our creative endeavors.

*Here's the link to the Steal Like An Artist Trilogy. If you purchase this book using my link I will receive a small compensation as an Amazon Affiliate. That helps me fund this website. Thank you!

Check out my latest YouTube video on this topic.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page