How Instagram Is Changing the Art Market

“Until now, we’ve had no real mechanism for being able to see the social validation of a single artist’s work.”

By Hady MawajdehSeptember 1, 2016 9:35 am| , ,

From KERA Art&Seek:

Dan Lam is 28-year-old Dallas artist. Lam creates sculptures out of polyurethane foam, acrylic paint and epoxy resin. They sort of look like alien creatures or melting blobs and the internet loves them. And for that, she credits Instagram.

Lam has nearly 76,000 followers on Instagram. About 65,000 of them started following her this year.

“It’s huge. The amount of exposure that I’ve gotten has been unreal. And, I think that that kind of exposure is something that normally, in the past, might have happened over the course of years and it happened in the course of like eight months for me.”

Even celebrities like Miley Cyrus follow her and Cyrus has purchased Lam’s work. Lam’s average piece goes for $1,200. Her larger sculptures go for as much as $4,500. And Lam says Instagram helps artists like her get into galleries.

“Galleries find me on Instagram,” says Lam. “They reach out to me and they ask to be a part of shows. It’s crazy. Like, you know there’s all these books out with information about how artist can make it or whatever and it doesn’t event touch on how Instagram needs to be a very crucial part of your strategy.”

For years, gallery owners and curators have relied on history, their own judgment and changing cultural tastes to determine which artists they show.  Instagram is changing that, linking art – and artists – directly to the public.

“The value of art is inherently social,” says Marion Maneker, the publisher of “Art Market Monitor,” a website that covers the global art market.  “And until now, we’ve had no real mechanism for being able to see the social validation of a single artists’ work.”

Maneker says that proof on social media of people liking your work is a powerful tool for artists.

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