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The impact of social media is something we will never be able to completely understand. Over the last few years, social media has grown rapidly, and the internet and various platforms have improved drastically and allowed people to communicate in a way which was not previously possible. Almost every aspect of our lives is now being dictated or influenced by social media. It is redefining how the art world functions as well. Research indicates that in the past year, over 80 % of the all the generation Y art buyers, bought fine art online. As anything there are pros and cons in this subject matter as well, this article aims to explore the impact of social media on art!

When you walk into a museum, it is now common to observe viewers who are ready with the phone in hand to snap and post a painting or a selfie alongside one. But is this longing for the perfect Instagram or Facebook post or is it a true appreciation of art or a different kind of engagement? Observing the infinite posts online, we are left to wonder if the experience is actually about art. But through this tangled web we can slowly see a growth of a new generation of art lovers emerging, which is a positive aspect. With the culture of hash tagging, tagging and location sharing becoming commonplace, art has been globalized; for example, if a piece if shared on Instagram with the right hashtag, it can become viral in a matter of minutes. The flip side of this extraordinary rise is that the diversity of art becomes diluted to a great extent.

Positive Benefits

When looking at auction houses and major galleries; they have used to positive benefits of social media to drive their business. Many have been using the online platform for a while even though it was not so popular, but the pandemic truly changed course for many of them. Instagram was essential for visually seeing artifacts for sale at auctions when it was not possible to visit in person. Other large auction houses used social media to promote their work by creating customer engagement, allowing Q and A's and Instagram stories.

For an amateur artist, the use of social media in the present day is vital in building up a follower base. It is also a great way to connect with other artists and to showcase their work to the world when art galleries would turn a blind eye. On a practical level, we also know that simply because people can admire art online, it doesn't mean they can afford it. As most auctions are based on giving away a piece to the highest bidder, those who are with less financial security will still miss out on the opportunity to own a piece.

Direct Engagement

Social media allows you to directly engage with your audience, speak about what you are creating, introduce who you are and portray your skills to the world! If you manage to draw the attention of the right people in the industry, it can be a huge boost to your career.

It allows you to own your success, which means artists no longer to have relied solely on galleries and the art world elite to validate it. The masses who follow your social media accounts are proof of your successes. You also become your own curator and art dealer, you can omit the middleman and still create great business opportunities.

There is always the good and bad in everything, the worst thing is seeing the change and not wanting to adapt to it. The art world is changing, and it may be for the better. Social media is a wonderful tool, which if used wisely can create beautiful opportunities!

Manesha Peiris (2022)