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The White Pube
Photography Megan Winstone

How do I stand out on Instagram as an artist? The White Pube advise

In their latest Dazed column, art agony aunts Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad explain how to use the internet to maximise your presence as an artist

In their ongoing Dazed Voices column, art writers and curators The White Pube answer your burning questions about the industry, in a way only they can

Anonymous: Hello TWP, I’ve got a question for your agony aunt column. I’m not great on the computer but I wanted to ask is there a free and easy way to set up a website for my art and what advice would you have about what to put on it? Do I need social media accounts? Thanks girls xxx

The White Pube: i used to really like House, u know the hugh laurie doctor show. it’s pretty repetitive if you’ve seen the whole thing but it’s good if u love a bit of problem-solving, which my capricorn moon really does. the gist every episode is that a patient comes in presenting with symptoms, and House and his team of 3 other doctors have to figure out what is going on in order to save em. The 3 doctors each specialise in something different: neurology, cardiology and immunology. And there’s this one particular moment when House points out that whenever these doctors are looking at a patient, the neurologist thinks their nerves must be fucked, the cardiologist goes straight to the heart, and the immunologist thinks it’s something to do with the immune system. This is a long-winded way of saying when u ask someone like me if artists need social media accounts, when i am someone that uses social media to propagate my art thoughts all day every day and have done for years, i’m going to yes u need to get social media accounts and a website and the whole package because quite frankly i know no better.

what I am familiar with is a contemporary art world where the most successful people seem to be the most visible / and the most visible seem to be the most successful. i don’t think this is the way it should be, because it relies on artists becoming their own PR agencies and marketing officers, when what I think artists should be focusing on is making good art. I also don’t like it because this system only really allows a certain type of person to rise to the top: they are confident, endlessly social, neurotypical and non-disabled, childless, often slim, media-fit, and just super organised and relentless about it. The art world would be better if curators and all the people in power actually grafted to find artists and other people for their teams who didn’t fit the description above, but they don’t care to. And so the onus falls on artists to stand as tall as possible so their heads rise above the crowds, so when these decision-makers are making decisions YOUR name comes to mind. curators are lazy so it’s like, art-people have to make themselves as visible as possible so they get picked by the claw machine in this industry. so how do u make yourself the biggest brightest toy on the top of the pile? ur gonna need the internet: a bastard solution for a bastard problem.

“how do u make yourself the biggest brightest toy on the top of the pile? ur gonna need the internet: a bastard solution for a bastard problem” – The White Pube

step by step this is what i’d do > i hope you have a first and surname that make you easily discoverable lol, praying for you. Make an instagram and twitter account with matching handles that, preferably, are your actual name. I wouldn’t put, say, @gabrielleFA / @gabriellefineartist because personally it makes me cringe. just do your name. but whatever name you decide on should also be your website domain name. so for example, my name is Gabrielle de la Puente (my parents didn’t know i was gonna go into the art world but they did well in hindsight) so my handles are @gabrielledlp and I could get a website that was also and if I was splashing out - domain names are generally very cheap, check GoDaddy. in terms of how you use both Instagram and Twitter, this is my advice: post a good, clear, brightly lit image of your work/work in progress/art that inspires you even and your research just once a day (also for pictures please make sure horizontals and vertices are aligned, and preference square photos over any other shape imo). don’t use filters, it is weird. even if you’re not a full time artist this gives the impression of full-time-ness which again I don’t necessarily agree with but in terms of making yourself visible this can b successful, especially because of the consistency n keeping your name sticky in people’s minds. fillers can be exhibitions you’ve been to, things you’ve read, ideas. Make a big effort to follow artists, galleries, curators and critics you actually genuinely enjoy; and to kickstart some back-n-forth, follow people who you think might enjoy what you are bringing to the table.

artists using instagram well imo:

(instagram) @katherinedereli @lydiablakeley @marijkevasey @stefvanlooveren @dominiquehwhite @mcoweyart @bella.milroy @eaalrust @miranda_forrester

THEN build your website. i think making a website sounds a lot scarier than it needs to be but stop stressing. Websites are just the actual design of the thing, somewhere on the internet to host it, and an address to get people there (but you’ve registered a domain already if ur following my recipe). You can buy a package shortcut to do all three with Squarespace or Wix (though mind, if you’re pro-BDS Wix is isreali - a fact we didn’t know when we built and now we are pretty stuck). These can be a bit pricey so if you want to go for a cheaper option, get a completely free Tumblr account and then mask the web address with your own personalised domain (the masking part is free too and it’s easy to do). You can find invisible Tumblr themes via google so the Tumblr-ness is hidden if that matters to you, and then it will just look like a good old website. Newhive is another option, as is Hotglue, CargoCollective, Format, and Adobe’s My Portfolio. I built the website for my gallery using KompoZer and FileZilla and the only thing I pay for is the domain (again, via GoDaddy) and hosting with FastHosts for about £2 a month. For design, it’s difficult to pin down with words bc it kinda depends on what you are making and needing the website for, so please see below for different artist website examples that i’d recommend.

artist websites i think are well designed: (i mean, how could I not) (i really like it when it’s just a full on database tbh) (bella’s done the tumblr masking)

& thennnnn, finally, sort an email address out (you can go the cheap google option which is fine, so or if you got £££ you could pay for an email attached to your website: u can link your social media accounts to the website, and get a business card with your NAME, EMAIL, WEBSITE, SOCIAL MEDIA all on it so when u are chatting to people or visiting an exhibition u can drop some off and put em in people’s pockets etc.