Saturday, January 14, 2012

Virility: "Beat of a Different Drummer"

Interesting occurrence the other day: for some random, unknown reason this particular cartoons went viral on Facebook. Based on the 50+ shares it "e-treed" virtually all over the state of Alaska, many to folks living in some villages I've never even heard of, which is very cool. Except it was one of the older panels that I haven't yet gotten around to re-captioning with a current website address bug up in the header. Even this version posted above is off - the original copyright text line was from 2005, and this one was from a second-run in the Anchorage Press. Let that be a lesson in marketing, and one of the reasons it's pretty much a reflex for me these days to leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs on everything that gets posted. It was still pretty awesome to watch: so far well over 10,990 people read it (more than half the total circulation of my host newspaper). Another, more recent panel ("Baby, It's Cold Outside") posted on Facebook has so far been shared to over 5k folks.
I've found it better to have separate images posted in albums on Facebook to make the sharing of images easier, as opposed to merely reposting a link from the blog on my wall. Even so, just (re)posting a link alone will have a noticeable impact on driving traffic to the site, judiciously intermittent enough so that it doesn't over-saturate. Investing a little effort and time (initial outlay + in maintenance "massages") to establish a viable internet presence is as crucial a skill for contemporary artists as it is/was making the rounds of galleries at openings. That said I just this morning emailed and printed out some files of new work for another batch of sampler cartoon panels to hand out to everyone and anyone I come across. That'd be the "old-fashioned," real-world, physical equivalent to posting work on-line... as in "here, check this out."
Even while I've gotten work from both Facebook and Picasa/Blogspot galleries, the fact is at the core of creating visual art is an amalgamation of professionalism, profitability and pleasure of having it be seen: so for a cartoonist it's sharing a laugh amongst friends, family and folks... whatever, whenever and wherever you can. The "series of tubes" is good for that, and it works both ways, as I've been able to stay abreast of many new efforts by friends in the field and other artists.


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