how to destroy reputationAs artists, we regularly deal with the public, online and offline. Our reputation is crucial to our success. We should always be concerned about how we look in the public eye.

The image of the artist is sometimes just as important as the art itself. Some collectors do buy from artists because of their public persona. On the other hand, they may not buy if they see your public image as tainted.


Please guard your online reputation and strive to take every necessary step to maintain a professional image. Without precautions, all your hard work may go down the tubes – I hate to see that happen to anyone.

Here is a list of some things which can harm, and even destroy an artist’s reputation on the internet.


Things which can Destroy an Artist’s Online Reputation

  1. Making controversial statements online

    If you say the wrong thing on the internet, whether in your blog, art newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, etc., there may be a backlash from some people. You will certainly lose followers, and some may even go as far as campaign against you. Racial slurs, slander, hateful statements, trouble with the law and the like will only make you appear unprofessional.

    I know this type of stuff often brings attention to certain famous actors and musicians, but for artists who are trying to work their way to the top, try to guard your reputation at all costs.

    Think before you speak or write!

  2. Stealing content and photos

    stealing cookiesThis is a sure way to ruin a reputation online. If someone finds out that you have stolen their content, they may do what they can to ruin your reputation by reporting you to DMCA and posting about you online. Content and photos are also protected by copyright laws – so this could land perpetrators in legal trouble. Duplicate content (ie copied blog posts) also causes problems for SEO. Be assured that Google knows when something is copied directly from another site!

    Some seem to think that just because something is online it is theirs to use any way they want. Even if a credit link is given, without proper permission, it is still stealing. Artists of course know that taking images without permission is wrong. Give credits where credits are needed and always ask first before sharing something which is not yours.

    Incidentally, at Artpromotivate we do allow sharing of all our posts via social networks. (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) But reposting full posts is not permitted. Sharing excerpts of posts along with a link to the original article is welcomed though.

  3. Only promoting your own artwork without participating in the online community.

    Consistently sharing your own art is recommended. But if that’s all you do, without interacting - commenting and sharing other’s art and blog posts - then this leaves a bad impression. Some may even label you an art spammer and/or egotist.

  4. Not being concerned about others.

    holding hands child drawingArtists who have a website, art blog and newsletter should be concerned about what readers want. Don’t write about topics which may offend some people (ie politics, religion) or subjects of no interest to readers. Keep your site user friendly so that they will have a pleasant experience when visiting. Have easily readable fonts and a color scheme which pleases your audience. If you are unsure about something, take a poll or ask for feedback.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their advice regarding the recent design change of this website. Your feedback has helped immensely and is continually welcomed!

  5. Not keeping your professional life separate from your personal life.

    This is mainly a concern with Facebook profiles. Its not uncommon for people to tag others in unwanted photos and the photos instantly showing up on your newsfeed for friends to see. Also, if you participate in Facebook apps and games, the automatic shares can annoy some friends and certainly harm your reputation. I think you will agree with me how annoying it is to receive so many app requests from fellow Facebookers.  

    Our recommendation is to keep your personal life separate from your professional life. This can be accomplished by having a Facebook page for art connections and a profile for communicating with friends, participating in Facebook apps, etc  Of course, if no one takes unauthorized photos of you and and you do not play Facebook games, this may not be a concern for you.

  6. Not appearing professional

    Touch People with your Art - Click Here!These previous points will of course make an artist appear unprofessional. But, included in this list are several mistakes some online artists often make.

    These include:

    - Poor design of an artist website and art blog (Visit these posts: Website Design Errors to Avoid and Website Design Mistakes)

    - Not having your own professional website, with a custom domain (a central hub).

    - Not branding yourself online with a consistent profile image and logo.

    - Posting everything you ever created. It is general recommended practice to only post your BEST artworks online. A selection of sketches is a good idea, but would leave a better impression if they had their own page, or are included for illustrative purposes (progression of an artwork).

    Of course, all these things take time and can be worked on. If your followers see that you are improving your online presence one step at a time, this can only have a positive effect on your reputation.

If you are making one or more of these mistakes, it may still be possible to repair your ruined reputation, though it can be an uphill battle. Take steps to mend relationships, apologize where needed and go out of your way to play nice.

Can you think of any other things which can ruin an artist’s reputation online?        

Post a Comment Blogger

  1. This article would be depressing if it were even the tiniest bit true.

    "Making controversial statements"? Are you kidding me? That's exactly what artists are supposed to do. No, of course they shouldn't be making "...[r]acial slurs, slander, hateful statements..." because no one should behave like a jerk online or elsewhere. But controversy? That's another topic entirely. It's the artist's duty to speak up and rattle people's cages. Jeez.

    "Not appearing professional"?????
    Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here - have you people never heard of Jerry Saltz? He's easily the most popular and perhaps most beloved art person on social media today. The reason why he's so successful is that his Facebook posts show him as a human being - a goof ball, an art nerd, and a guy not afraid to be photographed with his pet rock. THAT'S what makes him interesting and why people want to follow him. When you're comfortable enough with yourself to act like yourself, you are interesting to others. When you just follow a pre-described mold and do whatever everyone else is doing, you're boring.

    I could go on, but really - it's not worth it.

  2. It's that we are real people, proverbial warts and all that make artists fascinating.
    One of the often forgotten and traditional roles of the artist is to dream for his/her people. Those dreams frequently question the norm and are provocative.
    The 'not be controversial' & 'don't share your personal life' type advice might be good for people doing very traditional, decorative artworks but not for those who are questioning and pushing boundaries.
    One of the themes I work with frequently is our culture's perception of beauty. We're acculturated to believe that beauty belongs to those who are 20 years old, White and a size 2, by body painting & photographing people who are other than that, I'm challenging that notion and being controversial.

  3. @RoByn

    I agree with you. Controversy does have its place. Controversy in fine art is a whole other topic. The type of controversy I was speaking about were hateful and slanderous statements. This is the type of stuff most of us aren't involved in anyway.

  4. @RoByn

    Thanks Amy for your comment. The type of controversy and unprofessionalism I was speaking about was extreme behavior. I gave examples.

    I do think transparency is important online. Artists should show themselves as human beings... and be honest with themselves and others... but still, certain behavior posted online could be harmful to a reputation.

  5. This is something my wife refers to as 'Online Hygeine', which I agree needs to be professional to a large degree; being provocative is certainly acceptable, just not offensive. Which is where a lack of maturity tends to have trouble distinguishing the two. It's one thing to shed light on a subject that the artist is compelled to share or expose, but it's entirely another for the artist to merely ridicule it ... then defend their position as an artistic exposé.
    As for popularity (i.e. Jerry Saltz), this is entirely subjective. Behavior is accepted (or not) based on many variables that far exceed eccentricities or personality type. It usually culls down to whether or not the audience 'likes' the person or not. Many personalities are celebrated if not outright canonized by others, whether they are fake or real, while others are vilified for saying and doing the exact same thing. Political bias is often the most coveted of these influences, but when prompted, most people will claim it's not the case. No one wants to admit they are prone to such a prevalance since it feels unfair or even bigoted.
    In conclusion it's a convoluted and complex topic, but Mr. Matthews has a point about remaining professional. It's a common ground where society can meet to be polite--at the least--and possibly productive... dare I say even educational or collaborative?

  6. As a designer with a portfolio/blog site, I found some of this interesting and agreeable. However I do believe that it is okay to mix the professional with the personal outlets. I think showcasing your work or blog on your personal social networks is a great was to engage your friends and family with information they may not have otherwise known. I'm not saying you should overwhelm folks with "Look-At-Me Look-At-Me" posts, but if you have something you take pride in, of course you should share it.

  7. Thanks, Graham, I appreciate the clarification and agree with you on this.

  8. @RoByn
    Your welcome Robyn.. I'm very happy to have you here... and I appreciate whatever you have to say.

  9. I agree for the most part on your entire post. Like the other artists stating here that we should be human, that doesn't mean that we should let it all hang out. I work hard at connecting on the right level with everyone I meet online and off, and it has worked to some degree to advance my art career. When other local artists wonder what I am doing right to make progress as an artist quickly, I really have to think through the steps, and I realize I am looking at what everyone else is doing wrong! You made the list and it pretty much sums it up! So unless you already have a great following, I would be following your advice. It's a no brainer!(And I will be passing on this link!)


Thank-you for your comment!