Extra, Extra! Internet Threatening to Ruin Artists! Wait, Wha…?

You know what I heard an artist blaming for her lack in sales the other day? THE INTERNET. I’m not even kidding. The Internet wasn’t at fault for just that either, according to her it was also to blame for “the economy”. I had to bite my tongue.

This is a perfect case of people refusing to educate themselves. I know it’s in our nature as humans to resist change, been there done that. But the rules have changed, and the new game is all about the Internet. Artists are no exception; in fact, they’re the ones that stand to benefit most of all from the rise of the Internet.

The ‘net has served as a vital tool for artists to not only put themselves out there and showcase their work, it’s been a way for artists to connect with other artists and learn from the best. If you’d told me at five years old that one day I’d be learning straight from some of my cartoonist idols as a kid, I would have thought you were crazy. Used to be getting out there and finding who you admired or aspired to be was the only way. If the Internet can help me learn from the best out there and hone my skills as an artist, how can it possibly be a bad thing?

The problem is, people who don’t understand the Internet are looking at it as something outside the world instead of for what it really is: a tool for connecting to the rest of the world. Copyright laws? Same rules apply. Marketing and selling your content? Same rules apply. Sure, there are those out there in the online world who could plagiarize and steal your work, but there are also those out there in the offline world who could mug you and steal your wallet. Same rules apply.

Take a look around. The web has done more to bolster the arts than it has to hinder them. I’ve seen artists connect and amazing talent discovered, and we owe it all to the Internet. Not only that, we now have the capability to get our art out to a wider audience than ever before – and really, isn’t that the point?

Blaming the Internet is like blaming the printing press; sounds ridiculous, right? Like I explored in my July post, we can’t keep sticking our noses up at shifts in technology. As awesome as the Internet is, it’s still just a tool; and as any artist knows, it’s not the tools we use to make and sell our art, but the art we make and sell.

Tanya Marcy is a writer and artist with a love for marketing, online media, and the independent arts. She blogs at stickTnotes, where you can find her story tips and tricks, and her ideas about being a creative artist in today’s changing world. Check out her own art at deviantART and sample her writing at Figment

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