How 5K Facebook Friends Can Fast-Track Your Career

How 5K Facebook Friends Can Fast-Track Your Career

ArtsyShark | Carolyn Edlund

Mixed media artist Destry Sparks originally got a Facebook account when his wife set it up as a joke.

Now, not only has he embraced the idea of social media, but has taken it to the next level to promote his art, his shows, other artists, galleries and discussion.

What merits attention to this Facebook user is that not only has he made connections, but how he interacts with online friends to schedule gallery shows up and down the east coast and draws crowds to openings.

He promotes other artists whose work he admires, and makes introductions to movers and shakers who can enhance other artist’s careers as well.

Destry’s approach is that his networking relationships with others should be a win/win proposition. He learns from other artists, introduces people, finds out about opportunities, and passes them on to those who can benefit. As a result of his connections, and deliberately choosing to interact with artists and curators who have influence, his show schedule is extremely busy – sometimes leaving only a few weeks to create between gallery openings.

As his career evolves, Destry has found that being diligent about Facebook and other social networking sites is an integral part of his job; he couldn’t imagine not being connected. Noting that the old gallery system in which an artist was more passive is declining, he is pleased that today artists have more control over their publicity, sales and schedules. He sums it up: “Most of the good things that have happened, I can trace to contacts I have made online.”

At his recent solo exhibition in New York, Destry met dozens of online contacts whom he had corresponded with for years. While the venue drew its usual local art going crowd, some of the attendees drove from neighboring states to see Sparks’ work for the first time time in person after having enjoyed it online. He is able to use Facebook as a tool not only promote his work, but to build relationships and collaborate on new projects with different players in the art world. From the reception, plans are already underway to participate next year in international art fairs and leading festivals across the country.

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