TTC: ArtNM 499: Monetizing Social Media for the Artist


Taking the Monetizing Social Media for the Artist class, offered in the spring 2019 semester by Matthew Stoehr at American River College, students will be able to learn to use media sites like Twitter and Instagram in a way that they will be able to learn how to create a career for themselves as an artist. (Graphic Design by Patrick Hyun Wilson)

Patrick Hyun Wilson

American River College is full of talented artists who work nine-five jobs or slave in fast food kitchens. With the help of a new experimental class, set to be offered in spring 2019, such students will now have the chance to learn about how to make a living as an artist in the modern era.

Matt Stoehr, an Art New Media professor at ARC, will embark on teaching a new class this upcoming spring, designed to help student artists monetize social media for their artwork. In it, photographers, 3-D modelers, painters and every other kind of artist will be able to learn how to make a living as an artist in Art New Media (ARTNM) 499.

The course will focus on discovering market flows for particular artists and how they can use those market flows to their advantage to gain a followership through social media, according to Stoehr.

“How can I take [my art] and find the best channels using social media, to bring in followership and point them towards being patrons and eventually selling a product?” Stoehr asked.

Stoehr describes these channels as “market flows,” using the term to describe the methods an artist might use to develop a followership and make a career selling artwork.

According to Stoehr, the market may respond differently to a painter as opposed to a 3-D modeler. The wide range of different artists and styles of work will have to find different market flows in order to capitalize successfully.

“I have a market flow model for painters … digital artists … 3-D sculptors,” Stoehr said.

Part of the class will deal with the different kinds of internet media that can be used by artists today. From Youtube to Patreon, Etsy to RedBubble, Stoehr says he has a plan for artists to use these available platforms in a way that is good for the artist.

“It’s like that scene in ‘Spaceballs’; ‘Merchandising!’,” Stoehr said. “You put that one design on many things and allow the public to decide how they want to consume it.”

The scene in “Spaceballs” that Stoehr describes refers to when the character in the movie promotes merchandise (travel mugs, cereal boxes, etc.) for the very movie in which he is a character. The scene is played for laughs but there is truth to the idea of allowing the public to decide for themselves how they want to consume a person’s art and the job of the artist to find that way, Stoehr says.

“The whole class is exposing what you’re doing and finding ways to do it in which draws attention and hopefully in a way that’s not a crude use of the technology and certainly not in an explicit way,” Stoehr said.