Melanie Tongmar is an artist based in the Northern Rivers. As she mentions on her Facebook Page, she loves colors and creating abstract botanical and nature-inspired paintings. She also does totemic ceramic wall art.
We originally met on Instagram, and she later joined my workshop “Social Media for Artist”, in Byron Bay.
Discover what she learned from her creative online journey so far.
Could you please tell a bit more about yourself?
I am a visual artist. I am multi-passioned, but currently, I am focused on sculpting totemic wall art and creating abstract paintings. Both very different styles but I need to express all different aspects of my artistic self.
We humans are multilayered beings! It’s not always as simple as finding one thing and just sticking to it, it’s nice to have that discipline but for me, it is too much of a compromise and drains the dynamic nature of creation.
I was a graphic designer and branding consultant for 15 years so it has been a BIG learning curve for me to create what I love (no matter the style) rather than what I think will sell!
Why did you choose to learn more about social media in the first place?
I am a very visual person and besides not having the time nor energy (I am the main co-parent with a toddler) to always physically go out and mingle, I thought this is a great way to share my work and also connect with a supportive community. I would also like to sustain my business when, on occasion, I head overseas.
As an ex-graphic designer and branding consultant, I was pretty savvy with social media already but doing a social media workshop and then some one-on-one was the best thing – I got so much out of it and after applying myself my followers (community) just keeps growing.
What impact does social media have on your creative work today?
It is hard not to get swept up in other people’s work and feeds because I am naturally an enthusiastic person and I get so enthralled with what other people are doing – so that can be a negative if I don’t apply myself and focus on my own work. On the plus side, Instagram is where I made my first sale and is where I get the most interest.
I’m not good in real life at saying “Look at me! Look what I’ve made!” but on Instagram, this is what we are expected to do! The support is really meaningful, especially those times when you are plagued with self-doubt about your craft. Apart from sales it really gives me a boost to keep doing what I love and is also a kind of visual journal of my growth as an artist.
What advice would you give to another artist who wants to start using social media for their creative work?
Figure out which platform you want to use, and use it well – there is no point using 2 or 3 types of social media if you can’t put in the time. The social media aspect is almost like having another job if you want to reap the rewards – it is work! But I feel it is very important nowadays. Also, focus on creating a community, giving quality content (ask what you can give, rather than what you can get). Your community will be there to boost you up when you aren’t feeling the creative flow, and in my experience, that is more important than hard selling in the long run.
Finally – take a social media workshop. Even if you think you know a whole lot (like I did), there are so many more tips and ways to be savvy that you can fast-track yourself. That is definitely one of the best things I did for my business.
Do you want to learn more about Melanie’s art? Check it out here!
SOCIAL MEDIA WORKSHOPS FOR ARTISTS: Art is creation, it’s not about selling a product. It’s about sharing a part of yourself, a bit of your story and your vision. Social media has to be done in accordance to that. If done right, you can create real connections and real exchange. It’s a dialogue, and it can be beautiful. Check here for coming workshops and free webinars!