As Internet grew and social media platforms developed, a new popular “job” emerged online: Internet Curators.
Curators in the past were essential in the Art industry. They searched for artists, worked with them and put up exhibitions to showcase their work. They were often passionate people holding higher academic degrees in Art with good knowledge in their fields.
But nowadays, with the access of thousands of images online, many people have hijacked the job and invented the “Internet Curator“, which is basically described as a person who browses Internet for images and shares them on their own social media feeds.
The big difference is that, most of the time, those curators use photos without prior permission from the artists, sometimes not even crediting the work. And while Art curators were passionate and knowledgeable professionals, Internet curators usually have no background or any knowledge in art, and often just grab whatever beautiful photos they find to share and gain more followers.
I call this taking advantage of someone’s work to increase your own popularity. And it hurts the artist.
You have probably come across curators, or even follow some on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ or even Twitter. They have thousands of followers and post gorgeous daily images. Sometimes they credit the original artist, sometimes they don’t.
And while they go on sharing images and gathering a cult following, the original artists work hard to produce these images and get nothing in return.
I’ve had one of my images shared by a curator on Facebook, it had over a thousand “likes”, was shared more than 300 times and had over 50 comments. The same image on my own feed had about 30 “likes”, was shared twice and had no comments. I also didn’t have any extra followers, because the person mentioned my name but did not link to me (and let’s be honest, who goes and searches for an artist’s name?). That curator has over 100k followers.
It’s a sad world when the curator is much more popular than the artist who creates the work.
So please, in order to support and help artists creating their work, don’t ignore them. Here’s what you can do:
– If you follow a curator, click through the links and give your support to the original artist too. Follow them, share their work and credit them.
– If you enjoyed the art, don’t comment on the curator’s page. They often don’t read you anyway. Go to the artist’s page and show your support by commenting on their work.
– If you are going to share the work of an artist, share it from their own page/website. Don’t re-share the curator’s post. Eventually links get lost and the work is left uncredited.
– Speaking of credits, if the original author is not mentioned, DON’T SUPPORT the curator. This is usually against copyright laws, and even Creative Commons rules. Finding the original author isn’t difficult with Google, just do a reverse search with the image and you’ll find the answer.
– Finally, if you really want to show your support, purchase the art. Give your time and money to the artists and help them create more work.
Nobody wants to have other people benefit from their own hard work. So, please, show your support to the artist, and not just the curator.
“When you buy from an independent artist you are buying more than just a painting or a novel or a song. You are buying hundreds of hours of experimentation and thousands of failures. You are buying days, weeks, months, years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are buying nights of worry about paying the rent, having enough money to eat, having enough money to feed the children, the birds…, the dog. You aren’t just buying a thing — you are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a private moment in someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying that artist more time to do something they are truly passionate about; something that makes all of the above worth the fear and doubt; something that puts the life into living.”
(Rebekah Joy Plett)