Blog / 2019 / Consumers ≠ My Audience

October 28, 2019

Consumers require a societal stamp of approval before they can like an artist. They’re the people who barely glance at my art before asking where I went to school or what publishing company will be putting out my next book. They depend on cultural sponsorship to figure out what they like.

When I make my art, I never consider what consumers will think of it, because they are not my audience.

This is a theme I have addressed before on my blog—like when my art was used in a Gap ad or when I announced I was becoming an art guide or even when I addressed the popularity of painting in a traditional realist style. I am no fan of consumers.

I recognize that, to some degree, we all rely on a social context to shape our behavior. We all imitate each other when building our nests of the art, books, movies, or styles we like, but some people are more influenced by trendiness than others. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to fit in to that degree, when a person is a consumer, I tire of them quickly.

Why I am spending so much time talking about people who don’t interest me:

  1. Consumers are not a part of most independent artists’ audiences. The sooner artists realize this, the happier they will be.
  2. They’ll easily tune out their unimaginative aunt who’s always nudging them to give up their art, and they’ll be able to focus on the people who are capable of appreciating what they do.

  3. If you are reading this, then I can say with 100% certainty that you are not a consumer.
  4. I am grateful to you, both professionally and personally, because of who you are and because you are in my life.

Since saying goodbye to social media, it’s been easier to narrow my idea of who my audience is. I still market my art and work to get it in front of people who will like it, but promotion gobbles up less of my time and feels healthier when it’s done via old school networking as opposed to the app-lified world of social media.

sea turtle artwork, acrylic on canvas
Gwenn Seemel
Sea Turtle
acrylic on unmounted canvas
9 x 12 inches

This turtle was commissioned by a patron through my special deal on Patreon! If you give me $50 per month for six months, I make you a painting on unmounted canvas of an animal of your choosing.

For prints and pretty things of the image, check out my Redbubble shop.


About my use of the word “consumer,” I know that just last month I was talking about ethical consumers and inviting them to spend more money on art. In that case, I was using the word in a more dictionary-definition way—consumer as person who purchases goods and services for personal use. Today, I am adding to the word’s meaning to make a point about people with a particular world view.

About the term “app-lified,” I made it up to describe the way that companies are working to take you off the internet at large and lock you away in the controlled little universe of their individual apps. They do this in order to hog your attention more effectively and force you to see their advertiser’s ads more. Please keep yourself as free from apps as possible: sign on to social media via a browser like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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