Pinterest – Social Networking for Artists

pinterestPinterst is an intriguing social networking site, and it is absolutely perfect for artists. Visually, it is all about the images. People view, sort, and organize images. It is the ideal location for artwork to be promoted. An artist’s home page in Pinterest displays a lovely selection of their images sorted by type. Like Twitter, the purpose of all these images is to drive traffic back to your art’s homepage, wherever that is. All of these images are links which send the viewer to your chosen destination.

To begin, go to and create an account. It’s fairly straightforward and free. You’ll be able to set up a profile icon for it and link it to your destination art site. You can also provide a brief description of what you’re about. A mini artist’s statement.

Then it’s time to start pinning!

The way Pinterest works is that you have as many main categories, called boards, as you wish to put your art into. You can always move things around as you go, so don’t worry too much about choosing the exact right categories when you start. It’s better just to get started and then see as you go what is working for you.

Technically you can load an image directly into Pinterest, but that loses a key aspect of the benefit of Pinterest. Instead, always link to the image at your destination website. That way each pin acts as a funnel to drive people to that website which has your sales and contact information on it.

When you make a pin of an image, be sure to give it a meaningful description. Remember, someone searching on the word “rose” won’t know your image is a match unless you use the word “rose” in your description. So create nicely keyword dense descriptions for each image. Don’t say “Picture I took on Saturday.” Say “Beautiful Red Teacup Rose at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Connecticut by Artist Lisa Shea.” That way people will find it using a variety of search terms.

To see how categories work, here is an image of my Lisa Shea art page, organized by general type. Click on it for a larger version.


You can add as many or as few “pins” (pictures) in a category as you wish. Each image links back to its destination location. In my case I link to my website where I have the images available for sale, but you could link back to your Flickr account, FineArtAmerica account, or whatever you have chosen for your base sales site for your images.

For another way of organizing images, take a look at our Blackstone Valley Art Association page –

There we have a category set up for each artist, and then categories set up for field trips and shows. It wouldn’t make sense to have an “Animals” category here – it’s more likely people would browse based on artists or outings. That gives a better sense of what the BVAA is all about.


Pinning Other People’s Pins
One of the ways publicity happens on Pinterest is that many pinners are viewers rather than artists. So let’s say for example someone is a drummer who adores drums. They might make a folder, not of drum photos THEY have taken, but of gorgeous drum photos that others have taken. They fill that folder with images they find all over pinterest. When they pin something into that folder, the image ALWAYS links back to the original artist with full credit and source information. This gets you, the artist, viral publicity for your artwork and the more people who do this, the better for you.

So here’s an example. Click to see a larger version.


Yes, the band has some of its own concert images in here. But it also has a few boards which are collections of art found elsewhere. One has Massachusetts photos, one has Guitar photos, and so on. These boards are full of pins made by other people. It’s a way to promote and drive traffic to those other artists. Also, it means Far From Eden itself gets more traffic, as people search on “guitar photos” and find this board, for example. People looking for guitar photos might find the Far From Eden page as a result because of that board, where they wouldn’t find the band otherwise. And now that the person has learned about the band, they might start following it.

On my LisaSheaArtist page, at the bottom, I have a board specifically about “What Inspires Me.” This is where I pin impressive works I find on Pinterest. I can look at that board to get ideas. It’s also a great way for me to show appreciation for the talented other artists on Pinterest.


Followers and Following
Just like Twitter, you want to follow people you’re interested in and follow-back people who follow you. Where Twitter has a lot of buy-Twitter-followers spammers and adult models to navigate, Pinterst seems to primarily have those adult models clogging up the system. Maybe it’s because of the visual nature of Pinterst. So if you get followed by an adult model, it’s easy enough to block them. Just click on their link and under the “gear” icon in the top right, click “block.” Quick, easy, done.

Pinterest will only let you follow a few hundred people a day, as their anti-spam method, but there doesn’t seem to be any max like Twitter has. So just keep following away each day. A good technique to use is to go to fellow artists’ sites and follow whoever is following them. Avoid any accounts you wish, of course :). Those adult models can pop up everywhere. In general, the more people you follow, the more people who will follow you in return, and the more people who will potentially like and repin your works. And that’s what this is all about. Getting your works out there, liked and repinned, so the most eyeballs possible then click through to your sales site and buy the items.


Pinterest is easy to use and drives traffic to your sales site. You pin-and-forget. You don’t have to maintain it. The longer the pins sit there, the more chance they’ll be shared and liked by people. There are generally no conversations to maintain like on Twitter. So it’s a fairly mindless and easy way to promote your artwork. The only mild downside is the plethora of adult models who follow you for their own publicity reasons, so occasionally log in to block those out (if you care).


BVAA Members on Pinterst
Please follow, like, and support your fellow BVAA members!

Joe Altruda
Mike Backunas
Bob Evans
Libia Goncalves
Bob See
Lisa Shea
Verne Thayer

Here’s our main BVAA page –

Social Networking for Artists – main page