Tumblr as Art by Ben Valentine

This article was about how artists can use the popular website, Tumblr, to promote their art and the pros/cons that come with it. The author used a number of artist’s examples pulled from Tumblr and went into the problems that can arise when artists post their work so freely. With such a vast user base, how can they keep track of what is rightfully theirs?…

Art on Tumblr might get seen by many people, but 1,000 reblogs doesn’t mean anyone will be looking at your art the next week, know who made it or understand it in a meaningful way. For these reasons, many artists seem wary of putting their work on Tumblr.

What does this mean for Tumblrs as art? If the video backgrounds are fundamental to the aesthetics of these pieces, then the artworks are currently broken, and what we see are only pieces of a whole. Artists working online — especially in a medium like Tumblr, where crowd-sourced content is the norm — must take ownership of their content and plan for these types of errors, or at least deal with them as they arise.

I thought this article was of particular interest to our class because from what I have experienced, Tumblr is extremely popular within the younger age group and for beginning artists who are trying to get their name out there. You can read more here!

Posted by Nicole Romeo


3 thoughts on “Tumblr as Art by Ben Valentine

  1. This is a really good topic; I am so confused by Tumblr. I only recently went to the site to see what it was all about, and checked some of my younger coworkers tumblr pages and left the site deciding that it is seriously difficult to know which images are from the user and which are just randomly taken from the internet. That’s a huge issue for an artist, because there’s no ownership of the rights and the images can be seen by so many people and credit will be given to the wrong source. I also thought the part about Hyper Geography was interesting, it’s like pre-recorded radio where the radio host says what day and time it is even though it was recorded a week before. It’s very strange the ways technology is changing our interactions with people that many of them are not even in real time. So much can be faked online and artists really do need to be conscious of what platforms they use and how they present their work.

    Post by Jordan Moore

  2. Great post on ownership. So many people use and create tumblr communities, its kind of crazy. For artists, there will always be a risk of people stealing your stuff — at least with tumblr the page layouts are really beautiful! I have always really enjoyed scrolling willy nilly through endless tumblr images.
    Thanks, Nicole.

  3. Hey Nicole, I am honored that you liked my article, and glad you shared it. Just to clarify, I wanted to understand artists who were using Tumblr not as a platform to share their work, but as the artwork itself. Blogging platforms have been used for a while as a means to gain exposure and a wider audience, but I was curious as to how we might understand a blog as the artwork.
    Interestingly, I have found that many younger net artists are readily giving up control of their work in favor of exposure/accessibility, which is fascinating to me. An artist might have a “successful” gallery opening with 400 people, but a “successful” photograph online might have 100,000 reblogs or likes, with many more viewers…
    I just co-curated a tumblr symposium with Hyperallergic, you can see the event here if you are interested.
    Feel free to ask any questions

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