MakerStories is back this week featuring popular digital artist and YouTube creator Floortje Visser aka Art with Flo. Over the last two years, Flo’s artwork has been propelled by social media, transforming what was only a dream to be an artist into reality. Flo shares how she’s been able to grow her fanbase to over 250K followers on Instagram and 15K subscribers on YouTube. She also shares her inspirations, struggles and how embracing social media has expanded the reach of her art — enabling her to pursue her art full-time.
How did your story start as an artist?
My story started a long time ago, when I was still a little kid, about 5 or 6 years old. I always felt the urge to draw and because people always reacted positively to my drawings, I continued. I never took it too seriously though. I dreamed of going to art school, but didn’t think my work was good enough. I studied Psychology instead and forgot about my dream of drawing and painting. About two years ago, when life’s pace slowed down just a little bit I found the opportunity to start drawing again. I decided to share my efforts on Instagram and about 6 months later my following exploded. I now draw everyday and share my artwork and art tutorials with people all over the world.
When did you decide to follow your path as an artist?
The moment my Instagram account exploded about 1.5 years ago. When that happened I knew I had to start taking my artwork more seriously. A door opened for me and I knew this was the chance to follow the path I had always wanted, since I was a child.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
My process can differ. Sometimes I work on a sketch first, which I’ll use as a base for my digital painting. Other times I dive right in and start painting right away, working with big shapes and moving to smaller shapes and details as I go. I draw inspiration from everything around me, nature, people I meet, movies I see, games I play, pictures, artworks online, and more.
Do you have a favorite artist which you draw inspiration from?
My favorite artist is Bobby Chiu, seeing his work is what made me start making digital art in the first place. I don’t just like his amazing artwork and the (often funny looking) creatures he portrays, he’s an inspirational artist. Sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with so many aspiring artists around the world, I can tell he’s dedicated and very hard working — which I admire a lot. I hope I’ll be able to meet him in person some day!
What are your biggest challenges when creating art, and how do you deal with them?
Sometimes I feel I lack the necessary skills in certain areas. There’s still so much I want to learn and get better at. This is only natural though, I think you should never stop learning and developing your skills. If I feel like I lack certain skills, I just practice! It’s a good idea to not just stick with stuff you already know or master, but take something you’re not that good at yet and start working it until you improve.
“Without technology I wouldn’t be an artist.” — Flo
How do you see the art market and the art world changing?
I believe the internet and social media gives artists a wonderful way to show their work. Artists that wouldn’t normally be seen, might get noticed online. Our world is growing in a sense and we’re all connected. That being said, copyright infringement is becoming a serious problem online. I’ve personally had people stealing my artwork and claiming it as their own and even modifying my work and adding their own watermarks and signatures. People seem to think that any art online is a common good which can be used as they please, without giving the proper credit.
Can you share how you grew your Instagram following to over 250k?
My instagram following grew kind of over night. One of my posts got on the Explore tab of Instagram and led to an instant lift-off. Of course, there was a lot of work put in up until that point. To grow your social account it’s important to stay dedicated. Do what you love and share what you love with your followers and other artists on a consistent basis, while giving them your full attention and responding with kindness, even to hate. I think being kind and genuine plays a big role to growing your social presence. Finally, always keep an eye out for trends on social media and try to give things that are popular your own twist — it just might catch on!
How has an increasingly digital world impacted your work?
Without technology I wouldn’t be an artist! I like working with traditional media, but I lack the patience to wait for paint to dry. Also, I would probably turn my house into one big chaos, having a lot of art supplies lying around. I like how I can just take my iPad Pro or turn on my computer and have all the colors and brushes of the world at my fingertips.
How do you think blockchain and the ability to own scarce digital art will affect the industry?
I hope more artists will be able to get paid what they’re worth and that the awareness about copyright laws will grow. It also offers a great way for digital artists to share and sell their work in a different way.
I like how MakersPlace makes use of blockchain technology to create an art marketplace. I can offer my fans a unique way to buy my work and be the owner of my digital paintings. I’m excited to be among the first artists to take this step into a new and exciting world of art on the blockchain!
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You can also browse and collect Flo’s limited edition digital artworks on her MakersPlace store.
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