There are many reason to join the electronic age and "get online" Kristy Hall an artist based in Bristol, England wrote a great article on the subject (Kristys Article).
When I’m curating an exhibition, I still advertise for artists through print media and expect artists to send me postal applications. However, if I get a postal application and I’m interested in the work, my next step is always to Google the artist’s name to see if I can find more images of their work. I won’t discriminate against an artist if they’re not online but it does make it harder for me to accurately judge their work.
In an exhibition application it’s usual for the curator to set limits on the number of images that an artist should send. Briefs typically say something like “10 images max” and it can often be less than ten. This is to prevent curators being absolutely inundated in stuff: if you get 50-70 applications for an exhibition you simply don’t want to look at every single piece of work each individual artist has ever done!
However, it’s quite difficult to judge an artist from 10 imges or less, a CV and an artists’ statement. So I Google. Googling artists puts an artist in context for me and expands on the information that they’ve already sent me, allowing me to make a fairer and more informed judgement about their work. It also allows me to make my own judgement on which piece to include. Sometimes an artist will send me images of what they think is their best piece but if I can see more of their work online, I might find a piece that is actually much more appropriate for the show I’m trying to curate. That can make the difference between being included in a show and being turned down.
I have heard the same thing from many other professionals in the art world not only curators but also Art Directors looking for talent, be it full time or for a contract. If the person who is interested in your work cannot find you online it limits thier knowlege to only what you send them in an email or a job response.
Kristy goes on to tell the story of an artist, Lauren Porter, who receive interenational media attention for her full sized knitted Ferrari.
Now I don’t know whether she first got attention in the mainstream media and it then spread online or if it was the other way round but either way, the fact that photos of her work were available online meant that it was very easy for bloggers and online communities to distribute the story. It went through the enormous online knitting community like wildfire but a quick look on Google shows that it was also linked in geek blogs, car enthusiast blogs (including the Ferrari Owners Club), craft blogs, art blogs, popular news blogs like Digg and even YouTube: the coverage was truly vast.
This kind of promotion one cannot pay for. You never know who may see a photo of your work on Google and say "I need that person" or "I want to have that piece of Art". Take photos at your exhibitions or in your studio. Put them on a blog, Facebook or Flickr and Google will index them so that the work can find you.
In closing Kristy sums up by wisely stating:
Building a visible online presence should never be all the promotion that you do but it should definitely be some of what you do. If you’re not on Google then you’re basically invisible in the modern world and artists who want to succeed just can’t afford that.
For more advise and resources follow Kristy's blog at: http://kirstyhall.co.uk/