Edmonton artist starts Twitter #ArtAdventCalendar

There are advent calendars for kids, for grown-ups, for charities — and now, for artists.

Hashtag thread has been viewed more than 600,000 times, creator says

Jay Bigam was the target of a mail-forwarding scam this past summer. (Portia Clark/CBC)

There are advent calendars for kids, for grown-ups, for charities — and now, for artists.

Creator Jay Bigam came up with the idea last week when he signed on to Twitter and noticed how many different kinds of advent calendars people were tweeting about this year.

He decided to try creating a new kind of digital advent calendar, and tweeted out a picture of one of his own paintings using the hashtag #ArtAdventCalendar.

By the end of the day, Bigam had heard from six other artists who wanted to join in. Now, the total is up to 18, including 15 artists from Edmonton, one from the southeast USA and one from Toronto.

And more are always welcome, he said.

Each day, each participating artist tweets out a picture of a new piece or painting. At the same time, each also re-tweets the work of their fellow artists.

Many artists struggle with finding an audience for their work, Bigam said, and social media often plays a large role in building interest.

By building this online advent art community, he hopes to offer some of the participating artists a larger platform — and it seems to be working. So far, the hashtag thread has been viewed more than 600,000 times, according to his analysis software.

Bigam said he's already been introduced to several new artists he had never before heard of, even right in his own home town.

You can follow the daily art advent calendar on Twitter here.