Artists are making thousands of dollars -- and their livings -- off of Tumblr. Here's how

Sam CannonSam Cannon / TumblrA still from one of Cannon’s GIFs – see the real version on her site sam-cannon.com

Brooklyn-based photographer Sam Cannon makes her living creating shockingly gorgeous GIFs. 

Her work has been featured in campaigns by TRESemme, Universal Studios, Lipton, Converse, Mastercard, Free People, and more.

Cannon’s career revolves around Tumblr, the blogging site Yahoo bought for $US1.1 billion in 2013.

“She’s easily one of our top creators,” David Hayes, Tumblr’s head of creative strategy tells Business Insider. “Her work has this ethereal, surreal feeling to it. The level of artistry she can bring to a fashion or a movie campaign is pretty amazing.” 

Hayes heads up Tumblr’s Creatrs Network, the in-house agency publicly launched this January for connecting site artists like Cannon with brands.

The goal is to make it easy for companies to source original, creative art for their ad campaigns by people who are already well-established on the site, while empowering creators to find new outlets for making money off their work. 

David HayesLinkedInDavid Hayes

The site just opened the agency up to any interested advertiser, and in the first six months since, Tumblr’s  already outpacing all of last year with over 200% growth and three times the number of campaigns. 

“One of our primary goals is for people to make their careers off of Tumblr,” Hayes says. “Being paid job by job is great, but doing what you love for a job involves a little more than just payment. Some of our more popular artists have told us, ‘Just want you to know, I quit my job today. I’m doing this now full-time.’ That’s started to occur with more regularity very recently and something that we hope to surface more and more.”

Not everyone’s at that quit-your-job level yet, but people are still making thousands of dollars per campaign. 

Here are some more examples of Cannon’s work:

http://samcannon.tumblr.com/post/118224704853/allison-williams-at-the-met-gala-after-party

http://samcannon.tumblr.com/post/124253829118/and-the-livin-is-easy-for-classicspecseyewear

 More than 300 people of all ages, geographies, and artistic styles currently belong to the Creatrs Network (more than half live outside the United States). Each one has been carefully selected by a designated team within Tumblr, which scours the site for new talent. They will set up a Google Hangout to find out more about that person’s interests, and then try to match them with the right advertisers.

There’s Anthony Samaniengo, who got paid to capture the glow and glitz of Coachella, Jonny Wan who created backdrops for an episode of NBC’s The Voice, and Daria Khoroshavina who lives in the Ukraine and spearheaded Converse’s #MadeByYou campaign

In exchange for making those connections, Tumblr takes a cut. 

Hayes says that Tumblr campaigns are great for brands because content has a much longer shelf-life on the site than it does on other social media platforms, like Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram. 

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