When OnlyFans announced in March that they were launching a Creative Fund, many were left scratching their heads. 

Having made their name in NSFW content, OnlyFans is now increasingly trying to promote itself as a friendly social media platform that’s not just all about the sexy stuff. Cue the Creative Fund for Aspiring Music Artists, judged by creative powerhouses including fashion designer Henry Holland and actress Suki Waterhouse. 

While the OnlyFans blog explains how artists can use the platform to “connect with their fanbases,” a search on OnlyFans won’t yet bring up many creatives outside of the music realm. 

On its social media accounts, OnlyFans is making a point of promoting Safe For Work creators, from personal trainers and makeup artists to cooks and travel vloggers. 

But what exactly does this mean for artists? Is OnlyFans now a legitimate platform on which to promote and profit from artwork?  When big creative names jump on the bandwagon, do they legitimise the platform? 

Should YOU get on OnlyFans? 

OnlyFans creatives InstagramScreenshot from OnlyFans' Instagram account

One creative who thinks the platform “is escapism from real life for people” is Nicole Russin-McFarland. On OnlyFans, Nicole posts “art tutorial videos, digital drawings, and ‘general-hanging-out-with-me in a safe for work way’ content, like selfies around my love of punk rock eyeliner.” A far cry from what we’ve been led to believe OnlyFans content is all about. 

Nicole sees OnlyFans as another social media addition alongside her Twitter and YouTube accounts. She started using OnlyFans in May 2021, saying that “I knew that if I hopped onto OnlyFans, someone would want to know what I am posting on there just from the mention of the brand name.

“Posting my art tutorials on OnlyFans […] is a wonderful way of introducing myself to people on the most popular website in the world that isn’t a news outlet or one of the main social media platforms.

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“Everyone uses it: powerful entertainment industry professionals, corporate types, movie stars, working class people, small business owners, and students. OnlyFans has helped so much to leverage my name and personal brand.”

However, while Nicole seems to love the platform, someone like painter Bria Gladney has had a very different experience. 

“I created an OnlyFans initially because there was an advertisement from them that said: ‘calling all artists’,” she tells Talenthouse. “I thought it would be a cool and quick way to monetise my content.” 

Her big hopes for the platform didn’t pan out, and she “opted out” of the platform “after a few days because it was not what I expected.” 

Whereas Nicole says “OnlyFans is anything you want it to be,” Bria believes it is “still very much centred around sexual content.” 

She goes further, saying that “the type of engagement [with followers] made me slightly uncomfortable.” 

bria-gladney-paintings.pngBria Gladney's paintings

An incredibly talented painter, Bria initially had support from the platform itself, who reached out to help boost her account when she joined. Bria posted her beautiful artwork for commissions, but when she wanted to showcase the full range of her artistic talent with paintings that included nudes, “they retracted their offer” to help and support - perhaps suggesting the platform is really, really trying to move away from the ‘sexy’ content they’ve become known for? 

Bria’s 11.5k Instagram followers were confused about her OnlyFans account “because of the nature of the platform,” and she eventually decided to “stop promoting the account because I didn’t want to be associated with it.” 

Bria Gladney paintingsMore of Bria's work

Bria is sticking to the other social media platforms to promote her work, but does think that OnlyFans could become a more inclusive platform for non-’sexy’ content as it continues to develop. 

Photographer and videographer Toby Chung also believes OnlyFans is shifting, but thinks that “it’s going to be a long time” before it truly gets to the inclusive creative space they seem to be striving for.

As a man, Toby got onto the platform through “one of the girls.”

“I actually film some of the behind-the-scenes content for a girl that’s on OnlyFans (which he says pays really well), and she kind of inspired me to start my own, once I saw the potential that it has, the amount of people that you could reach.” 

Wanting his work to be seen by as many people as possible, he created an account earlier this year and “just forgot about it.” 

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Some of Toby's posts on OnlyFans

When he logged back in a couple of months later, he saw that he had 300 followers, “and it just kept growing from there, which is cool.” 

Toby now has 8.5k followers, an amazing growth rate that he’s sure would not have happened as quickly on a platform like YouTube, for example. 

“It’s really hard to grow on YouTube,” he tells Talenthouse. “It’s just saturated, there are so many people who do photo and video tutorials. I remember thinking, ‘I wish I was the first, then it would be different,’ so that’s the mentality I brought to OnlyFans. I want to be the first Safe For Work photo/video guy to be popular.” 

For now, Toby is happy to just go with the flow, hoping that one day OnlyFans will bring him more work and more money. But to make money from a SFW OnlyFans page, it “has to be better than nudity. People would have to think ‘this page is more interesting than [naked girls]’ - which is quite the tall order.” 

Toby makes “some” money from his page, from releasing screensavers that people can buy, to starting a 'Feedback Friday' when “subscribers can send in a picture and I give them professional feedback, but you have to pay to unlock the email. It’s $3, that’s the cheapest I could make it.” 

OnlyFans occasionally promotes Toby’s account across their own other social media platforms, which Toby’s actually not a fan of.  “When I get promoted and tagged on the actual OnlyFans Instagram I just get random followers DMing for promotions. It’s annoying, and I don’t want my family to know.” 

OnlyFans is seemingly moving away from promoting the NSFW content we all know is on there, and instead promoting creatives to try and attract a different type of audience. 

If creatives can deal with the competition “to be better than naked girls” and are up for putting the time into the platform, OnlyFans could end up as being an effective way of monetising creative work and selling art. Or, the experience might be so uncomfortable for creatives that the naked gals stay ruling the roost. Watch this space.

Would you be tempted to put any creative work onto OnlyFans? Let us know in the comments below.

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