Friday, December 21, 2012

On art and social media-an evolution of personal proportions

So, for those of you who may have been wondering, yes, I'm still hard at work in the studio, as usual. Regular visitors to this blog (or my other social media outlets) may have noticed that I haven't posted any photos of newer work in the studio in the past few months. At some point during this past summer, I made the choice to pull back from posting so many images of works-in-progress and newer pieces because I've needed to change some things about my social media interaction as it relates to my studio practice.

I photo-document a LOT and enjoy sharing images of my work and studio with those who don't live near me and a studio visit might be out of the question. However, a lot of that sharing began to muddle things for me. The sharing of works-in-progress began to feel like over-sharing. I felt a real desire to return to the mindset that I had before having a presence on the 'net became almost mandatory for artists and others to gain an audience; just me in the studio working out whatever issues that I might be having with the work and inviting people into the studio once in a while to discuss what I'm working on and so forth.

 It's tricky for creative people because we often like to have our work validated in some way and social media is a great way to have your peers (and others) weigh in on what you are doing, even if they are miles or countries away. I know that I enjoy getting a peek into what other artists are working on. The dialogues that can happen are wonderful and can be creatively invigorating. However, I found that after a while, the self-imposed "need" to post began to over take more serious considerations with the work in the studio. For a long time, I thought about how having a laptop or tablet in the studio would enable me to make constant updates from the studio. I resisted that idea and am glad that I did.

It has been a few months since I began to change the relationship between my art and social media, but the differences that it has made in how I relate to my work recently undeniably positive. Much like having painted over years of marks and drips on the wall , resisting the urge to post every movement that I make in the studio has cleared pathways for new things to happen in ways that the world doesn't need to be privy to, at least while they are happening. All of the outside stimuli has an effect on you, no matter how small. Over time, it all builds up and one day, you are wondering how you got so far away from your original intent. The proliferation of marks on my working wall wound up preventing me from "seeing" my work and made me expend precious mental energy on attempting to block out the distracting colors and patterns surrounding works-in-progress. The same thing happened with how I used social media in relation to my art. There got to be too much other "stuff" to consider and I unconsciously created mental filters that began to alter my perceptions of my work and took me away from an honest dialogue and evaluation of it, at times.

I'm much more comfortable with where I stand now with my art and social media. I post whatever articles or links that I feel might be interesting to followers here, and on Facebook, Twitter, and G+ with a focus on art-related items, but I have released myself from feeling obligated to constantly post my own newer work or works-in-progress.  I will probably return to some form of sharing studio documentation in the nearish future, but for now, it's just me, the work, and a few cups of tea to keep warm while I figure out whether to leave this painting as is, or whether I should sand it down and start over...


Lynda Fay Braun said...

perfectly said. Ive been thinking along the same lines but havent broken the habit as you have. Thanks for this. It gives me some things to ponder. I hope the work goes well.

Catherine Carter said...

Totally agree and understand, Tim. There's a part of us that wants the feedback and validation. But, good as that can feel, it's really just a distraction from the "still small voice" that we artists have to rely on in order to decide whether to bail out on a piece or keep developing it.