For several years my husband and I have hosted a writer's residency from May to October/November for established writers on our property called Aspen Words Catch and Release...Read More
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” Khaled Hosseini
I have broken through to the other side and have a thousand followers on Instagram. It seems like a pyrrhic achievement. What’s the big deal? It’s not the affirmation that people might think I’m cool, successful, hot, or hip. After all, there are plenty of Instagram stars. Taylor Swift probably has the same number of followers as Warren Buffet has dollars. I'm not interested in convincing anyone that my life is glamorous or that my thigh circumference is perfect. My feed is simply about my studio and the visual delights that I stumble into, and inspire me, and my creative life. And occasionally, something personal that intersects with my virtual visual cabinet of curiosities. So my pleasure in hitting 1K is about connection to, and with, a creative community who want to swap images and ideas like baseball cards.
Here is what I’ve observed:
I have discovered that there is a rich community of artists and visionaries that proliferate outside of the sanctioned art world who make exceptional work. Most of them have tidier studios than mine. There are many interesting voices out there that I would otherwise miss.
I can now toss around phrases like organic reach, influencer and audience engagement with impunity and earn eye rolls from my teenager.
I'm still baffled by the “follow / unfollow” trend!
I'm still baffled by all the thong selfies who follow me -- not a fit.
I’m not sure it's such a good thing to have this quasi literacy, and not, say be fluent in Italian instead.
Launching on all of these social media platforms takes a great deal of time.
To preserve your time as an artist, you need to consider hiring someone who is a professional in this world. I did this instead of buying likes. My words and images are my own of course, but I would never get anything done as a wife, mother, artist, gardener, advocate, farm manager, writer's residency host, to name a few, if I had to market and post everything. If you can afford it, do it. If you cannot, consider a trade or possibly using a virtual assistant! I found Maria Brannon--Lightning Flash Creative, through my friend Sissy Yates and never looked back! She's been my trustworthy spirit guide in this rather baffling social media universe.
I take the weekends off and observe an internet sabbatical. I found I was getting hooked on the endorphin of being "liked" and this was the remedy.
I have results. I sell a great deal more work than I did out of my galleries or my studio, and so many of my family and friends now understand the extent to which I am a professional since they follow my narrative online.
This process has reinforced my love of writing. I am now writing outside of my journals and have written a book.
Finally, and most importantly, I feel gratitude to all you good people who are engaging with me in a sincere and thoughtful way. I am delighted by it. I really do feel that the world will be a better place if we all tend to a creative impulse. Truly.
I don’t believe in influence. I think that in order to be an artist, you have to move. When you stop moving, then you’re no longer an artist. And if you move from somebody else’s position, you simply cannot know the next step. I think that everyone is on his own line...I do believe we unfold out of ourselves, and we do what we are born to do sooner or later, anyway. Agnes Martin
Recently, I was in my old hometown of New York. Between meetings, I tucked into the Museum of Modern Art to see the Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock shows. Both artists are supernovas of the art world, and were worth the crowds, the jostling and the occasional surly guard. Both offered fresh visual surprises and inspiration. Looking at great art, and seeing splendid public art all around the city, rejuvenates me and makes me reflect on my artistic ambitions. My career designs are simpler than they used to be. Time in the studio is my biggest goal, and I no longer worry about being sanctioned by the “art world," since the art world is buffeted by several baffling currents. Among the most baffling: the staggering amount of private money pouring into public institutions, while public monies are declining. For example, the MOMA is poised to raise one billion dollars -- the expectation is that 75% percent of this amount will come from its own Board of Trustees. Other currents include a fascination with posturing, a craving for outlandish flourish, and exclusivity, that leaves the rest of us off kilter and alienated. In some art world venues, it is intimidating to ask questions or talk about the art while looking at a piece. I was discussing a show with a friend at our local museum, and the gallery guide kept inserting himself into our conversation, without invitation. He wanted to make sure we stuck to a scripted interpretation, and kept assuring us that we were looking at real “sophistication.” We retreated to lunch for privacy.
Although I am represented by two small galleries, I know that representation is fickle and may shift. Age and motherhood have liberated me from craving certain approbations, and I now use the platform of social media to launch my own narrative and explore the work of other artists. The artist Amanda Palmer wrote: “The ideal sweet spot is the one in which the artist can freely share their talents and directly feel the reverberations of their artistic gifts to their community. In other words, it works best when everybody feels seen. As artists, and as humans: If your fear is scarcity, the solution isn’t necessarily abundance.” I couldn’t agree more, and there is great peace when you finally get to this conclusion.
Mark Hadjipateras Subway Tile Art