This past week I spent less time in the studio and more time generating content for the Internets. I am a little bothered by that fact but I also know that "generating content" is an important and necessary part of my life. The trick is finding the right balance. That's the whole trick to everything. I am still stumbling along doing what I can but mostly at this stage of the game, I am just mindful of it all.
Here's the rub. I like communicating about my work and I like making my work. These activities engage two different brains and processes of creativity. So if my content game is strong then my painting may at times suffer. But if my content game is weak and my painting is strong, then no one knows who I am or what my work is about or why they should care. So I have to do both. The Internets also like to change the rules all the time about what works and what doesn't in the content game and how far the information about your work can go. In other words the Internets like to limit your "reach" unless you want to pay for it to go further.
I am not telling you anything you don't already know, I am just explaining the conundrum. Most artists I know can't afford to buy materials, rent studios, have websites and Internet connections while also paying a premium for their content to get pushed the furthest on the superhighway. So we keep hustling, posting at the reported "best times" on instagram, twitter and facebook, all the while trying not to seem too "spammy." We also keep up with older modes of communication with our blogs, emails, mailing lists and sometimes even good old fashioned postcards and being seen at exhibitions. Of course we try to keep our finger on the pulse and continue to try new things too- podcasts, little videos, you name it and we'll try it.
And then there is the other part of the game. Watching our feeds, monitoring what works and what doesn't, engaging with folks while trying not to become obsessed with the outcomes of our reach. "They like me! They really like me!" Time to break out the spreadsheet. Naw!
What I know from all of this is that there must be a strong flame within and that art must give back to the artist something immeasurable. It's often not fame or riches or even above the poverty line but it is deep, deep within, like the will to survive. Art makers are warriors.
So what can artists do? Stick together, support one another and keep fighting! Be ready for opportunities. Say yes!
What can art lovers and patrons do? Buy our art. Share our art. Share our social media. Go to the galleries that show our work, let them know you came to them because you like our work. Leave a comment (comments and engagement get more attention and get our work seen by more people than just a like on facebook). Send us a message of encouragement. Leave a comment on our blog (no pressure). Keep fighting for the art and artists that make life beautiful and exciting.
Until next week, I will continue to walk the line for art. I hope you will join me in the process.
You can find my work here: