In today’s age of hyper-connectedness it is easier than ever before to share your your life, your work of art with the world.
We have cleverly designed platforms that we choose to express ourself through.
While these social media platforms have simplified the act of expression,
It has also sowed inside us, a seed of constant hunger,
Of seeking validation.
Today, the act of creating itself cannot find the isolation it needs.
We are busy sharing that we are going to do something, we have just started doing something…..Up until we are finished with doing something.
We fail to shut the door on the world to actually get to the process of creating something without distractions.
It is the result of the clever architecture of these platforms that are dictating our behavior and psychology.
We need to feel we are relevant,
We are but,
human after all.
As a contemporary artist, I’ve always felt the process of creation never finds the isolation, incubation and single minded dedication it calls for.
The continuum of creation is always interfered by the parallel world of validation (read social media) we choose to dabble with.
In a way we are driven to be ‘Like’ minded .
This culture is detrimental to an artist’s growth in the long run in my opinion.
Once an artist shares his labor of love, he expects people to take notice, like it and share it with the community at large.
The feedback comes through a single click,
A like button, a heart shaped button and their many cousins…
This cursory appraisal is only valued when it comes in numbers.
There is no way of knowing how much what you created affected another person.
Maybe a masterpiece of a portrait you worked on for months got 20 thumbs up and a goofy selfie of yours got 200.
But maybe the 20 people were moved by your art, and majority of the 200 encouraged you out of habit and the prospect of reciprocity.
A pertinent question here is,
‘How does an artist find honest critique amid this culture of numbers, of short attention spans and a juggernaut of new feed?’
Here is where good old friendship and mentorship stands strong.
On social media you’re more likely to find cursory attention than love, virulent hatred than critique.
A friend or a mentor on the other hand, cares about your growth. You are more likely to find honest opinion, encouragement and suggestions about avenues to grow, when you share your art with them.
It is a matter of privilege to have these handful of people around.
If you still wish to get a sense of how many lives you touched through your art through social media,
Look for how many people took out the time to write something about your art.
Did anyone feel moved enough to leave you a comment?
The written word means so much more than ten thousand clicks on an icon.
What would you remember more,
A number or an emotion you stirred in someone’s heart through your art?
As an artist, for the sake of better art, we need to stay clear from the culture of constant gratification.
Only when we give ourself the isolation to work with all our heart,
Can our work add up to something remarkable.
Also, as responsible consumers of content, we should choose the written word to express our feelings more often than giving someone a thumbs up.
We are capable of being more articulate about our emotions than that !
Once we look at life as art in making and choose to voice our opinions in a more conscious manner, we will enable a better atmosphere for art to find expression and constructive critique.