I recently got bombarded with the question that sends a lot of visual artists in panic mode; “would your work survive without instagram?” And I did what any other person in their right mind would do, I went into panic mode. What if I lost my account? Or maybe instagram shut down! What if I forgot my password? I put all my sets on instagram, most of my photography, my jewelry, everything is on that app. A lot of visual artists eventually delete their social media accounts so as to focus on their craft. I like to believe I’m not one of those.
Social media helps us to reach more people than before. And yet it also makes us lazy ( at least in my case). It also slowly and gradually helps you forget why you’re a creator in the first place. You will find yourself paying attention to which post got more likes. This is okay as long as you don’t use that as the criteria for what you will create more of. This is why people end up posting more of the same content. They start out experimenting with a lot of ideas but the spontaneity soon dies. Our creativity should not be regulated by what we think our viewers might be interested in. ( You’re an artist not a T.V station)
There is a short film on NOWNESS “To post or not to post”. Social media is portrayed as a stage in front of a giant audience. The audience is not interested in whatever is happening on the stage; too busy on their phones and only looking up if it is someone they are interested in or a topic of interest. At first it made me question why I was even posting my work on instagram. Who cares? But after a while I also started to think of all the people I had collaborated with after they discovered my work on the app. Visual artists before did not have the gift of social media but we do as long as we find ways of staying in control and being conscious about the pros and cons of the medium then there shouldn’t be a problem.
It has come to my awareness that I have been using it as an end all. As if it’s enough to only have work on an instagram page. I think it’s important to have a website. To hold exhibitions, to have a blog , a newsletter and all the ways you can think of. Do not put all your energy in creating a beautiful feed and then forget that it’s not a gallery. Constantly ask yourself Why am I creating? If you find that it’s for your followers and not for yourself then change that. What other mediums am I using to put my work out there? Are they enough? Where do I see myself in five years? Am I making the right moves both in the virtual and the real world? I constantly find that I focus a lot on the virtual.