When I went to college in the mid to late 80’s art was very different. I was also very different.
All of my art classes were true hands on – paper, plaster, tubes of paint, pencils, and film cameras were the tools we had. My last semester of college was the first semester the art department introduced computer graphics. It was one classroom and there might have been 30 systems. The only people you could even take the class were seniors and there was a very narrow curriculum that qualified for the class.
I loved college art, that was the best educational experience I ever had. I was surrounded by people like myself, we were all a bit off. I also had a very different attitude about art, I made art that was for me. Sure it had to meet the criteria for the assignments, but I didn’t care what anyone else thought of it. And I was truly happy making art. My art was a true reflection me, I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought, I was making good art and it was a blast.
As time marched on and as I grew older I fell into line with what was expected of a budding artist. Make art that was marketable, art that had vast appeal, make art that could get you hired anywhere and doing anything in the field. Society has a way of trying to direct artist into making art that society appreciates. I also spent too much time listening to too many people in my orbit about the art I should be making.
With the rise of social media my art again started to bend and twist to fit the platforms. I have become so focused on making art the appeals to the majority and then getting it out there for everyone to see that I am no longer making art for the joy of it. Creating new art and getting it posted has become my focus. I have been spending more time editing images of my art and posting my art than making art. Then there are the notifications. Social media platforms love to send notifications and tell you what people want to see more of.
These past few years have been full of change and transition for me, and unfortunately my art has not been a reflection of who I am and what I want to say. To be honest I’m not even sure what I would consider to be my art. I never really wanted to be a professional artist, having to rely on my art to be my financial support, what kept a roof over my head. I always wanted my art to be just that, my art. My voice.
For the remainder of this year I really want to focus on finding my voice, my art. I have a deep need to create. It’s what makes me go. Some people need to run, some people need to compete, I need to create. I just need to figure out what that creativity looks like. And I know I won’t find it when I focus on what social media tells me is popular. I’ll only find it when I step away from all the distractions and pressure, when I spend more time creating and less time posting and tracking.
I’m not saying social media is the enemy of creativity, but for me it’s become a guide I no longer want to follow. I’m not sure where this new path will take me, but I do know I need to wander off and walk through the weeds for a while.
I will continue to post out here, I can’t say how often I’ll post, but I will continue to share what I’m thinking and what I am working on.
Thank you for reading this rather wordy post…take care…Erik