Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Social Media, + a shy artist = Confusion


I am so confused! I do frequently find myself in this state, I admit, but I have decided to admit to this confusion, and confront it. I also believe there may be others I know - artistic and creative types - who will recognize and relate to my confusion. 

It started (or this 'episode' of confusion did) with a few photos of my grandchildren I want to sketch. I generally have a block about sketching people I know, because I am rarely satisfied with the end product. So I decided to sketch total strangers. I have had an app on my iPad for quite awhile, called Sktchy. People post photos of themselves there, and artists sketch them and post the sketches next to the photo inspiration.  I don't totally understand all the ins and outs of the app, but yesterday I posted the above sketch, and within an hour it was a 'Sktchy Pick' (still not sure what that means) and at this point, less than 24 hours later, the sketch has 170 'Wow's' (the Sketchy equivalent of a FaceBook 'Like')  and I have 36 'followers,' and several people have asked me to please sketch them.

Great - right? That was my first thought. But then the shy person in me cropped up. Why do I care if all these people I don't know like my sketch? I got 'protective,'  thinking I don't want to have to please a bunch of strangers, and all these 'wows' puts pressure on what I post in the future, doesn't it? But then I thought, well that's just silly! Most of the folks who see my art in exhibits are strangers; most of the folks who have purchased my art are strangers. That is true for most artists. It just seems strange to me, I guess, to do this on social media. It seems like an ego thing - like I'm posting it for the 'likes' and 'wows.' And I guess, in some ways I am. I have seen several artists make their reputations on social media. With fewer galleries out there to put our art in, perhaps this is the only way for an artist to go anymore... Get all the 'likes and wows' you can, then start sticking price tags on your online work.

At any rate, this morning I did another Sktchy sketch. I had found two women with ukeleles, and wanted to sketch them on facing pages in my sketchbook. I have not yet posted this sketch on Sktchy. I think I'll let the other sketch get lost in the crowd of new works first (it is still getting 'wows!')

I did enjoy doing both sketches. I did them simply and quickly. No gimmicks;  just ink, watercolor pencils, and a black marker. I think that is what I like about them, and maybe what others like as well, the simplicity of them. And just maybe the fun I had doing them shows up, as well. I hope so.

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