Coming to terms with making art in the age of social media

by Megan Yates

Artists today are both blessed and cursed with the world of social media. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and personal websites make artwork readily accessible to the public. In this day and age, we have the ability to exchange and share information faster and more easily than ever before. Even the little guy’s art has the ability to be seen by anyone in the world with just a few taps on the screen of their phone. The sheer power of social media can be stifling at times, like shouting into the abyss. In a time where it feels like everyone is trying to make a name for themselves, what makes me special? Or is my work special at all?

Everyday I am figuring out how to answer those questions. The first step to feeling like my art has genuine value was deciding to stop comparing myself to other artists. This was especially hard when using social media to promote my art because there are literal numbers in the form of follower count and likes that can be used to compare myself to others. With the wealth of information at our fingertips, it’s easy to say “it’s already been done.” I find it helpful to remind myself that what matters is that it has yet to be done by ME.

No matter the media you work with, as an artist in 2018, you have to also be a photographer, a social media expert, and a personality worth paying attention to. All the facets of social media can be overwhelming. I find myself feeling as if I have to be a master of all of them. Do I need a theme? How often should I post? How much of my personal life and interests should I share with my audience? Finding the balance is an everyday challenge. I try to keep a balance with creating a brand but still being authentic to who I am as a person.

Social media can be a huge stressor. I find myself continually exploring ideas of what I can do better. Growth is a good thing, but there is a line between exploration and torture. I have found that I love being a part of a community of artists in the real world with Arte Soliel. Joining the core creatives group has given me a tangible outlet to connect with artists near me. Arte Soliel has made a place for me in the community alongside some vary talented people. As I learn everyday what I want my presence online to be, my real life presence is influenced by these talented artists. It is so nice to be a part of a community of artists that can identify with the struggles of promoting your work on social media. I urge others to make these in-person connections, to establish a support network and further encourage one another’s art. Navigating social media as an artist can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone.

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