When it comes to being an artist, I’m not a fan of social media. If you read my views concerning Instagram and using it to get follows and likes, you probably gathered this already. But, in a climate of so many creaters, its probably crossed your mind once or twice to just down tools, and find something else to do. Or, maybe you’ve been tempted to sacrifice what makes your work unique for something more uniform, more sharable. More potentially viral.
This has happened to too many. Sometimes, a born artist just isn’t a born advertiser of their own work. Maybe modesty gets in the way, or the paranoia that many will say you think you’re better than you are puts you off. For me, self promotion is just a nightmare, and I can’t do it. I can’t be one of those people who sends out their own work to the personal accounts of potential audience members. I tried it once to see how it went, and I just felt like a double glazing sales person.
On the flip side, I also question why being an artist means, to other people, that you should get your art out there. Now, hear me out. I know what you’re thinking, what is the point? What is the point in creating artwork if you’re the only person who sees it, or at most, the friends and family who follow you on your Facebook page?
The thing is, self promotion can be exhausting. I’ve said it before, I think some artists *ahem content farms ahem* but more effort into social media and making sharable content than actually putting effort and passion into their work. Its disheartening to say the least, but you shouldn’t stop.
So why should you keep creating, even if you don’t want to advertise?
1. Its nice to have a talent – I love creating. Its something I’ve always done, and it’s one source of self pride I have when I feel a bit rubbish. Whether it’s painting, sketching or pottery, I’ve always found myself feeling much better after doing something; as long as you like it and feel proud, what else matters?
2. An outlet – creating can relieve stress. Whether its a mindful exercise or just something to take your mind away from something causing you anxiety, having that time away to just make something with your own skill can be highly cathartic.
3. It doesn’t mean you can’t make money – over the last few months I’ve had a few commissions; birds, family portraits, and pet portraits. Sometimes, family can be very useful for singing your praises, and soon the requests start rolling in.
4. Its not how it used to be – one of the most widely used anecdotes artists use to console their lack of sales is that Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime, to a man called Julien Tanguey. But we are not in Van Gogh’s lifetime, and now, so many styles and methods are accepted that if Van Gogh were of today’s generation, his success may have been different. Who knows. Its mere speculation. But, again, there’s just so many artists battling for follows, recognition, views… who knows whether Van Gogh’s work would have been so unique and distinctive in today’s climate?
5. It might happen one day, so keep going – as arduous as it might be, if you’re that sure you want to get recognition, then just keep going. Stick to your principles and style, don’t be afraid to try new things if that’s what you want to do. Work up your portfolio, and stay true to yourself. Utilise your imagination. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to stumble across you.
6. You can still inspire – a couple of months ago, I went to London in something I can only describe as escaping. I just felt generally rubbish, and needed a change of scenery, people, all that. One day, I was walking around a very quiet National Gallery, and got a ping through Facebook. Someone had spotted the below painting on a page, and she was asking permission to try and recreate it. It was a lovely moment, and I was more than happy to give permission.