"The intoxication of fleeting online acknowledgement has led many artists down a path that diverges from their true creative calling. The pressure to conform to trends dictated by algorithms and the desire for viral success have compromised the authenticity of artistic expression. In this whirlwind of digital noise, the artist risks losing their way, swept up in a current that pulls them further from the core of their creativity."
I could leave it at that.
But here's where these last few months have taken me:
I dedicated myself to enriching my online art life, tirelessly working on my website. I eagerly started this blog, committing to write every few weeks. I created a steady stream of wonderful images, some of which I feel are my best yet. I posted, updated my website with each new piece and attempted to engage in several other media sites for artists but found myself resisting the pressure to spread myself digitally all over the place. Nevertheless, I worked hard to bring my art online and establish a business. I was excited and motivated.
Then, a perfect storm: Internal pressure for blog deadlines began to feel stressful, freezing my writing creativity. While that part of me was frozen, artistic creativity flowed abundantly, and I got into a nice rhythm of creating pieces I genuinely liked. I created, posted, created, posted, getting swallowed by the allure and demands of social media: post - get acknowledgement - post - get acknowledgement...lather rinse repeat. My focus became creating pieces for social media, a common practice for artists and photographers, but it ended up sabotaging my deeper creative flow. I felt pressured to produce consistently, post, and monitor if people were viewing, responding or buying. Then that started feeling stale, and my creative juices froze.
I felt engulfed by social media pressures, striving to stay constantly relevant and attempting to keep up with artists more prolific than I am. I felt more alienated in my groups where artists are creating more and more complex work due to AI influences, deviating from the original focus of the groups which was using ones own photography for creating art. I was getting lost in digital noise.
Fortunately, it was in seeing the contrast between the demands and trends of the digital world verses my own creative experience, that I was able to pull back.
Artists want our work seen, and we strive to display it wherever we can to expand our audience for some degree of notoriety and, ideally, income. However, what I've discovered is that for me, at this point in time, the bandwidth required to market myself and spread across multiple media sites takes me out of my creative flow. Being creative has to be my highest priority. I am not hungry for followers; more than market potential, I want to deepen my creative process. I am rejecting the high-pressure online trends and am retreating back into my truest creative love: photographic art and working with my hands, with tangible materials in the real world.
I've had three projects on the back burner for years: a collection of quirky funky boxes that I've been collecting with the vision of mounting images on them, 2 planks of termite-eaten wood that my dad and I found in a scrap pile and put together that I want to mount images on, and a collection of wooden box frames also designed for mounting. All of these projects have been sitting in my cabinets gathering dust while I raced with myself to keep up with the digital world.
The race is over - I'm taking my creative energies in a different direction. I will slow myself down and learn the image mounting process, expecting a steep learning curve. I'll take my time and make as many mistakes as it takes for me to master this technique without worrying about needing to post so people will see my work - so that I’ll “stay relevant.” I'll plant my hands and creative essence back into the tangible world of wood and prints.
I'll eagerly display these pieces (for sale) on my site when completed. I'm not walking away from creating and posting new images or writing, but I'm not locking myself into committing to it either.
I wanted to write this to avoid seeming flaky or being one of the millions of people who eagerly start a blog then just drop out of site. So, this is my official declaration that my creative process has taken a new and exciting trajectory. I'll be around as the desire calls to me. For now I have a huge stash of wooden boxes that are waiting to be cleaned, sanded and adorned.
Rediscovering Essence: Emerging from Digital Chaos is the theme for 2024: Less digital noise - More authentic art & photography.