This is a first in a series of writings I’ve been posting on other platforms (the ones that don’t let you in unless you give them your data). I will be working on moving those out of their jails and put it out in the open web. This particular bit was done as a response to the social media burnout folks were feeling at the tail end of the active pandemic in 2022 (I know we are not in the clear yet, but hey :shrug:)
Most of the creative world has been stuck hamster wheeling against algorithms that we don’t have control over (update in 2023: even more so, with the rise of GANs)
We have all been put in an unfortunate position to cow tow to the demands and constraints of social platforms, none of which care two bits about art, culture, society, us, and at least when talking about bigger ones – even their own employees. They just want their pound of content for their feed.
I definitely appreciate how more and more people have been getting the chance to get involved, get their creativity out, whether it’s in the form of sketching, beatmaking, coding, cooking, knitting, sculpting or even dancing. I am one of the people who found some of my voice from it. And we got all of this almost for “free” (or at least some version of free) All the inspiring movements like #jamuary, #gemuary, #dailyposts and many others have helped so many to commit to a consistent practice schedule, meditate on their niche, explore new ideas, and even find old as well as new audiences. So many folks who didn’t think of themselves as, or were too afraid to be called artists have found that they could play on a bigger stage than what they do at their regular jobs
As one of the people who has practiced these methods for his own work (and promotion), I genuinely get why everyone got on the bandwagon, but (and it’s a big but) I’ve often found myself (and others) struggle with creative blocks, dragging myself through the grind of making “new content”, sometimes rehashing new ideas in new packaging and passing it off as the new thing, just because I was too busy, tired or uninspired to make anything worthwhile
The core idea was, do daily sketches, try out oblique strategies, spend five minutes everyday exploring, and use the hundreds of other methods other creatives have been using for decades to improve, get feedback, and strengthen chops. What a lot of us forget is to make sure it’s in the service of conscious learning, and growth, and not letting it taking over our lives, and sanity.
Being prolific is great, if you have the time, mindset and the systems it requires to really be prolific. Being industrious is great if you are an artisan, a factory worker, or anyone who can show their productivity on an elaborate portfolio and a neatly organised checklist. But sometimes you need time to sit with it, time to think about what you have just made. There is limited value in always being in a rush to release all your ideas out into the world before they are fully baked.
Feedback loops are great, but you need time to analyse, time to ruminate, time to let it age before you start thinking of getting likes, comments, and criticism from randos of the world. You might not even get anything back because no one really understood what you were trying to say, show, or feel.
I do understand that not everyone is in the privileged position to be able to take a step back. It requires a lot of hard work to develop an audience, some would say more work goes into getting people to see your art than probably even making it in the first place.
However if you are in the sweet spot of your practice, where you are making enough money, have enough people who know about your work, do yourself a favour and stop this cycle of self abuse from the social media gods.
(Becoming an influencer is not the only way to promote your art)
Own the algorithm, don’t get pwned by it (or at least try to until the machines rise up)