I have been thinking a lot recently about all that's required of artists today. I know that it's never been easy to be an artist throughout history, but it seems that artists today have to wear more hats than before. A standard artist today has to utilize a large array of digital capabilities in order to make a name for himself or herself.
The advantage that we all have nowadays is that we can connect with a huge number of other artists or other avenues for opportunity. I have personally taken great advantage of this in order to network with some brilliant people and to build my career. But that ease of communication has disadvantages also. I, personally, have a few email accounts and I have a number of communications going on all the time: students to communicate with alongside junk mail, advertisements, etc. An important email from someone could easily slip through the cracks and the prospect of that disturbs me. When I really want to say something important, I either make a phone call or send a letter.
But what can you do to alleviate some pressure? Well, I have taken steps to find a middle path to allow myself some quiet to work on my own projects. I don't do social media because I personally think it's an addictive waste of time and causes depression; social media and other such sites never gave me any distinct results. The only real results that I've gotten have been through directly reaching out to individuals and asking for help. Personally, I also don't enjoy being on the computer a lot and I don't like texting because it feels like a very cheap form of communication. BUT, even if you're the most skilled painter on earth, you'll never be successful if you live like a hermit in a cave. I guess there's also different definitions of what is "successful".
I needed to adapt to also teach online and it's been a fun and educational transition, but it wasn't easy. I needed to learn about how to use Zoom and how to do virtual critiques. I really spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to teach online. I'm definitely not a luddite, but I like to have a more humanist approach to teaching, art and life.
I recently went through my entire site and reorganized things in order to remove old work and unnecessary information. I now have examples of my best work and basic information on here. I was feeling a pressure to keep a digital catalogue of my work, which started to become a real headache. I honestly don't enjoy digital photography and photographing my work because I feel like it doesn't do justice to my original paintings and drawings; I discussed some of the reasons why in my last post. I let all of that digital baggage go and now I feel way better.
The problem is that it's no longer enough to just be a painter; maybe it has never been enough to be just a painter. The truth is that unless you hire someone to handle your digital work, then you'll need to figure out how to handle it yourself. That's not a bad thing either (I had a lot of fun figuring out how to build my own website). I still enjoy writing on this blog and I've had students, patrons and fans find me through this site so I see the benefits of it. I guess it's all a balance like everything in the world.