“When everything is measured in terms of engagement, content will be optimized for addictiveness. Not entertainment or artistic merit. Not intellectual substance or creativity. Pure, plain addictiveness. That means we, the consumers, get a higher quantity of more predictable, less innovative, less interesting art in our lives.” – Mark Manson
This quote has impressed me deeply and touched a part of me that resonates with being an artist and an art lover. I have always felt that creating a piece of art – a painting, a sculpture, a costume etc. – would be beneficial to both the artist and the beholder, in a way that could enrich their worlds. But as it turns out, creating an original artwork is just the beginning (and the least frustrating part) of what continues with a whole “ritual”: presenting it to the world, posting it online, creating a story and marketing it in a way that potential buyers and art lovers could take an interest in. And you want it to succeed! You want your artwork – your “baby” – to find a home where it can be cherished and valued as much as you cherish and value it. You want it to be addictive for the rest of the world.
There are so many layers that surround the work of an artist. Let’s take the case of a woman who has a family – a supportive husband, two gorgeous children, a good job at an international corporation. She suddenly comes to the conclusion that she’s always loved art, she was so good at painting when she was little and she’d like to give it a try and start over. What we are unaware of is the fact that she’s had this desire in her mind for quite some time now, but she was too afraid to do it. Family expectations, societal pressure, the number of women who actually resist and succeed in the art world… everything seemed to be set against her. But she did it anyway. And now, the untold truth of the art world stares her in the face: there are 24 hours in a day and she has to cover multiple “shifts”. She needs to be there for her kids, to help them get dressed, eat, do their homework, play nice, learn new things, explore. She needs to find time and patience for seemingly insignificant household duties that keep the house (and the family) running. Her parents seem disappointed with her recent choices, but try to be supportive. Her husband helps her set up a small studio in the house, where she can have enough space and light in order to express herself artistically. And when she finally does it, when the time comes to show her artwork to the world… the Instagram algorithms deceive her and the impact that she wanted to have evaporates under her very eyes.
Unfortunately, today’s world is measured in terms of engagement. We find ourselves zapping mindlessly through our news channels, numbingly clicking on the next YouTube or TikTok video, scrolling on Instagram and feeling emptier than ever at the end of the day. So how can ONE piece of art, how can one painting create that feeling of amazement, of wonder in the eye of the beholder? I think that the age of individualism (as hyped and advertised as it once was) seems to fade, slowly but surely, in the face of a newfound strength – collaboration and unification of artists under a brand or a platform. It may take years for this to become the norm, but the strength we have as artists comes primarily from an understanding that we are human, we are people with the same problems, fears, joys and fulfilments as the rest of them out there. And the Global Artists Atelier is a great place to start connecting and engaging in real, long lasting activities in this incredible art world of the 21st century.
This article is by Raluca - Find her on Instagram @visual_artifacts_of_life
Raluca is a Founding Member of The Global Artists Atelier...a community where visual artists improve their craft and their careers.