Updated: Nov 19
It has been 2 years since I quit social media as an artist. In fact, quitting social media seemed to be a popular topic in the art community for a while. I have seen so many new blog posts and YouTube videos from artists about quitting social media and it really feels like there is a growing community of artists and creatives online who are quitting/cutting back on social media.
Finding New Ways of Connecting With People
We all talk about quitting, and the initial freedom that we feel when we finally hit that delete button, but what about after?
We are forced to find a new way of operating, conducting business, and sharing our art with the outside world. This requires thinking outside of the box and finding other ways of connecting with people around art.
I still think that one of the best ways to engage with people in the art community is to visit a local gallery, or a craft fair and start up a conversation.
Which I know is scary, I am mostly introverted and don't tend to strike up conversations with strangers, but it really helps to be on friendly terms with your local gallery owner! You can also connect with other artists online by sending a personal email, or on Reddit. While Reddit has it's own share of social media-like tendencies, I have been able to connect with the most "real" artists and people on here and there are countless sub-reddits devoted entirely to art.
Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of virtually connecting with two artists over our experiences with quitting social media.
One of these artists was Gwenn Seemel, who reached out to me and eight other artists for an interview about our experiences quitting social media. Gwenn also quit social media and has been working successfully as a full time artist for almost 20 years. I also love the anti-Instagram/Twitter icons that you will see in place of the normal social icons at the bottom Gwenn's website! You can read the article or watch the video here.
Anti Instagram / Twitter icons from Gwenn Seemel's website.
Ups and Downs
I've had many ups and downs since I decided to leave social media. I have had times where I doubted if I made the right decision, I've felt lonely, frustrated, and out of the loop. However, I have also found more freedom to be creative and it feels great to be out of the rat race for attention.
Although social media had mainly a negative influence on my life and relationships, there were some positives from the platform. Posting my art on Instagram was a huge external motivator for me to create art. Sadly, I created way more art during those years than I think I ever have. However, I don't necessarily think that being motivated by getting likes or increasing your following is healthy, or sustainable.
If you are constantly creating art for the purpose of gaining a following and receiving validation from others, you will eventually lose touch with yourself and your personal, internal motivations for creating art. I love this video by artist and YouTuber Ergojosh, where he explains how our motivations can cause us to fall into artist's block, and how we can work to strengthen our "internal motivators" to create art.
Slower Year, But Not in a Bad Way
I will be honest here, this last year for art has been a little slower for me for art sales and has presented a lot of challenge. I have been taking much longer to finish paintings and have had two on my easel for a year or more now. Part of this is due to a lot of major changes in my personal life (I moved, bought my first house and started a new day job!)
However, I have been trying new and difficult subjects that I am less familiar with like portraits and fantasy-themed art which does take longer. Instead of sticking with what was safe and what I am good at, I have dared to explore different and unfamiliar subjects. I definitely feel like I wouldn't have time for exploring new ideas when I was focused on growing my Instagram.
I will be honest, this hasn't resulted in a lot of sales or attention, but it has helped me to grow as an artist and develop my skill, which is what I think we should be focusing on as artists rather than gaining a huge following.
This piece below was one of the first fantasy/portrait paintings that I finished last year. It is not my best painting to date and I found it really challenging to the point of almost giving up, but I finished it in the end and learned something, so it was a win for me!
"Maiden of Night" 11x14in Oil on Board - based off of "The Moon" Tarot card from the Raider Waite Tarot deck.
Anyway, thank you if you are reading this and as always feel free to leave a comment, or reach out to me personally!