There are a million ways to share art, from doodling on a public bathroom door, to performing in a massive theater for thousands, or hanging a piece in someone's living room, or art gallery. But one that has quickly moved into the forefront of discovery and creation is social networking.
I know, I know. It's become an overused and annoying hot-word. Who doesn't have a Facebook, or Google + or something? Despite the increasingly negative connotation given to such things, artists are being discovered every day. The very definition of fame has changed immensely. Here at Nomad Nouvelle, we track down a good chunk of our artists through social media networks, spending more hours than we'd care to admit flipping through photo albums and creeping on News Feeds.
Ten years ago, an artist could feel seen if he found himself hanging a piece in a busy gallery. A singer felt seen when the bar was packed with a line out the door. These things, of course, have not changed for many, but with YouTube and viral marketing, there are plenty of performers who have been viewed by the thousands before ever setting foot on a stage, and this is certainly not limited to any one particular genre of art.
Kids on the streets peddling fliers and hand outs have been traded in for event invites and countless reminders from every network possible. All in all, it can feel a little overwhelming, even for the people who are supposed to benefit from it. Countless artists have told us in their interviews about how much setting up posts and writing a million messages every day can get beyond wearying.
This goes both ways, as people even avoid liking their favorite artists or adding their arts active friends all because the clog it causes. When each weekend becomes sorting out which one of fifteen different events you want to go to, the whole thing seems too much energy. After all, isn't it supposed to be about having fun and getting a quick glimpse into the lives of those you care for?
On the flip side, I see huge potential for art with social media. There are musicians who can collaborate without ever having to meet; a handy trick when you're separated by an entire country, if not an ocean. Dancers teach lessons over Skype, and painters, sculptors and all manner of other craftsmen can sell their wares. This very blog would not exist if it weren't for social media.
As much as it has the potential to suck the soul of out you, social media has done a lot for the world. Some bad, of course, but I think largely, it has improved the way art is viewed, how many people get to see art who would ordinarily never see it, and even, at least to some degree, the ability of artists to find others to work with, and importantly, an audience that connects with their specific image.
So next time you're secretly reading Facebook instead of working, like a new artist, share a new page, and hey, maybe even give us a shout out. ;)