Today I drew this little pencil mouse, hiding shyly behind a fallen leaf.
I have been thinking a lot about social media, the great wide world of the internet and how everything seems to be so very public these days. It’s an odd thing to behold for a privacy loving introvert like myself, yet it’s something that has made sense for me to embrace as an artist. What better way to share my work with a wide variety of people as well as engage with my ‘tribe’ on a global scale?
Yet I have never been comfortable with being the centre of attention, much preferring to observe what’s going on around me or remain in my own little world. I have found that the internet is actually a great gift in this regard. I can put my workings and the thoughts behind them out there for all the world to see from the safety of my studio, like the little mouse in my drawing peeking out from behind his leaf.
Still, it’s something I continue to struggle with, particularly with the question of how much of myself do I share. I’m in awe of artists who so deftly share their work alongside personal revelations about who they are as people all the while maintaining their privacy. I suppose Im much better at sharing my thoughts and opinions than I am with the actual happenings of my life, particularly as it relates to those things that I feel strongly about.
The internet is both a place of public sharing and hiding in plain sight. A place where you create the content of your life whether it’s in excruciatingly vivid detail or vaguely poetic terms, and I’m still working on where my own place is on that scale. I suppose I feel that I owe it to those who have taken an interest in my art (and my life) to engage on a deeper, more meaningful level, for this whole business of art is so much more than racking up the sales. When someone contacts me with their own feelings about how and why a painting or drawing of mine has touched them I find it deeply moving – I am honoured and it actually means more in real life terms than the actual sale. This in itself is a challenge for me to let other artists know when their work speaks to me in some way, as I don’t always do so.
Those relationships that have I have formed with other creatives in the vast space that is the World Wide Web have taught me that I’m not the only one who is reticent about being a real person in a virtual world. In this age of social media and rapidly receding levels of privacy I think we all have to find the right balance with how much we are comfortable sharing publicly about ourselves as well as what is appropriate.
What is clear to me, however, is that whatever is revealed of ourselves in any measure must be authentic. The energy expended in the effort to create the right image or project the ideal persona is ultimately futile and is better spent on the making of actual art, in any form, and the living of a real life. Better to be wholly yourself and to make small and significant connections than to gather a horde of ‘fans’ based on a fabrication.
But above all, in order to be, never try to seem.
And so the journey to embrace being both public and private continues. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as while I endeavor to form my own…