The digital age is not just on the rise, it is here. We are living it. Information, Art, Networking, and Resources have become more accessible than ever before. All it takes is a Google search and you might be able to find the general answer to your question. One simple hashtag search on Instagram and you can find unlimited resources for viewing art.
But to me, we lose a bit of the meaning of the art when we are looking at it in a pixelated flat realm. There is much to be gained from exposing ourselves to art. A picture of a painting will never show the buildup of paint, the layers, or the repeated brush strokes put into a piece of art. It can’t show the smell of the canvas or give you the vibes of its history.
Sure, the internet has made seeing art less time consuming. It has made it accessible for those of us sitting at our desk jobs looking for a break between the typing and the blank gray walls of a cubicle. But at the end of the day, what you are looking at on Instagram is an image of a whole process. Seeing art will change how it is interpreted and if you are like me, it will change you.
As an artist, I am a little disenfranchised by Instagram. I go deeper into this in a confession about why I feel that way during a Wine, Workshops, and Weirdos episode with EverGray Media, but even after reviewing my confession about it, I think I missed a key point in my confession:
Instagram crutches us into decidedly being anti-social.
Nearly everyone on the platform will post something on Instagram and then will obsessively check if the post resonated with the community that they might have built online. This isn’t about sharing a message or art. It’s not about honoring the process of the work or the even experiencing the art. It’s cognitive dissonance. It’s an on purpose need to feel discomfort and question your art practice.
Now, I will admit, that I still post on Instagram. You can go on my page and you will see that I do post and there is more than one picture or snapshot of my life with art or my artwork. But underneath each photo, there is a rant to be read. My intention with Instagram is like a public journal of thoughts, images, and personality. I hope that people will engage with my journaling, but if they don’t, well, they don’t. My Instagram is me trying to record my artistic process on a public platform the best way I can. And I might be making crap work that not many people like, but I know in my heart of hearts that I am engaged within my process of unfolding and it is constantly changing me.
In order for art to change others, they have to interact with the artists.
This past week I have been to see multiple different exhibitions. Some famous, some local shows, and some not so famous at all shows. I have never seen a Salvador Dali work until I went to the Monsters & Myths Art Exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. I had seen images of it on Instagram, even the internet. I had engaged with the technique and the talent of his completed works. But when I arrived in BMA and stood in front of his works, I literally felt like I was ill. I thought I might crawl into a corner and cry. The depressive tone and traumatic images of his work are expressed through the colors he chooses. The colors he chose that were not high-resolution pictures of them. The real colors. I sat there gaping in front of his works and my soul sister that was with me pulled me off to engage with the next painting in the exhibition.
We engage with the artist’s process when we are seeing the work in person.
Have you ever followed an artist for a long time on Instagram and then bumped into them in real life? Were they everything their online presence conveys? No way!
Even my own online presence might give a different message for who I am when you meet me. My online presence says I am a deep thinking, artistic, introverted, magical soul. My real-life presence is actually extremely loud. I may be all those things that someone has seen about me online, but online doesn’t translate the loudness. It doesn’t translate the commanding presence that I just naturally convey (Thanks, Aries Rising). And you might like that about me when you meet me in person or you might not, but you would never learn that about me unless we interacted at an art show or met up for coffee.
We can learn so much from art and artists if we see them in person.
I once bumped into a friend of mine that I had been following on Instagram for some time. Her artwork and her color palettes have always really inspired me. I finally made it my mission to go to her art gallery and when I did, I had no idea that her works were HUGE. I mean…. FREAKING HUGE. They were almost the size of the Giant that came down the beanstalk. I soaked their presence in even more and I just sat there in awe. How did I miss this from Instagram? I mean… why wouldn’t I? How could their size be translated into a 10x10 pixelated square? I left her gallery even more in aw of who she was and what she was doing with her work. I just felt so much love for her journey.
Art presents Inspiration. It makes us alive. It wakes up our cold sleeping hearts and unveils our joy.
So, the next time you are scrolling Instagram, scroll for the promo for your favorite artist’s next art reception and get out there. There is more than likely free wine, a break from the routine of your day, and even more special, there is art freshly varnished and excited to meet you.
Did this post inspire you? Are you on the same artistic journey? Are you an art collector? Share your thoughts down in the comments below, or share with your friends. Follow me on Instagram @mel.bikowski