Why If You Want To Succeed As An Artist You Must First Be Instafamous
Art

Why If You Want To Succeed As An Artist You Must First Be Instafamous

Avatar of Maria Suarez

By: Maria Suarez

March 27, 2017

Art Why If You Want To Succeed As An Artist You Must First Be Instafamous
Avatar of Maria Suarez

By: Maria Suarez

March 27, 2017


We follow them, we see them being regrammed by someone we follow, we see them in our search feed: Instagram accounts of emerging artists. Whether it’s their personal account that mixes pictures of their dogs, getting all their brushes and paints ready, and then the finished work, or one that only includes the pieces up for sale or being exhibited, this is the new breed of creators. Gone are the days when promotion was done by agents, galleries, and curators. The artist of the twenty-first century needs to be their own publicist, strategist, social media expert, and reporter. They need to wear all these hats apart from the one directly related to their esthetic.

 




This of course comes with pros and cons. The arguments for this new kind of emergence revolve around a more democratic way of artist discovery. Under the old model anyone who was unable to move to one of the artistic cities, go to school at a fancy art school, or even get to meet people in the industry, was doomed to not receive the recognition they wanted. However, now social media has made it possible for someone on the opposite side of the world, with zero connections, to be seen. It’s no guarantee, but it’s less expensive compared to uprooting to go to where the important people are.



A post shared by Romina Becker (@romy_glo) on



But people who are not as happy about this situation claim this “cheapens” art. The creator becomes a puppet of the system, too focused on the business to focus on his works. Can you imagine Van Gogh having to remind himself when to post? What about Monet keeping a camera by his side as he painted the water lilies in the pond? Picasso would’ve accompanied his pieces by adding every third picture the image of his female du jour.


Once upon a time... #tbt #cdmx #streetarteverywhere

A post shared by Romina Becker (@romy_glo) on



In her piece for The Independent, titled "Art for Instagram – is social media ruining art?," Holly Williams argues that, “The risk is that art, instead, becomes a mere tool of our narcissism, the equivalent of a flattering filter, making us appear more attractive, more hip.” She talks about Yayoi Kusama’s work, which seems made for social media. She speaks about going to a gallery and seeing people looking at the work through the screen of their phones, desperately eager to post it on social media with the appropriate hashtag. While I suppose many artists are grateful for the shout-out, there’s a slight guilt creeping into the back of our minds regarding if this is truly okay or not.

 

In an opinion piece with Vice, artist Brad Phillips speaks of how his account has earned him visibility that has led to several people buying his work, as well as shows and a book. But he also claims that the downside is being susceptible to censorship and having work taken down after being flagged as inappropriate. He talks about his images being appropriated by others, at times giving him credit, at times another person is taking the credit. It’s gotten to the point that: “Because my account has been flagged and deleted three times before, I now have to look at everyone who follows me. I have to block anyone who says they love God or posts photos of their kids. I fear they're the snitches who flag my photos and since Instagram doesn't tell you what's been removed or flagged it's frustrating to try and figure out exactly what's offended who.”

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her #romy_glo #rominabecker

A post shared by Romina Becker (@romy_glo) on




Ultimately, this is probably the saddest part. Self-censoring and having to be judge and jury to who can see your work. I myself tried to go on to Phillips’ account but aside from finding a private account, his bio claimed he was a night manager at a Florida Olive Garden. I imagined I’d clicked on the wrong Brad Phillips until I went on the website link also on the bio and found the visual artist’s works, as well as information about him from everywhere except the Southern State. I hesitated on whether to request to follow him on Instagram, since my account might be seen as too colorful and childish.  Then again, perhaps I’m not Phillips’ market. Is this online platform allowing him to weed out likely buyers from those of us who are “just looking”?




So far we’ve covered the general artist arena and those who are interested in followers who are actually artistically savvy. But let’s make a case study now on the real emerging artists who use social media as their doubling down way of breaking into the industry. The images that have accompanied most of this article are from the account of Romina Becker, aka @romy_glo. This is what we typically think of when we’re measuring the good and the bad about Instagram as a curator or agent. What the public loves is to see images of the person who does the art doing equally artsy and non artsy things. They want to see her going on vacation, walking her pets. They’re also curious about her studio and process. And, of course, the main reason they follow her is to see her work. At just over 1,700 followers, Becker is at a different stage than Phillips. Yet, maybe that’s the point. Phillips has reached a point where he can choose to select who can see his work, since he’s found his niche. Young artists need to find that niche. Who knows perhaps their followers are on a different continent than them. But at least that’s how they’ll find each other.

Il mio cuore sempre é stato in disordine.. #rominaBecker 2/2

A post shared by Romina Becker (@romy_glo) on


Like with anything related to current technology, the key is to find a balance as well as the best use according to their lifestyle and purpose. Maybe there’s an artist who refuses to use social media and is braving it on their own through the traditional channels. Perhaps there’s an amazing artist who only has 10 followers, eight being directly related to them. Does that make their work more or less relevant? In my opinion, neither. Every artist has their own journey, which will eventually result in their legacy. Perhaps that’s what matters, finding the best path that allows them to continue to create while finding their place in the artistic world.



The conversation regarding the place of art in the technological world reaches other genres aside from visual art. Could bots make human poets irrelevant? What if a poem on your social media got you arrested?

 

 

Sources: 

New American Paintings
Vice
The Independent
Brad Phillips' Instagram and Website
Romina Becker's Instagram










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