Chasing Algorithyms

What do we, as artists do, for the common good of our fellow artists, using social media? The wonderful team at Amanda Woods Design the design company doing an amazing job of promoting Noosa Open Studios got us all together to explain how it’s done. By promoting ourselves and other artists via the Noosa Open Studios social media pages and through our own pages, we are growing both our individual audience and the Noosa Open Studios ‘brand’, thereby making what is already a very popular event in Noosa even bigger. Sounded reasonable to me.

So, even though I struggle to regularly blog and post, or look at other people’s posts and like and comment, I’m making a special effort for the next month – for the common good and for myself. It’s hard. The photos and art sites on my instagram account grow exponentially. Being flooded with so much stuff makes me feel overwhelmed rather than inspired. I probably missed the one that I really would have enjoyed or wanted to look into a little further. Maybe I’ve failed to see something special from a dear friend because I’m always scrolling so furiously to catch up.

But there’s another difficulty for me. If I’m going to be effective, I need to make myself into a name that people want to be associated with. I have to be memorable, I need to let my audience know what I do, and make it sound absolutely fascinating. Given all this, it goes without saying that my artwork will be highly prized, coverted and very much in demand.

OK where do I start?

Suggestion # 1 from the experts. A good catchy bio that grabs attention and summarises what you do. Who am I and what do I do? Blank. Total panic. I know not who I am. That phrase sends me down a rabbit hole looking at quotes from a seventeeth century Punjabi Sufi poet called Bulleh Shah. I’ve got distracted. That’s the whole problem I have with social media. But at least I know that WordPress has the algorithym thing in hand; a WordPress site comes up close to the top when I google “I know not who I am.’

Suggestion #2 from the experts. Check out social media influencers and other artists, see what they do and say about themselves. If you like their style adopt it but make it your own.

I’m sorry, the term social influencers conjures up tight dresses and too much make-up, cleavage and Botox. I know there’s more to it than that but like so many others (apparently) I can’t get past that image. So I start looking at what some of my fellow artists have to say about themselves. Here’s the list of key words:

Award winning
Represented in National and International collections
Represented by Gallery xxx
Winner of xxx
Works acquired by (big name, corporation)
xxx solo exhibitions
Internationally renowned (better still)

None of them apply to me.

Well, how about my style? (I hate it when people ask.) Oh for a suffix that neatly and precisely describes what I do. None of the “isms” fit – not Impressionism, Realism, Hyper-Realism, Epressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, to name a few..

The closest I can get to an “ism” is experimentalism. I have an idea or a feeling and look for a visual way to express it or communicate something about it. Sometimes I’m not even aware of exactly what it is that I’m communicating because it won’t go into words, that’s why it’s a painting or a collage or some other visual form. But sometimes words find their way into the visual field. Not sure that experimentalism is it either.

Now that I’ve concluded that there’s absolutely no point in creating some sort of snappy impressive artist persona or description, I’m not stressing about the social media imperative to say who I am or what I do. I’ll just do what I do, as I always have. And as for Noosa Open Studios, I will welcome anyone who comes, with no expectations whatsoever. 

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