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
Renowned
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. 

Mt Buffalo Calls

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Walking at Mt Buffolo in Victoria’s alpine region today fired up my passion for mountain landscapes again. The white snow gums, massive boulders, flat marshy dells, multitude of leaf shapes and colours, so evocative, yet so difficult to grasp their quality. Last year I took photos of the white skeletons of trees with the intention of doing some painting. There was no magic in the photos, which eventually got deleted to trash.

As we drove up the mountain, the play of light on the bleached stick-like remains of trees captivated me.  I thought of  arts writer Nicholas Rothwell’s review of Fred Williams work in last weekend’s Australian newspaper. Rothwell noted that Williams bought a new interpretation to the Australian landscape. What Williams omitted is fundamental his vision; there is no human reference point to determine scale or distance, no foreground, and no detail in the tree forms.

Rothwell likened William’s perception to the experience of landscape from a car. The carefully placed grid lines in some of his works could be seen as references to either fence lines or roads. And it was precisely this idea of landscape from a car that prompted me to stop to take this ‘car view’ photo.

It’s a pity I won’t be in Melbourne while visiting Victoria as a quick trip to see the Fred Williams exhibition currently on at the Geelong Art Gallery would definitely be on the agenda. Do doubt this would give me more inspiration, for I really do love the way Williams interprets the Australian landscape. Though busy working  on a series for the forthcoming Expressions Exhibition I will ‘park’ these ideas for future exploration.

 

Mt Buffalo Calls

IMG_2062.JPG

Walking at Mt Buffolo in Victoria’s alpine region today fired up my passion for mountain landscapes again. The white snow gums, massive boulders, flat marshy dells, multitude of leaf shapes and colours, so evocative, yet so difficult to grasp their quality. Last year I took photos of the white skeletons of trees with the intention of doing some painting. There was no magic in the photos, which eventually got deleted to trash.

As we drove up the mountain, the play of light on the bleached stick-like remains of trees captivated me.  I thought of  arts writer Nicholas Rothwell’s review of Fred Williams work in last weekend’s Australian newspaper. Rothwell noted that Williams bought a new interpretation to the Australian landscape. What Williams omitted is fundamental his vision; there is no human reference point to determine scale or distance, no foreground, and no detail in the tree forms.

Rothwell likened William’s perception to the experience of landscape from a car. The carefully placed grid lines in some of his works could be seen as references to either fence lines or roads. And it was precisely this idea of landscape from a car that prompted me to stop to take this ‘car view’ photo.

It’s a pity I won’t be in Melbourne while visiting Victoria as a quick trip to see the Fred Williams exhibition currently on at the Geelong Art Gallery would definitely be on the agenda. Do doubt this would give me more inspiration, for I really do love the way Williams interprets the Australian landscape. Though busy working  on a series for the forthcoming Expressions Exhibition I will ‘park’ these ideas for future exploration.

 

The unacknowledged artist within

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I took this photo  in the Castello district of Venice because it resonates. So many people make art, often not even recognising their own artistic sensibility. This is my homage to all those unrealised artists. May you one day recognise, claim and acknowledge your creativity, however it expresses itself.