Saturday, November 05, 2011
It's Time to Stop Feathering My Own Digital Nest
Recently, I've noticed something about my photographic habits, of sorts (if you can call them that.) I tend to shoot the same things, over and over again, and I tend to visit the same sorts of websites over and over again. Not that there's anything wrong with this, inherently we are all creates of habit, are we not? But, it got me to thinking (ahem, for those of you who are new here, trust me when I say this, that is not always a good thing.) Maybe I feel like I'm in a rut, maybe I feel like I'm a bit stalled as an artist simply because I keep doing the same sorts of things over and over again, expecting different results? (Isn't that what they say the classical definition of "insanity" is?) Maybe it's time to, you know, to branch out a little bit? To try something new? To go out and explore "the great beyond" (whatever that might be?)
So, I started by going into Google and typing my name. I saw what came up-there were all of the usual suspects-Flickr and Facebook, HouseOfCarol and Utata. This website, of course (Don't worry, I have no plans to neglect you. Yet. Well, at least not until the end of NaBloPoMo that is.) Then I started scrolling down the list to, you know, to find some of the less frequented places. I rediscovered a few of my old web hangouts (I had completely forgotten about Fotoblur Magazine! Oh, if you get a chance, do head over there-it's fabulous.) I happened upon ArtSlant (I logged in there and updated my profile, including a picture of myself and updated some of my show information, which had been hopelessly out of date.) Lastly, I had a long hard think about this and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I need some new hangouts. The web has grown a lot since I've been surfing last. Maybe I need to find some new stuff, to go and try out some new spots? I've come up with a little "action plan" of sorts-I've decided I'm going to try a few new things, start to explore things on the web a bit more.
There is a certain safety in visiting only the same sites on the web over and over again. If, say I add an image to Flickr, Facebook, or to certain spots on the web, I know how they will be received. I almost know what people are going to say before they say it. I know which images they will like and I really almost know what sorts of feedback I'll get for a certain image. Which kind of brings me to my next question. Am I really getting "feedback" if I'm posting the same sorts of images into the same sorts of online hangouts and getting the same sorts of "feedback" over and over again? Maybe it's time to try something new? Maybe it's time to push myself just a little bit more, get out of my comfort zone, and mix things up with some new people? There are certainly enough places out there, out in the great big "web" of a universe.
To put it another way, to ask another question, maybe it's time for me to put my work in front of some new eyes?
So, I thought about this a little bit more and came up with a few new spots on the web I might like to try out. I think I'm going to force myself to venture more. I think I'm going to start to "reach" a little and maybe try to post some shots in some places I'm not really "qualified" to hit. I'm sure I'll get rejected here a bit, that always happens but, maybe, just maybe, I'll find some new friends. I'll add to my small, intimate little circle of artist buddies. Maybe some new eyes on my work and, in turn, me looking at new work will help inspire me. Maybe it's time for me to start adding a few new hangouts and hovels to my bag of tricks. Lately anyway I've felt like I've just sort of wanted to mix it up a bit and this might be a good time to explore some of these new places.
The web grows a lot and it's always changing, always evolving. We like to think that we've mastered it maybe or maybe we just feel kind of like we're wearing a comfortable broken in pair of blue jeans. We know they are old, we know they are worn, a bit tattered around the edges but, hey, they're comfortable, right? And we've worn them for years. Don't mess with what works, right?
Maybe so, I mean, it works for blue jeans but, as an artist? I don't think that's the best of ideas. I mean, sure there are times that maybe you want to stay inside of your "cocoon" but not always. There's got to be a time, at some point in your development, where you sort of branch out. Where you leave that "digital nest" we all feather for ourselves and get out a little bit more. It's a risk, yes, but maybe it's a risk worth taking? I don't know about that, but I do think it might help me with this "I'm stuck in a rut" funk that I can't seem to shake off myself. At least, I have high hopes that it will, you know, maybe shake things up a bit.
So, if you are an artist, please tell me, please share. Do you tend to feather your own "digital nest" and not venture out into points unknown on the web? Are you a creature of habit when it comes to visiting the same websites and posting or sharing your work with the same on-line galleries? Have you thought about visiting some new ones? If not, what's stopping you? I'd be curious to hear from my exhibiting artist friends as to how you manage this. Is this something you actively seek (that is, do you routinely try out new on-line galleries and hangouts?) or is this something you avoid, preferring instead to stick with what works?
It's a curious thing, this new feeling. Just wanting to shake things up a bit, to maybe stir up the old pot some. I don't know how I'll really get over it or how long it's going to last, but I'm going to try out a few potential solutions to see what I can do to, you know, to make myself a bit more comfortable and a little less restless.
Until next time...