It seems like one of the few portals to connect with the rest of the world is through social media these days. As an artist, it feels like there is an unspoken expectation to be Known online and to be and have your work ‘Liked’ in this way.
Yet, there is something about being in the public eye that unnerves me.
Perhaps because having one’s work connected to a measurable number of followers and ‘likes’ in the public eye feels like an extension of myself, being deemed of value (or not) by others. I struggle to navigate these platforms without getting my feelings hurt when the algorithm is not on my side.
I love these tweets by @rehes because they ask a lot of questions that I’ve been thinking about lately as they relate to ego and integrity.
if no one’s looking, are you still there?
if you are not on display, do you still exist?
[image description: tweet from @rehes says: who are you when no one is looking? if no one’s looking, are you still there? if you are not on display, do you still exist?]
What do you think?
who are you? why are you? how are you? where are you?
[image description: tweet from @rehes says: what is your value when you stop being readily consumable? who are you? why are you? how are you? where are you? are you?]
I understand how the design of social media apps and websites is often meant to capitalize on negative feelings of self-worth. It sucks that so much of one’s self-esteem can get so tied up in the number of ‘likes’ and ‘re-tweets’ on a post these days. I’ll admit I can get caught up in that, confusing my role as an artist with that of a content creator or influencer, which I am not.
But needless to say, I want to shift this relationship to social media and develop new patterns and rituals tied to the growth of my work.
For these reasons and more, I’ve decided to take a break from art instagram and try my hand at crafting a newsletter. Maybe you’re thinking, “okay, but Erica, you shared those tweets above — how is this not putting yourself on display in the name of existence?”
Well, I think a newsletter/blog is a lot less readily consumable that an instagram post. I’m not writing this in the name of existence and to flaunt about my unconventional life. But I do want to share my artistic process and journey with others, just not in a way that leaves me feeling disposable.
Secondly, as opposed to shamelessly spamming all my friends when I have news to share, I figure a newsletter is a way for people to choose to opt-in if they want to hear updates on my creative work.
I understand if you are a friend or family member, you may not actually have any interest in my work as a writer or an artist, and that is totally okay. But for those who are interested and curious, I hope this can be a more meaningful way to share more about my creative process in a deeper way.
I’m reading… Approaching Fire by Michelle Porter (memoir) / Killing and Dying: Stories by Adrian Tomine (graphic stories) / How Does A Single Blade of Grass Thank The Sun? by Doretta Lau (short stories)
You can find me at Mata Ashita with author Hiromi Goto on Saturday May 1, 2021 at 12pm PST/3pm EST. Reading and discussion will be followed by a community writing workshop.