Thursday, July 28, 2016

Social Vampires

I'll seem way less ranty if I put gifs and silly pictures in here. Maybe this blog post will make a couple young artists better at networking/self-promotion.

gif from American Psycho
There's a breed of artist/human that I keep coming across that is just sweeping across social media and real life events. They look just like us. They talk like us. Sometimes you'll feel a chill go up your spine and it may be because you're in the presence of a... SOCIAL VAMPIRE.  Here are signs that you or your friend may be a social vampire.

gif from 30 Rock
 1.They friend everyone on Facebook and then unfollow everyone on Facebook. Except maybe those who might hire them.

gif from The Green Hornet
2.Someone else has the connections they want on Facebook? They will post their art,writing,etc and tag people who have the audience they want.

 gif from Black Books
3.They promote their work and projects but do not participate.

 "HELLO WORLD! I have a gift. ME." 

Reddit, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, Twitter, and DeviantArt are their tools and community a foreign concept. It's good to spread your work around but try to participate in some of the communities and understand why nobody responds when you don't.

gif from I have no idea where 
(I really wanted a gif of Jar Jar saying "Yoosa should follow me now, okeeday?" but no luck)
4. They love "who is following you back" sites for Twitter,FB,etc. "You don't follow me! BLASPHEMY! How could I possssssibly be interested in your content if you're not seeing mine?! I only followed you so that you would follow me back, I could ignore your stuff, and maybe you would be suckered into contributing to my thing. Here's a auto message through Twitter for following me so that you can be reminded that I primarily want your money."

gif from King of the Hill
 5. They have just added you on social media and message within 30 minutes asking you to create fan art for their IP, your client contact information or to pledge/promote their thing.

 Screen from New Girl
5. Every sentence is an "I" sentence. Ever found yourself in a conversation that seems to die after two sentences? You may have stumbled into a social vampire enclave! Does every sentence begin with I? No questions have been asked of anyone besides what you have said? RUN!

 gif from Supernatural
6. When a social vampire finds itself alone with what I assume appears to be husks to them, they will draw forth their phones and OH HOW the checking of the e-mails shall commence! Eye contact? Only if thou art their prey. RUN!

7. The most devious activity of the social vampire is the sabotage. On occasion the social vampire will actually denigrate the work of others or actively block others' access to what it deems their source of food. Everyone at an event passing their work around? Guess who is hoarding it all and then suddenly turning it all over when time is up? Meanwhile they bring plenty of work to share. They want into an art show or more wall space and it's, "so and so hasn't been doing this long enough/isn't good enough/doesn't sell anything/is selling under the table/isn't whatever enough".

 gif from Supernatural
8.The social vampire is also known for their backlash at those in the industry who critique when asked to critique or simply do not acknowledge their greatness. Here's a great example from the writing world.

I blame Patreon, Kickstarter and Kindle Unlimited. Let's all go out and make friends. Find out what people like. What are they going through? What are they working on and why? What are their hobbies,favorite foods,shows,etc? How is their family? Take a genuine interest in their lives. Make connections with human beings because most human beings are interesting and it will make you a better person and smarter. Help others through your feedback and sharing. Eventually you won't even have to ask others for help.

This post was something I have been thinking about ever since hearing Creative Pep Talk Podcast a couple months ago and just a recent event made me want to finally put together a post.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Writing, Gestalt and Current Events

Lately I have been reading a lot and listening to a lot of audiobooks as well. I ran a creative writing contest where I read probably a hundred entries. I have read books because they were by local authors or by popular writers rather than because of my own interests. This is all to say that I have finally read some really bad writing, some really excellent writing and some mediocre writing. I am finally beginning to see HOW something is well written and it's clarifying some thoughts on visual art.

Again I'M NOT A WRITER and my grammar is sure to be horrible but here's an example of the sort of thing I keep coming across.

"He was pale-skinned and wore a gold breastplate with matching baltea under a tattered red cloak. A dirty brown tunic covered his legs to the knees. He made others uncomfortable."

"His breast plate was the color of fetid piss which seemed to run down and turn into the dangling belts at his waist. From his shoulders hung a cape reduced to strips the deep color of a man's innermost blood. His tunic was the color of nightsoil. Among the filthy clothing his flesh stood apart as it reflected light like a pearl, opalescent and shimmering. He was divine and absolutely disgusting."

Style one is factual, utilitarian and efficient. It could be argued that it paints the clearest picture. It instructs you on how to feel about the previous description.

The second one barely even defines actual colors. It tries to force the reader to imagine the colors or imagine the clothing articles as other things. The purpose is to make the viewer participate in the story and create an opinion on those colors. It doesn't say how these colors should make you feel. It reminds me of the idea of Gestalt in visual art. I am sort of trying to take my art from style one and move it more to style two. Trying to use these fantasy narratives to get viewers to think or feel something entirely different. Trying to get viewers to participate more.

With recent events I have thought about creating art that is somehow about our modern world but my ideas always seem like style one. It's too on-the-nose. It's too journalistic.  If I create scenes that aren't from events then it begins to feel manipulative or preachy. If I wanted to have the viewer feel love or loved, I don't think the solution is to necessarily draw two people loving each other. Is the solution to draw something love-able? Draw something that attempts to make the viewer remember what love is like? Do figures make the viewer feel disconnected or does it help unify? Should a concept like "love" be the middle man to a bigger objective? Of course all of this can't be too direct or purely from the imagination or I believe it will feel manipulative and cheesy. At the other end is seems pointless to pull directly from an event that's probably already been photographed or it will seem journalistic or like propaganda.

I feel like I have to draw something indirectly related to the topic and hope the viewer connects the two things. It seems the goal has to be using the Gestalt effect to create an image near where you want viewers to arrive emotionally or logically. If it's too far from the destination then it falls apart and fails with nobody making the connection. It's tricky and like learning an entirely different style of thinking or writing. These are the things I have been thinking about as I worked on my personal pieces of the past year which have been some of my most popular work yet. I'm currently on hiatus from that work as I want to think about it more and see if I can develop something better.