Saturday, 21 June 2014

Facebook and I

Capture IV, oil on linen

Since the dawn of Facebook artists have found in it a mean for breaking the isolation of the studio, connecting with like-minded people worldwide and learning about artists of the past and the present. It is also an invaluable platform to show work and receive feedback and support.

   I spend ( too much) time on FB, where I receive and have received a lot from the online community of artists. If I look back I see that thanks to them my work has evolved and improved, particularly as I have looked at old masters with new eyes,  made virtual studio visits, perused online catalogues of their shows, read about materials and learnt how they go about in dealing with the commercial part of the job.

   My experience with FB is positive also because I try to be proactive and filter the content I receive. The website has its own agenda and of course it pushes viral videos and platitude memes on my newsfeed, so I mercilessly unfollow people who post too many of those ( dog videos are keepers though). I also bestow "likes" on lots of paintings in the hope the algorithm starts getting a clue on what I am interested in.  Although I look at FB on my phone when I'm in the studio I think it is better to check it on the laptop because on the right sidebar there's a lot more activity going on than what FB dispenses on the newsfeed.

   Posting has its rules too: I have learnt that some posts, for example when I share content from this blog, need to be shared more than once, depending on the time of day they were originally published.  
    Facebook by the way provides a lot of visitors to this page, however nowadays part of the traffic stops there.  I sometimes find it easier to publish on FB than write a blog post. If for example I take photos of a show and I don't want to sit and write a review, I'd only post them on FB.
I am sure that FB has generally intercepted a lot of traffic that used to go to blogs and websites, so some visitors to go through online FB albums rather than clicking through individual online portfolios, hence I think for artists it's a good idea to have a clearly labelled and updated album of works on their FB profile.

I only have one profile on FB: I decided not to have an artist page as I find it difficult to distinguish between people who are "real life" friends and people who are interested in my work, too many overlappings there and people would get lots of double posts. I wouldn't be able to stop some of my silliness from appearing in the pro page anyway.
 I must confess I don't hit the contact request button very often. I send friendship requests to or accept contact with people who post work I like and with whom I have mutual friends; although I have occasionally sold and bought work on FB, I am not there to sell nor to be sold paintings ( I unfollow pushy marketers), but I like to befriend people who dialogue openly on art, and I am often humbled by the level of the discussion.

Not everything is great on Facebook of course : censorship police is patrolling too zealously and many artists got warning and even bans simply for posting nudes. Privacy is an issue but I think there are ways, particularly if you don't click on yes to any single app who wants to gain access to your own data.
A recent change has also affected artists: images posted on FB now get processed and their resolution is drastically decreased. I think this is now a general trend on big websites, including  Blogger  here and on my webhost service, Weebly.
Once, when you clicked on images on this page you'd get to see them almost at the same resolution with which I originally uploaded them; not any more now,  there's just a smallish image viewer.
One website that goes against the trend is Tumblr, where image quality is very satisfying ( also there's no censorship at all, for the good or the bad).
I also have a Twitter account for quick updates but I find it is less suitable for painters because you have to click before viewing images. Also I am not very good at short sentences...

I hope I didn't sound too scary, please do befriend or follow me on Facebook if you wish.

To give a better sense of what my paintings look like in real life, this is a three minutes iphone video with close ups of the surfaces of my works.


Gary said...

Helpful comments, thank you, but please keep (if you can) your "my blog is your blog" thing going. And could you have kept your fans informed about your progress with monotypes via FB? I (we?) would also be interested to hear about what you're reading - this little item disappeared I think after you recommended Patrick Heron which was a nice find for me. All the best, Gary

Ilaria said...

Will do Gary, thank you for the feedback !