Consuming Social Media, or Creating Art
I’ve been thinking about the tug-of-war between consuming social media and creating art. The come-hither glow of visual stimulation in social media, and the resulting deflation as a result of comparison is worth a personal survey. Reaching for a screen is Soooo Easy. But is it good for the artist in us?
Scrolling through FB or Instagram or YouTube (or all of them in the same sitting), is such a passive action of consumption – it’s akin to eating a whole plate of frosted cupcakes. The only output is the effort to swipe a finger down the screen.
Create vs Consume
Ask yourself how you feel after reaching for a screen to click, drag, and consume social media content for an hour, versus making an hour of art?
Laying out art supplies, locating source material, and staying conscious of your time slot might feel like obstacles to getting started. It depends on how you define creative prep-time (I see it as “pre-motor-planning”). I like to rev myself up with internal encouragement while getting water and brushes and paper ready.
Ultimately, commencing to create something is a form of expression, release, productivity or output. Hence the encouraging phrase ‘Create instead of Consume’.
Passive or Active Days?
To create is an active endeavor, physically and mentally. Inside, we are in a state of ACTION. Optical nerves are Color Mixing. Memories and Life Experiences are Expressed. Cognitive fires are strategically mark-making.
On the outside, hands are moving, pigments are mingling on surfaces, and shapes are emerging.
There is a potent connection occurring between the tip of your instrument (pencil, pen, brush) and your brain. (Read this for more on the affects of art on your brain.)
Make Art = Feel Good
Make art to ensure that the end of your day feels great. You MADE SOMETHING.
There is a newly born object on the table the next morning as a testimony to the choices you made the night before. You can pick it up in your hands and wonder at the results of your simple ingredients: time, supplies, creativity and intent.
New art is a very real confetti-strewn Attaboy, regardless of our perceived critique of the finished product.
We have the opportunity to be energized by the drive to create something. Open a gateway urged by the need to express – wordlessly, quietly, using pen, pencil, brush, and pigments.
I love simplifying this process into it’s distilled essence. We are compelled to share a vision of what we saw, what we thought, what we experienced, in paint graphite or ink, etc. It’s our nature to complicate that with judgement, fear of failure, uncertainty about skill, and an assortment of perceived restrictions. We’re good at stacking those blockades, but I think all of them are just self sabotage.
Turning your spigot on to gush open with art time. Sitting with your art supplies transforms a chair & table into a Sacred Space. Creating is akin to having a good cry, screaming into a pillow, or sprinting across the lawn naked while yelling profanities.
But it’s a quiet, polite, gentile version of those releases. And you get a piece of art afterwards, like a reward cookie.
Keep It Simple
The distractive shimmer and algorithmic allure of social media might impact a moment, but making something with your hands – even a set of 4X5 index cards of wet into wet colorful pigment tests will last longer than we will.
Drive Your Own Car
It’s worth pondering that the way we use (or neglect) our creative time is entirely up to us. We are driving that car. The controls on the dashboard and the maps in the glove compartment are all of our own design.
We get to choose. You get to choose.
Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post –
Choice of attention — to attend to this and ignore that — is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences.W. H. Auden