Art Bubbles: Part 1

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What is an Art Bubble?

I think it's a term I just made up. Maybe not, maybe someone else has talked about art bubbles. Today, I'm defining an "art bubble" as one's state of mind or belief system about art. As we all know, bubbles can pop when they come into contact with another surface.

This week had a lot of art bubbles floating around!  Let's prod and pop a few.

1. Facebook changes

No doubt you've noticed even though 5,000 people like and follow your business page, only 32 people have seen your posts.  This week Facebook announced they are changing the algorithm -again- as to who will see your posts.  For those of us with business pages, I think we've finally reached the "pay to play" state. Oh sure, we've known those Facebook ads/boosts were going to become a permanent fixture in our marketing budgets some day. Mr. Zuckerberg just formalized "some day" for us.

I'm not sure if I agree with all the complaints about the changes. I've not yet put myself into figuring it out what the change means to me and my portrait business.  About the only thing I am sure of (I think) is somehow we have to generate more interactions or build a group around our art.

But, here's what I do think...we can't substitute real live human interaction with electronic contacts.  I'm thinking we need to reconsider the use of "in-person" marketing. Perhaps, we need to break the protective bubble (and comfort) of Facebook as an easy contact for our art businesses.

2. Facebook bullying (& photographers)

You may have seen the viral posting. A family paid a photographer for some outdoor snapshots. The photographer hadn't learned how to correct for shadows and spent some time over correcting the faces into "cardboard masks". The thousands upon thousands of comments are excoriating.

What good is served by thousands and thousands of people berating/bullying/threatening the photographer? None of those commenters know her state of mind. What if she is emotionally fragile? What if these comments led to some very unfortunate outcome?

Why do people who were not even involved in the situation feel they have the right to judge and comment?  Let's break this bubble of belief that holds it's okay to bully and harass other people via online "anonymity".  Can we burst that bubble of "the internet mob with pitchforks" and open the air around us to kindness and compassion? Can we stay out of other peoples' interactions that are none of our business?

3. My Art is more important than your art

Yep, I saw this bubble this week. As I listened to this idea I realized it was surrounded by surface tension (bubble science geek alert). Surface tension makes a fluid surface acquire the least surface area possible. Surface tension causes the bubble to "stay small" and unbalanced. (Don't you just love Wikipedia?)

This art belief surface tension comes from staying in one place. And that one place can be geographic, internal, self-imposed, cognitive and reinforced by selective relationships (i.e., you hang around with folks who don't challenge your thinking).  The surface tension is made more rigid by the use of "code words" that only the "real artists" know and understand.

I'm going to do my best Oprah imitation here and share "What I know for sure." As long as your art is meeting someone's needs, it is legitimate.  As long as someone is exchanging money for your creative work, it's "real." As long as there is a market requesting your art, it doesn't matter if another artist likes it or not.

Why am I focusing on the monetary interactions?  Because this "My Art is more important than your art" bubble envies monetary success. It refuses to acknowledge clients will purchase your art instead of their art.  And if a client chooses your art instead? Obviously, that client just doesn't understand art. (How much baloney is that idea?)

Consider this bubble broken - but it does have a tendency to float by on a regular basis. Keep your eyes open for it; you can stick a dry pin in it!

Next week - Part 2

Next week, we'll talk about the "where I live" bubble.  It's time to burst that bubble. We'll challenge "reality".