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Social Media Through the Eyes of an Artist

by Esme Kroese | 30 May 2022

Staff writer Esme Kroese interviews two young, aspiring artists at the start of their careers on how social media impacts their artistic practice.

Olivia Turner (top), Esme Kroese (centre), and Jade Emsley (bottom) Illustration by Jago Henderson

Olivia Turner

How do you use social media to inspire your artwork and how do you think it can affect your artistic practice? It depends on how you curate what you see on your account. When I was younger, I just followed other people my age I might know, and this limited the impact that social media could have on me as an inspiration. However, the older I got I began to realise the slightly negative 'highlight reel' side of social media and, instead, I began to focus on trying to follow people and artists that interest me and inspire me visually. I think of social media as a visually sensual interaction, I find it is much more visually appealing to artists once one realises where their interests lie in the medium. Social media is also really accepting of artists and artworks of all different types of medium and it can introduce you to different ways of creating art that otherwise you may never have discovered. Do you think technology inhibits or expands the horizons of the artworld?  I think both. I think it is good for research and inspiration and for making art accessible. For example, during covid, when galleries were closed, technology allowed people to access art whilst we were in lockdown as galleries went online with exhibitions.  It is also so much easier to find inspiration or images of things you may want to paint or include in your artworks. But I also find it can  make artists  really lazy, as everything is at your fingertips and we can access images through the internet in milliseconds that artists years ago had to research and go through lengthy attempts to find.   Do you think social media affects or inspires  your artworks?  To an extent, I think it does, because of how things are visual. I like to look at how things are laid out and I sometimes scroll just for visual stimulation instead of to discover the message behind an artwork. The wide variety of art of different mediums found on social media is also a nice way to be reminded of loads of different ways of working other than the status quo. Social media, in a way, has developed a different way of curating art through a fully visual means that can be curated by your interests and on whom you follow. How do you think social media and the internet has affected how you will sell your art in the future?  Social media is such a great way to be employed as an artist as it connects you with so many other people and potential buyers. Therefore, I would definitely use Instagram as a medium of advertisement and a way of bringing in a customer's interests, but I would then direct them to an in-gallery interaction or viewing. However, I would not like to abandon the usual artist and art dealer relationship, and I would still like to have an art dealer and to exhibit my artworks in galleries, as it creates a greater level of interaction with my artworks for prospective buyers.  Do you think social media has made the artworld a more collaborative place?  Definitely. It gives you opportunities to learn and interact with other artists and creatives in a way impossible without the connective networks of social media and technology. It can just be one DM that can propel a great collaborative artwork with someone you have never had the opportunity to work with, which I think is great for any aspiring artists who want to take part in a collaborative project or to even just get started in their career. It is also a great way for artists to begin to sell and put their works out there onto an online market. Olivia Turner is a young art student who is interested in a range of mediums, including photography. Her art account on Instagram is found @piccalily_ where she posts some of her artworks and ideas.

Jade Emsley

How do you use social media to inspire your artwork and how does what you see on social media affect your art? Of course, there are negative effects as you can begin to compare your work and how you choose to convey ideas to other artists or think that your techniques are not as good, but I think it is very helpful with providing tips on techniques as well as recommendations on what brands you should purchase. Do you think technology inhibits or expands the horizons for the artworld, especially for young and aspiring artists? I think technology has definitely expanded the horizons for the artworld as it makes your art a lot more accessible to the community and it also allows you to gain access to pieces from around the world, whether it be contemporary artists or historical pieces. It also makes gaining knowledge on certain skills a lot easier. Have your methods of creating and sharing your artwork changed since you developed your skills with technology? I have only recently been expanding my artistic skills into the realm of digital art and have found that the internet has been a massive help with advising me on how to use software such as Procreate and Photoshop. I have also created an Instagram account, which as of now is still private for just my close friends but I do feel social media and technology has made it a lot easier to get better recognition for your pieces. Do you think social media improves the quality of engagement with your artworks? I think social media would help if you were trying to expand your viewer base but for now, my art is kept private. However, I would like to eventually publish my works and sell prints and I think social media will undoubtedly help with this. Do you think social media has increased the number of aspiring artists able to exchange ideas and techniques and do you think social media has made the artworld a more collaborative place? I do think that social media had increased the number of aspiring artists who exchange ideas and techniques, providing encouraging comments and feedback under certain art posts. I also think it has made the online artworld a much more collaborative place with challenges such as inktober and collaborative videos with various art youtubers. Jade Emsley is an Art student completing her foundation year at Central St Martins, London.


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