Why Instagram Failed, the Birth of a Newsletter, and What to Expect When You're Expecting Me.
Why and how this newsletter came to be.
Ask anyone what they miss most about art school and they’ll probably say the critiques. They miss the chance to talk about their work and make sense of it in front of an audience they can physically see. At the start of 2020, I was overwhelmed with longing for the community I had built in which I could get feedback in person. I missed the intimacy of telling 40 people what the details of my work meant and them understanding it. The kind of understanding where I could feel the connection with the audience in real time. A connection that says
“You’re not alone, I’ve been there too.”
I find in the current climate of art we don’t get enough time to talk about what we do and why. We make work, post it to Instagram, and if the caption is longer than 2 sentences we can only hope someone reads it. Our work gets lost to the void: engagement photos, magazine covers, celeb breakups. The over-saturation of sharing makes looking and actually seeing two different things. I used to post every day with genuine excitement. Now I avoid it at all costs. Instagram has quickly become social media’s Whose Line is it Anyway? where the algorithm is made up and the posts don’t matter.
With every new post on Instagram, I feel more of my soul turning to ash. I’ve had panic attacks after posting because I feel like I am diminishing the quality of my work by sharing it on an app you also see tea-detox #ads. While this sounds pretentious, imagine going to the MoMA, and right next to an Andy Warhol piece was haircare gummy vitamins. Instagram was once the platform to share work. Now it’s a diminished and diluted version of every other platform. It’s Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, shopping malls, and TikTok all in one off-brand hellscape. To clients, it’s about followers, likes, engagement, but I want my art to feel curated to people who care, even if I don’t have 30,000 followers on Instagram. I want the number of people who see my work to be independent from made-up variables like the number saves per/minute. The longer I battle with Instagram, the more insignificant posting feels. Now I simply don’t.
That is how A Portrait of The Artist was born. I am not a writer, I think about art, but talking about it is a whole other thing. When it boils down to it, I hate waiting for the right opportunities and would much rather make the opportunity myself. So I weighed my options. No to the blog, no to the alluring Patreon, no to the podcast. After a 30-second conversation with my sister, Chloe, the newsletter was born. A Portrait of the Artist is entirely my own without the weight of likes and follows but with all the perks of sharing.
This isn’t just for me. I will share my experiences and my work, but I want to make room for everyone. A place to get new ideas, to learn, get inspired by artists you may not find otherwise, and to see one or two artists instead of a mindless scroll of them. I want to share work from the artists who create on the side and the business artists. The crafty artists and the fine artists, I want photographers, painters, musicians, poets, writers, fashion designers, graphic designers, and potters to share their passions, their funny stories, the crazy things they’ve heard about their field which turned out to be entirely untrue. I want to make space for the people who feel their art is more than a post but haven’t found the right fit, so I did.
I have big plans, and so as of right now, this newsletter will arrive in your inbox every two weeks on Mondays. The general layout will change but the gist is I will try and find as many artists as I can and talk to them about whatever feels right. Experiences, tips, tricks, general knowledge, and funny stories we’ve acquired through the years. It’s going to be a conversation with artists. No fancy talk and no need to know the most about art to be part of this. There is no hierarchy here. It’s okay to not know everything or anything or to have a different opinion. It’s about exposing ourselves to art, really looking at it, free of stress.
This is a new idea and with this in mind, I would like to say it won’t be perfect at all. But I will do my very best to make it as informative, inclusive, collaborative, and cool as possible. I will try not to make mistakes but I probably will, and so I will learn from them. I hope to pull people from all walks of life to hopefully expand our cultural intake. I am open to people submitting a proposal to be included in a newsletter or even recommendations on who to reach out to or what you want to hear. Let’s collaborate.
Each subscriber is a gift to me. I hope with time to gain more so we can have a diverse conversation, but if I gain no new subscribers from here on out I don’t care. I love having this because this is the place I’ve been dreaming of.
This newsletter is brought to you by:
Road to Nowhere By Talking Heads
That one quote by Blair Waldorf
The rejection email I received from a woman who made me believe I had a job
The silk scarf, sunglasses, and mask which hid the tears pooling in my eyes as I walked off the rejection email in the East Village
Little Miss Sunshine, which reminded me even if it’s devastating, even if it’s not ideal, we all move forward.