18 Apr

No matter what medium you work with, you're not safe from art block. Your chances of suffering from it may be low, but never zero. From visual artists to writers and musicians... all of us could become its victims.

What is art block, you may ask? According to google art block describes a period of time when an artist has no ideas for new work. The artist loses their ability to produce stimulating original work, and their output grinds to a halt. The condition is associated with anxiety and a complete lack of motivation.

You may be wondering why I bluntly stated no one is safe from it. In today's digital age the relevance of social media for artists is not a topic that should be taken lightly. In some areas of the art industry, professional artists fully depend on social media platforms and online sales, it's for this reason that the pervasive role of social media in the lives of artists and the potential downsides it may have on their creativity should be considered a fundamental pillar in the wellbeing of creatives. 

But… How does social media affect us as artists?

1. Comparison and Self-Doubt:

It's nothing new that social media platforms often facilitate comparison among artists. Constant exposure to others' work can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome which becomes a huge danger to the artist's mental health. In the age of TikTok, Instagram reels and viral audios, artists may feel pressured to conform to trends or produce work solely for likes and validation, rather than staying true to their own creative vision. When pleasing the algorithm becomes the priority, creativity stays cornered in the back of our minds.

2. Distraction and Shallow Engagement:

Doomscrolling or how the endless stream of content on social media can be distracting and detrimental to deep, focused creative work. This is a two faced coin: on one side we scroll for hours without noticing time is passing and distract ourselves from productive rewarding activities; on the other side the dopamine-driven nature of likes, comments, and notifications can encourage artists to prioritize quantity over quality, leading to shallow engagement with their art and a lack of meaningful exploration and experimentation. If you stop exploring and experimenting, you become stagnant and the art journey stops abruptly.

3. Algorithmic Bias and Homogenization:

We all know that social media algorithms prioritize certain types of content based on audios, popularity and engagement metrics, potentially favoring mainstream or derivative work over originality and diversity. Artists often feel pressured to conform to these algorithmic preferences and abandon their authentic path, leading to a homogenization of creativity and a loss of unique voices and perspectives. Do you know there's a phenomenon in the art community known as “the Instagram face/art style”? Unfortunately, there are thousands of artists who have pursued the same viral art style in order to be favoured by the algorithm. There are countless of videos on YouTube discussing this phenomena and how it's leading to a pandemic-like same face syndrome that affects many popular artists.

4. Oversaturation and Desensitization:

Let's not ignore how the sheer volume of content on social media platforms can lead to oversaturation and desensitization among audiences. With so much content competing for attention, it can be challenging for artists to stand out and gain recognition for their work... Especially when AI generated images take over the art community and get all the attention and popularity real artists deserve. 

On the other hand, this oversaturation may also contribute to a devaluation of art and creativity in the eyes of the public. What dods it mean? Non artist people stop valuing art and they take it for granted, going as far as questioning an artist price list or the authenticity of their work. I'm sure you're familiar with people like that.

5. Privacy and Copyright Concerns:

There's some shady legislation behind the images shared on social media, each platform will have their specific Terms of Service. As artists, we risk exploitation or unauthorized use of our work, leading to loss of control which may have financial implications, not to mention how it could affect our mental state. Additionally (yes, there's more. THERE'S ALWAYS MORE), the pressure to share work publicly may compromise artists' desire for privacy and ownership over their creative output. Sounds bad huh?

In conclusion, while it can be a useful tool, social media brings too much despair to artist as it seems to be a cozy petri dish for self-pressure, self-doubt, oversaturation and loss of personal style. 

I'm not saying social media is the devil but please remember it's important to be aware of the consequences it may have for your creative journey. When engaging with social media as an artist, awareness and mindfulness are key. Do not let algorithms consume you and try to reflect on your own social media habits. It's beneficial to consider alternative ways to nurture creativity, such as offline activities, collaboration with peers outside of social media (art fairs, art events, galleries), small support groups on places like Discord where there's no algorithm, revisiting old art and seeking inspiration from diverse sources beyond the digital realm.

Now please enjoy this silly comic I did in 2020 during an art block. I tried to force myself to draw my character Lannra, she turned out horrible so I doodled her mad at me in this comic. Notice the top left corner saying in faded pencil "blerg... art block".

A silly comic showing Shesvii and her OC Lannra interacting in a time when Shesvii had no motivation and drew Lannra horribly.

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