So lately I have been totally addicted to Instagram. There are so many artists and so much art, its obvious I was going to get sucked in. Yes, I know I am a little late to the party, IG is already saturated with art. There are millions of prolific artists all over the world posting daily. Most of the time it is really interesting to to see what people are working on.
For artists this is all brand new. It used to be that you had to search out other artists in guilds, classes or clubs. You had to buy expensive art magazines to see what the most elite group of artists were doing. If you were a new artist still honing your talent, forget it, you were stuck alone in your basement or at your kitchen table until you felt good enough about your work to put yourself out there.
Don't get me wrong, IG will never replace the authentic camaraderie and support you get from actual physical interaction with other artists. But it does democratize the system a bit, you no longer have to be represented by a gallery to show the world your art.
Here's the catch - as I scroll and scroll through my feed and see so much art - the good, the bad and the ugly included - it's hard not to get lost in all the noise. There are so many pictures posted every second that I can easily get down on myself. It seems so futile to post one of my own pictures, who is going to see it anyway?
There are so many amazing artists posting that I find myself playing the comparison game. I am really not even sure what I am comparing myself to. Other artists seem to be selling so many paintings, entering so many juried shows and relaxing with coffee in their amazing studios. My brain tells me this is their curated "highlight" reel but I still find myself comparing.
In some situations you have to compare to know what you are getting but with social media comparison leads to jealousy and unhappiness. Comparison is all about ego and competition. What am I jealous of? Of other people's talent? Of their success? of their good? Maybe all of it. Wow, sounds shallow of me but aren't we all guilty of this on some level, social media or not?
Jealousy will always block our own prosperity, spiritual as well as financial.
How do you get out of that insidious comparison rabbit hole and recognize your own prosperity? By reminding yourself that its not a competition. Fear is the root of comparison. We are avoiding ourselves and focused on the other because we are afraid that even if we give it our all, it won't be enough.
How do we heal that fear? Hit it with love. Love your life. Love yourself, you are enough. Be grateful for your own good. When you are full of gratitude for what you have and do it is hard to be jealous and compare yourself to others.
When you are full of gratitude then you can look at Instagram and other social media for fun, to be inspired, to get new ideas and feel in community with others. "I am grateful and happy with my life!" that is what I have to remind myself when I am tempted to compare.
In the spirit of gratitude and inspiration here are my top ten favorite artists on Instagram. Click on the links to see their feed.
Ashley Longshore: This artist is ireverant and funny. She promotes self empowerment in a way that's fun. I love her art too.
Alex Callaway: This artists' still lifes are unbelieveably beautiful!
Lisaeks: Lisa Ekstrom's abstracts are simply wonderful.
Churchgoinmule: Artist Marshall Blevins' drawings and mixed media art (often including a mule) are lively and fun with a heavy emphasis on NOLA .
Vanessa Cooper: I wish I could paint like this artist. I love how she incorporates birds, flowers and china in her paintings.
Gingerwoodturner: Franz Keilhofer makes beautiful wooden bowls. Plus I like seeing his big red beard frequently covered in sawdust.
Susan_Obyrne_Ceramics: I have a thing for Susan O'Byrne's ceramic animal heads. She takes faux taxidermy to a new level
Embroidery: Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching is making embroidery cool again!
Curvilinear: Amy Abshier's lonely paintings of women are characters that make you want to read their stories.
TrudyHarleyArt: This realist still life painter dangles everything by a string except her talent.
Augustwren: Jennifer Orkin Lewis has done so much with a sketch book and guache. Her drawings and colors are a delight.
Of course these eleven (I couldn't stop at ten) are only a drop in the bucket of the MANY talented artists I follow. Maybe you will want to follow them too. In the infinity of the internet I am grateful there is room for everyone!