Overwhelmed by images
October 15, 2010
Yesterday, Nancy Bell Scott of Old Orchard Beach, Maine wrote, "Lately my brain has been overwhelmed by the many thousands (millions?) of images online. An evening can be spent wandering around cyberspace and enjoying it immensely. But very often, the next morning, entering my studio, I'm utterly paralyzed. My husband has noticed what online exposure does to me, and he thinks it's making me nuts. He's a very perceptive, creative person. I'd love to hear your own (and others') thoughts on this and what to do about it."
FYI, we've put some of Nancy's paintings at the top of the current clickback.
Thanks, Nancy. It's all about procrastination. Hanging out at a cabaret or hanging on to a computer, artists will do anything to avoid going to their room and going to work. Fear of failure and fear of success are just two of the issues that lead to escapism. With the quality and variety on the Internet, today's painters face a hazard like never before.
Net Junkies are the new alcoholics. Artists who allow the Internet to take them where it will, throw in the towel of creative individualism. Too much non-directed exposure to the work of others humbles, discourages, and sullies our own best efforts. The result, if you stay at it long enough, can be rudderless dilettantism. But there's help. It's called NJA.
Net Junkies Anonymous knows that artists procrastinate in the name of research. They get hooked. The solution is to make research a process-driven activity. It starts with the easel station. Attend to your easel before you go near your machine. As you think of your needs, put notes beside your easel. Let your work tell you what you need to study. When the time is appropriate, take your list to the machine. Be efficient and cagey. The Internet is a great slave but also a cunning master. You have to go there on your own terms.
Straight out of AA, here are a few steps to recovery:
Make an inventory of time spent at your various stations.
Admit that you may be doing harm to yourself.
Carry your spiritual awakening to other Net Junkies.
Use the greater power of art itself to restore your sanity.
"What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret." (John Kander and Fred Ebb, from Cabaret)
Esoterica: One warm Thursday evening last August, my neighbor George held a party at his house because his Facebook friends had reached 10,000. Only a few actual people were there; the rest, I think, were virtual. For a while we looked at fractals online and drank lemonade. George has a couple of nice Rottweilers, Sally and Betty, with whom I like to chat, but that night I had to get back to the studio computer to see if my Twice-Weekly Letter went out okay.