How art actually works

Every day, I see fantastic things posted to my tumblr. Wonderful art work with cute stories; doodles that may have taken the artists minutes or years and stories written so well my heart aches. I see those posts start with such a tiny amount of notes and then they get reblogged and shared and liked and I soon see the same post shared from a variety of the blogs I follow. The blogs I follow apparently have hundreds or even thousands of followers and all those people like and share the posts, which generate more interest for the original post.

Cognitively, I acknowledge it takes years to develop followings and to garner support for your online presence. I know that you have to consistently post content readers want to see. You have to interact with the people who follow you and encourage them to feel like part of the story.

While I know all of this, I still feel unpleasant thoughts and feelings when I post creative things which I’ve drawn, colored, or written, things that move my heart and mean something to me, things I’ve invested pieces of my heart and soul in, only to have these things with so much of my heart ignored in the void of the internet. I know that if I posted more consistently and if I posted more viable content that I would have a larger following and might even have people who would share some of my soul when I post it for the void. I also know that people are uncomfortable being the first one to “like” something or the first one to “reblog” something. People are worried about how their own followers will view the content of their blogs and they don’t want to be seen as someone who is supporting the unknown. People like being a part of the band wagon – they like feeling as though they are not the only ones who found that art work moving or that cat video hilarious.

But I continue to post those things which matter to me because they matter to me. And I guess this is just my way of keeping track of my own life anyway. I post for me, to keep a record and make sure I’m making progress in my life. It matters to me and that should be enough.

The truth about art is that it’s mostly a solitary pursuit and it’s really easy to feel isolated and alone and as though nothing I say or do matters. It’s really easy to listen to the poison in my head that says my feelings, thoughts, and opinions have no value. It’s a struggle every day to tell the stupid negativity in my head to shut the hell up. Sometimes, I’m strong enough to defeat the negativity in my head, sometimes, I don’t have the energy to do anything other than let it drone on, and sometimes, I am so exhausted that I find myself believing all the horrible things those negative thoughts say. Maybe what I have to say isn’t important. Maybe what I have to say evokes no emotions in others.

So it goes.

And here’s my very own example of art that means something to me but is unlikely to ever be seen by someone who has any sort of emotion because of my words.

20171202: A letter to someone who I miss with all my heart. [text reads: What would I say to you if you would listen to me right now or read the words I write? Would I tell you the same things I say out loud a thousand times a day to my empty life and my empty apartment? About how sorry I am for what happened, about how I know what I did was wrong, about how much I’ve changed and grown because of you? Would I tell you how much I love you and how much I miss you? Would I tell you the positive things in my life, the multitude of days working on technique and actually becoming a better rock climber? Would I tell you about all the times I laughed, wishing every time you were laughing with me? Would I show you the novels I’ve written in your absence about our make-believe adventures in space and how much I wish you were here so we could make graphic novels together? Would I try and express my understanding about being neurodivergent; depression anxiety, mood and attention disorders, and how to be supportive? Would I try and tell you about the people I’ve met online and how I’ve tried to help? Would I turn on the rainy day slow dance playlist I made and ask you dance? Would I tell you about my daydreams of us sharing a life together and how it’s the quiet days of you drawing and me writing which always make me smile? Would I tell you how I wish every night your life is filled with laughter, love, friends, family, joy, and happiness? Would I tell you how hope is the driving force in my life; the hope that someday, you’ll give us another chance?]

I guess what I’ll say at the end of this is that when you see art work you like or when something moves you, let the artist know. If you cried at the end of a novel because of the character, let the author know. Creative art in any capacity is usually created by an artist or a writer or a dancer or a musician who feels like nothing they do matters and they wonder every day if they should just quit and hire themselves out as a professional poisonous fungus taste tester. Art is a part of the heart and soul; it’s what makes everything worthwhile.

If you’re an artist in any capacity, continue making your work. Continue creating those fantastic works. Continue practicing your craft and getting better. Share the things you feel motivated to share and ask for commissions for those things which others ask of you. I believe in you and your work matters 🙂

Oh, and don’t steal other people’s work and pass it off as your own because that’s a total dickhead thing to do. If you like an artist’s work, support them and try to make it so they aren’t starving to death in a cardboard box under a sewer drain in the winter. If they starve to death, they won’t be able to make more fantastic content for you.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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