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Art vs. Content

There's a text post I often see floating around the internet that says something along the lines of "art being labelled content is one of the worst things to happen to art."


Ah, yes, this one.




This post resonated with my very deeply the first time I read it, and still does. I am in the throws of trying to figure out how to make people on the internet care about my art while simultaneously losing some of my precious few Instagram followers every time I post. It's hard to not get down on myself, or doubt my work when this happens.


Something that should have been glaringly obvious dawned on me today while trying desperately to get an aesthetic shot for my feed: Art is not content! And creating good art doesn't mean you're automatically going to create good content! They are totally different skill sets!


Take for example a painting I recently completed and the TikTok I made to show it off:




Social media has opened the doors for exponentially more creative people to profit off their art, but has also turned the artist into their own marketing and promotions team. Their own "content creator". So we often become frustrated when we can't grow an online following despite the encouragement and celebration we may receive when people experience our art in person.


We need to remind ourselves that being bad at crafting an aesthetically pleasing feed or not knowing which hashtags to use does not mean we're not great artists. It simply means we have to learn how to show off that work in a digital environment. We have to learn to cater our presentation to specific platform constraints, demographics, algorithms, and audience expectations. We have to develop a personal feel to our content. We have to put ourselves out there alongside our work.


Our art alone is not content.


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