March 16, 2012

Art and Our Digital Lives

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been doing a Project 365 this year, posting an (amateur) photo a day on my blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.  It’s so much fun!

It’s prodded my long-fallow visual artistic/creative side.  When I was a lot younger, I was artistic and crafty in so many ways.  I did embroidery and hooked rugs and plush art and quilts and sewed my own clothes.  I cooked.  I took art every year of my schooling (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Somer!), and even double-majored in English and Art in college ~ until I realized how long it was going to take at one class a semester.  I always wanted to do more photography, but in the era of print images it was cost-prohibitive. 

(Just now I do a search online for Mr. Somer, thinking perhaps there might be some of his artwork, or at least a mention of him.  I had him for art all through middle school and high school.  A thin wiry man with a great sense of humor but also able to enforce discipline.  He lived in a geodesic dome outside of town.  One time he found out my cousin Dennis was phobic about spiders, so he ripped a bit of canvas with a long string, painted it black, and dropped it over Dennis’s shoulder onto his drafting table desk. Dennis shoved the desk completely across the room.  Also, Mr. Somer may have seemed small, but if a guy gave him guff in class ~ not very often ~ he would grab the guy by the scruff and let him know he was out of line. But Mr. Somer had that wonderful quality of having discipline but also letting your muse take you where you wanted to go.  Sure, sometimes he would lead class, but mostly he just let us choose what we wanted to do and he’d then support us with materials and by showing us technique. Basically independent study.  But do you know what is infinitely sad?  There is absolutely no mention of him online. Not an image. This man gave his artistic life to be an excellent teacher, but any work he created sank like a stone, without a ripple, under the waters of time.  I find his picture in our yearbook.)

Today, there’s this whole visual photography culture online!  I’ve found my people!  Or more of my people I should say ~ first I found my writer people.  For me, Facebook is about writers, Pinterest is about photography and art, Twitter is about current events and the inside scoop, and Google+ … well, I actually don’t spend much time on G+.  I guess it’s about connecting internationally because so many of my G+ friends are from all around the globe.  It’s also very visual too.

Do I consider these people my friends?  Unequivocally yes. They may be mere acquaintances ~ but with potential, you know?  With good feeling and exciting possibility.  But, too, many of them I consider good friends.  We’ve talked a lot and commented and interacted.  In some ways, online connections are like reading ~ you get the insides of a person without the messy part of body odor and bad days. But isn’t that really what we want from our friends, to connect soul to soul?  (Unless of course we’re looking for that messy body interaction. J )

Go forth, and find you peeps!

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