In the old days, an artist worked in solitude. They built a portfolio of finished work long before the public had a chance to see any of it. Works in progress were kept under wraps and lesser works were often destroyed by the artist who understood that not everything was a masterpiece meant to be seen. That much of what they created were practice pieces meant only for the sake of self-exploration and artistic evolution.
In this day of social media and the ability to instantly show everything that we are doing, many artists are “posting” everything. In my mind that could be doing the artist, art collector and art world in general, a huge disservice. Not only are we being invited in to see work that is not as strong perhaps as what someone might do if they let it develop in private – but because the public is by virtue of the medium, invited to comment immediately on the work, the masses might be having a huge influence on the development of art.
Is this phenomenon inevitably going to affect the direction of artwork? Because we, as artists, are also of course, wanting to sell our work – will we be impacted negatively by the direction that comments or preemptive sales might lead us? Is there still a value to keeping work in private? In not showing works in progress? In building bodies of work and not just throwing every individual piece out there? I have several friends who are working on series/bodies of work that they wish to be seen in their entirety. It is an interesting thing. If they show these pieces in social media, they may find that they are saying no to sales so that they can “finish” the work first. Risky, right?
What are your thoughts on all if this. Is it a good thing to show WIPs or not? Can it be a problem when you show everything that you are working on? Could this keep you from evolving? Should we be sitting on work and letting ourselves reflect more privately on what we are doing before we show the public? I ask this because I have been asking it of myself. I love showing work right away. I am not only proud of what I have doing, excited by it – but let’s face it, I could use the money that might come from a sale. Any sale. Then again, I miss the days of working on my own and slowly percolating ideas. What to do……?