Art on social media is currently really popular and widely spread. Scrolling through Instagram — the most used in terms of artistic sharing — you can find thousands of different art accounts, every single one of them with their own peculiar style. However, there’s something particularly interesting about this social media artistic phenomenon: it changed and evolved the public’s perception of Art.
With an average of 4.2 billion liked posts per day, it is obvious that having your work on Instagram can increase your popularity and name branding as an artist. However, the controversial and more problematic consequence of this quick and passive engagement of the audience, is that it creates, more generally speaking, “15 minutes of fame” as Andy Warhol would have put it: the artist and the piece of art is appreciated rapidly and in some cases, forgotten as fast as it was acknowledged by the viewer or social media user.
Moreover, Art as a trend is both powerful and dangerous. For example, Hyperrealism, digital comic art, ink and minimalistic art, and also make-up creations are “in” right now, they’re all over the homepages or feeds of many social media platforms. This is positive, on one hand, because artistic talent, passion and commitment are in some way celebrated and appreciated by a wider range of people, in this sense, Art is less of a élite, but more of a pop product; on the other hand, though, the artists themselves can sometimes feel part of an extremely powerful and uncontrollable force with over 500 million active monthly users on Instagram only. Your Art is recognized, yes, but there’s a high risk of not being remembered at all.
And don’t get me started on people who “re-post” wonderful piece of someone else’s art and do not credit the artist. In this sense, Art is now a viral image and sometimes it is only seen as such: people think they can re-post it as if it was any other meme, as if it was any other trend.
Moreover, concerning this matter, many artists fall into the void of the “meme category”. This process is painfully simple and it has immense effects. Let’s take a basic example. Artist A posts a funny comic. The comic goes viral. This is good because the artist has now been recognized, their work appreciated by millions of people. Artist A is now always expected by people to fall into the “meme category” artist and always expected to do the same drawings. If the expectations don’t come from the external social media platforms, the artist themselves could feel the pressure to draw the same subject or a same structure of image over and over again because this is how they feel they will be liked, they obviously need some kind of recognition as it is normal to be, and this is the only way they think they can have it.
The Artistic Revolution of the 2010’s is cosmopolitan, it has a global audience, wider than any audience of the past. But paradoxically enough, being wider makes it too accessible to the point where it is not always appreciated as it should.