Art Has Never Been Closer

by Emily (Saratoga High School, Saratoga, CA) on 2014-08-03 12:50:05 PDT
There are multifarious ways to appreciate, admire, and share different types and forms of art. Some people act as quiet respectful visitors, nodding and taking notes at the invaluable pieces in the Louvre Museum. Others go to local galleries as a relaxing weekend activity, which provides opportunities to communicate with other art enthusiasts.

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Kristina Webb's artwork

However, there is a new way of sharing art that is becoming more popular as the users of social media increases exponentially each day: viewing art by various artists online. As an art lover, I am always looking for a convenient platform where I can see a plethora of artworks in a short amount of time. Two years ago, I found myself dumbfounded and fascinated in the Instagram pages of online artists. I never imagined having an abundant amount of quality artworks and sketching techniques at the tip of my fingers. Artists, professional or not, can upload and share their own art by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other popular social medias. The increase of followers can bring more posts, likes, comments, and popularity from active users. The most famous and popular artist on Instagram, Kristina Webb, who is from New Zealand, had only 300,000 followers when I noticed her two years ago. But now she has more than one million followers who call themselves Kiwis (the name of her fan base.)

I realized how social media is a much more efficient way of sharing artworks. But efficiency and convenience are not the only benefits of online art. Viewers have more chances to interact with the artist personally by direct messaging. Viewers are no longer distant bystanders who can only look at the surface of the artwork passively. By talking to the artists, viewers can have deeper interpretations for artworks. Artists can get constructive advice and feedback from the viewers. Many artists have even become friends with each other. Viewers and art beginners can learn from the artists’ tutorial videos. Social medias have turned into an art community where art lovers gather together to share and discuss artworks.

However many people argue that online art community has changed and distorted the purpose of art. They believe that real art should not be as accessible and “ordinary.” In their mindset, it should be framed elegantly in a luxurious gallery, with a dexterous artist and immeasurable value. If art can just be admired by scrolling down pages on one’s phone, the value and meaning are all gone. Anyone can screenshot or save the picture of a brilliant piece of art and claim it as his or her own. The copyrights of these respectable artists could be stolen and threatened.

I believe that we should widen our narrow mindset and accept the broader definition of art that is still broadening. Art is no longer a privileged entertainment only enjoyed by wealthy royals in the eighteenth century. Everybody, including teenage students like us, has the right to understand art. I have benefited from the online art community by setting up my own Instagram page. Although I am not as popular and influential as Kristina Webb, I still received a lot of encouraging comments that brought me confidence and criticisms that helped me grew as a more mature artist. As a student in high school, I do not have enough time to visit galleries or museums every week to look at artworks. Therefore Instagram and other social medias became the most efficient platform for me to continue my passion for art.

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samonstage's lyrics artwork of "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars

There is another popular artist on Instagram with the username samonstage. She is only sixteen, still struggling through her junior year. But with the supports from her fans on Instagram, she manages to continue chasing her dream and to post her graphic designs online. She opened up her own artwork shop on RedBubble. Even famous celebrities are using the phone case designed by her. She becomes an inspiration for many lost and young artists with a dream.

Every undiscovered gem should deserve his or her spotlight. Social medias provide a platform to share artworks and express opinions. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not only a source of entertainment for many teenagers, but also a place to bring them one step closer to their artist dream. The doors are opening, and art has never been closer.

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