The new Grand Central
As I physically parted with my first painting of the growing number that have come out of the shop/studio this July, I had a moment where I realized how many connections, conversations, interviews and stories emerge from my various social media platforms that I use. Dan Lines, on Facebook, saw one of the earlier "crazy" paintings, I think the Stevie Ray Vaughan - he is a huge guitar fan - and requested that I consider doing Keith Richards.
From a request on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I do a quick Google search and scan the images available online. For the more famous people, there is a mix of photos and art works. But always, one picture always jumps out, screaming to be painted. That certainly was the case with the guitarist from the Rolling Stones.
Shortly after posting the handing over of the painting photo, three new requests came in within a couple of minutes, all through social media, the new Grand Central, where we all meet. Heather, sitting on the other sofa, was shaking her head in wonderment.
People can bemoan the various social media platforms and how they are great time wasters and dangerous vortexes of distraction, but from a utilitarian point of view, they have been invaluable for me. So many of my "business" conversations begin and end on Facebook or Twitter.
It really comes down to the personal preference of the person I'm engaged with. Some people are very mobile and relying on the brevity of Twitter to move things along. Others prefer the professional environment of LinkedIn. Many of us brave the Facebook waters and carry on rich and meaningful dialogues using their messenger service or conduct vigorous debates in public conversation strings that can stretch on for days.
For some reason, these crazy and colourful paintings of mine have found a small market thanks to the wonders of these social media platforms, the train stations of the modern day, where energy, ideas, and people co-mingle, if only for a few fleeting moments. But it only takes seconds for magic to happen; and it often does.
I personally love the fact that I can be inspired by the work of other artists as they share their work. The intensely detailed and beautiful drawings of Erin Schwab, the inspired and striking photographs of Erin Stinson, or the amazing abstracts of my old friends Stan and Barb Taylor down in Calgary all grab my attention and provide an injection of magic in the middle of a busy day. I'm grateful to each and every one of them.
While I could survive without the hubbub and clutter of social media - I proved that last Christmas when I went a full 7 days without - I choose not to. Instead, I keep exploring, wondering, experimenting with what more these virtual collision points can do to enrich my life.