This Post is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for
FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
The past few days have been both frustrating and freeing. I have had computer problems and it is currently Ďin the shopí. I have not been able to access email, update my website, or write/read blogs for about 5 days now. I have loved it! Yet, in the back of my mind I have worried about some of the communication that I really should be actively pursuing. They were simply put on hold for a few days. As we speak, I am using the computer at the local library to type this newsletter.
Since being without my computer, I have been thinking about how different communication is now compared to only a few years ago. I am usually slow to adopt the newest high-tech gadget or application. I use email and blogging sparingly, and my cell phone is the no-bells-and-whistles type. I cannot email from it, etc. Yet, even for me, whenever I donít have access to what I need when I need it, it is noticeable and frustrating. Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is that I actually miss it.
This led to my considering how prudently we use the wide variety of media available today. We text, tweet, blog, etc. Many use Facebook or any of the other plethora of social media. All have great potential benefits, but all can be potentially harmful. Many today live virtual lives with virtual relationships. We sit in front of the computer screen for hours on end chatting with strangers, and get impatient when we run into an acquaintance at the store who wants to chat for a few minutes.
I was a chaperone recently for our church sponsored youth dance. I noticed that about half of the teenagers were texting rather than dancing. I even noticed a couple who spent the entire evening sitting next to each other passing the cell phone back and forth; texting. They did not say a word to each other that I noticed.
Have we forgotten how to have meaningful interactions with real people? We must not let our virtual lives be so consuming that we neglect the greater form of communication and relationship building Ė face to face. Our lives will be richer for it. And our art business will be better for it.
Networking and building real relationships with collectors, artists, dealers, curators, etc. is most effective when done face to face. Many (not all) artists tend to be somewhat reclusive and avoid art shows or other public gathering. Whenever possible, it is in the artistís best interest to go to the shows. Visit with real people. Interact. Be engaging. Take a client to lunch. Attend or teach a workshop. Join a local artistís group. Participate in an art related discussion at the local museum or art center.
Yes, some of your collectors are long distances away. Is it too difficult to telephone rather than email or text? Email conversations often have very different outcomes than telephone conversations. Even if the end result is the same, there will be much more gained by actually talking.
Consider how much time you spend living in the virtual world and balance it with real time spent talking with real people. This will propel your art career forward much quicker and much further. Both have their place and both are important. A healthy balance is critical.
PS Set time limits for your internet forays. It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you set the timer and are disciplined enough to stop when it rings. Donít let yourself waste endless hours being sucked into the virtual vortex. Not only will it harm real relationships, it will eat away at your productivity.