We’re all keen to tell newcomers that it’s “all about the process, not the product.” And, we’re just as invested in being concerned that most newcomers find it difficult not to be concerned about the product. But you know what? The existence of the internet and all of the social infrastructure built around it by art groups, flies in the face of all that process, not product stuff.
Listen to nature journalists. For them its all about “documenting” what they see, building a “record” of the places they go and coupled with it the “share it in our Facebook group” request. I don’t know how many Facebook groups exist for the sole purpose of people displaying their work but it’s a lot. And don’t even suggest those groups are social groups. Facebook groups stopped being about talking a long time ago. If you’re a member of these groups you will have experienced some bit of guilt if you haven’t posted sketches in them. Ya gotta participate, right? Heck, the Urban Sketchers require posting of your sketches if you’re going to call yourself an urban sketcher; it’s in the manifesto. Any 30 day challenge or online workshop comes with a hashtag you’re supposed to use when you post your results.
Generally I think we see sharing sketches to be a good thing but it does change what we do and how we do it. And I realized this morning that it has actually affected whether I feel productive (or not) as a sketcher. I’ve mentioned a couple times recently that I haven’t been doing much sketching and this seems a direct response to not posting as much stuff. I didn’t really realize this to be true.
But this morning was garbage day and so I emptied my studio garbage can and took it out to the recycling (it’s all sheets of paper). For some unknown reason I thought about the bag in my hand and how it represented somewhere between 50 and 100 sheets of paper, each filled with scribbles and doodles, often on both sides of the paper. It made me realize that I’m doing a LOT of sketching, though it’s done “for no reason” since it doesn’t appear on the internet.
Does that make any sense to anyone? I don’t think so. But I know I’m not alone in how the internet has changed how we make decisions and how we do our art. It might be time to give a bit of thought to this, an introspection of sorts. I know I’m going to ponder sketching for no reason and its virtues.
When I came in from the garbage trip I noticed these three sheets laying around on my desk. Though they aren’t the most complete doodles, I thought they could illustrate what it means when I sketch for no reason.