Last week on my blog over at Notes from the Voodoo Cafe I talked about getting involved and making a difference. Over the years, I’ve gotten lots of feedback about the mixed media art world. Much of it is enthusiastic and excited, but some of it is complaints about people see online and in publications. They say it all looks the same, the same artists are featured over and over, the same images get used ad nauseum (wings, birds, nests, pointy hats–you know). OK. I understand that complaint. But! Here’s what’s cool about that: with the launch of CreateMixedMedia.com, those people and other people and YOU, too, have a fabulous chance to make a difference.
How? Because those of us involved with this new online community are interested in eager happy to thrilled beyond belief to find out about new. New artists. New techniques. New workshops. New ideas and images and places and people and just, really, anything new. New Stuff. Sure, we all have well-known artists we absolutely adore. And we have favorite techniques and materials and supplies we really like. But we also love finding out about things we didn’t even know existed.
And here I’ll quit speaking for anyone else and talk just about myself: I know there’s a world of cool stuff out there, people trying new things and teaching innovative workshops and making cool art that I’ve never seen, and I want to know about it. Sure, I can find out about some of it if I hunt around online, reading blogs and following links and tracking down people mentioned by someone else. And I do as much of that as I can. But like everyone else, I don’t have enough time to find all those links. And I don’t get to travel across the country taking classes and going to workshops (I got to do a little of that last year, but it’s not a regular thing), and I don’t get to go to all the gallery openings and demos and exhibitions at local arts and crafts fairs.
That’s why I want your input. I want you to tell me about stuff. If you find something cool online, send me a link. If you go to a local workshop that just blows you away, tell me about it. When you’re out and about at fairs and galleries, collect business cards so you’ve got contact info for people doing cool stuff you’d like to share. The coolest thing about this is that it benefits everyone: I don’t want to take someone’s brand-new technique and teach it or claim it as my own. No way. I want to talk to the person who’s doing it and find out what they’re doing and where they want to go with it. Maybe they want to do a tutorial or an interview or a podcast. Good for them, and good for me. And good for everyone here who gets to find out about someone new who may be teaching in their area or at a retreat or, really, who knows? Who knows what ripples will spread out?
You can send notes to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what else you can do.
~~Post comments. Respond to what you read on our blogs, and talk to us via the columns. Suggest topics, respond to opinions, argue your point. Talk to us!
~~Sign up for the newsletter–add yourself to the database so the people who keep track of these things know how many people are interested and visiting. Plus it will keep you up-to-date on what we’re planning.
~~Join us on Flickr. So far, we’ve launched The Everyday Studio, where you are invited to upload photos of real, everyday, not-fixed-up studios. In just ten days, it’s gotten over 50 members and 250 photos of people’s studios. We’re planning more groups, so you’ll have more ways to share where you work and what you do. Getting involved this way allows you to see what others are doing and lets them see what you’re doing. It’s the easiest and quickest way to see new stuff. And the more interest we see out there, the more we’ll brainstorm to bring you more.
~~Follow the links and spread the comment love. We’ll share blogs and websites we find, and going there and leaving a comment is a great way to connect with people you might never have stumbled across on your own.
Got other ideas? We’d love to hear. Post a comment down there and talk to us!