Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I was discussing blogs with somebody, and she said to me today that collectors might not always understand our point of view so she is cautious about what she says in public. Hmm. I really gave that a lot of thought this afternoon. That one phrase brought up quite a few questions for me.
The first one is, what exactly is a blog and it's purpose? When I started mine last August I looked upon it in the respect of it being my personal diary to post whatever I chose to. It never occurred to me anyone would even read it very seriously. While I don't get a lot of public comments, I get insane amounts of e-mail with people sharing similar stories or just adding their two cents to whatever I have posted. I am shocked every time I find out someone is reading it. So what exactly is it? Is it mine to do with as I see fit, or do I have some sort of obligation to my readers? It's not like I am writing a column in the paper.
The next thing it made me ask was if my collectors are reading my blog, what do they hope to get from reading it? Do they want to know me? Do they want to know why I make what I make? Are they interested in my day to day life, or do they just want to see what makes me tick? Do they read it just to see what I currently have for sale? Does reading it enhance what they purchased from me? Does what they read affect whether they want to buy my work or not? That last question bothered me so much that in an uncharacteristic fit terror I deleted over half my posts because I have occasionally used my blog to exorcise things from my brain that were bothering me. I was afraid someone might judge me too harshly and not want a bear because they didn't understand how or why I said what I did. I kinda regret doing it now that I put it into perspective, but what's done is done. Maybe blogging is like making your first bear, you won't get it right the first time.
If collectors are basing any aspect of their purchases on what we write, then the next question is what do collectors expect artists to be? We are notoriously moody and eccentric. Beauty is born out of pain and most artists have had some sort of pain in their lives at some point, it's what drives us to want to make the world a more attractive place. But do people read our blogs because they want to know the truth about us, or do they want to hold us up as ideals of something? I really don't know because for most of my career I sold to people face to face at shows and signings. Things went really well in those days because there wasn't the misinterpretation of the meaning of our words that runs rampant on the internet. People liked me when they met me I guess. If people are basing their purchases soley on who we are, then that would seem a little odd when you consider that our houses are FILLED with things designed and created by people we have no concept of. Even if we did know about them, would it stop us from buying the paper towels with the flowers, or the cashmere sweater, or our sofa because the artist who designed them had a gambling problem or cheated on their spouse or said something nasty in public once?
So then the next question is, what do collectors think teddy bear artists are? I am a real person the same as anyone else. I would love to tell you that I am like Glinda, the good witch and travel around in a shiny bubble with a pink sparkly dress and a glittery wand passing out pretty shoes and ways to find their route home to wayward folks, but it doesn't work that way. If Glinda had her own blog, what would she have written? (By the way just a lil piece of trivia...Billie Burke was 53 when she played Glinda in the movie. Isn't that just fabulous, she looked amazing!)
One person said that we have a responsibility to use the proper netiquette. I guess that sounds like a nice idea, and maybe I should try harder to stick to that. But who decides what's proper? If we hold too tightly onto being PC on the PC do we squash our own creative thought flow? Maybe we don't always understand each other's point of view, but maybe that's what makes us think.
I really hope people don't judge us too harshly as artists over what we write or what we don't write. In turn, I am sure our collectors wouldn't want to be judged so harshly by the artists they love. Collectors and artists are all delightfully 3 dimensional people who have good days and bad days, and things that make us happy, hurt, anxious, sad, excited and angry. As artists we have unique perspectives on the world and all too often our online words get misinterpreted because of the very nature of those perspectives. If you aren't sure you agree with what you are reading, just remember at our core we are still all nice people. If we weren't we couldn't make something as delightful as teddy bears now could we! Besides Glinda might have been a witch, but she still full of sparkly, shiny, glittery goodness!