(UPDATE - 5/2/19) After some reflection I decided to permanently retire my Instagram account. It was great while it lasted but I think there are times for cutting back and achieving simplicity/focus. This is such a time.
So, part way through my third year of the #draw365 project (791 posts!) I have decided to give it a rest in favour of diving into deeper¹ material. The last three years has seen a lot of stuff happening and I have enjoyed the discipline of drawing something every day.
So was it worth doing?
Definitely. Here are some (personal) thoughts:
As a space for personal reflection I have found the discipline of #draw365 invaluable - I have developed a set of visual-reflective muscles that feel restless without the exercise of reaching for my sketchbook. While I don’t intend to stop reflecting - I won’t be posting them online every day. Every artist needs the space to reflect, and this has been a huge help to me.
As a means of interaction and discussion with my students it has been terrific. Beyond the online ‘likes’ I have often used these pictures in class to discuss something currently going on in the culture².
Drawing things quickly and not fussing about the results. There is something wonderful about doing something from a deeper, instant conviction and not spending too long on it. I continue to find it frustrating and wonderful that my best stuff didn’t take that long to craft.
What are the down-sides?
Occasionally my observations are too frank for public consumption. I then find myself caught between the need to keep my #draw365 routine or relationships(!). Not having to post daily means I can still think/reflect while reserving a protective barrier.
The pressure to keep it going - this is a tricky one that comes back to a whole bunch of factors - the quality of the imagery (is it good enough? Am I overdoing it?), how you feel it reflects on you (and whether narcissistic crowd-pleasing tendencies matter), maintaining a natural organic feel (vs refined/artificial production).
I hope that these are useful thoughts for anyone who is thinking of doing something similar. I will certainly continue to post material on there but the hashtag is going into retirement from today.
¹ Lots of artists and writers make the observation that their best work is cheapened by the daily energy being donated to social media. Instead of seven half decent images - why not one each week with six discarded drafts?
² It’s worth mentioning here that in the age of despicable online grooming and horrific child protection scandals, teachers are rightly required to follow strict professional codes of conduct online. This is why I never post personal photos or follow student accounts. Any communication always stays out in the open. This stuff matters.