About my On-line Self

How do you ‘craft’ your on-line self asks ‘Scoutie Girl’. Your on-line persona must be a true representation of who you are: and she goes on to describe the self she chooses to share on line as ‘positive, successful, optimistic, and driven…’ {http://www.scoutiegirl.com/2010/02/the-art-business-of-crafting-your-online-self.html}

Well what if you’re not – ‘positive, successful, optimistic and driven’?  Does it mean you are less of a creator? What if your ‘true self’ is bound up with the ability to use art? Upon the page or the canvas or fabric you can say, I am alive, I am myself. I can’t resolve the drive for creativity with the drive for social networking or ‘blogging’. The two seem irreconcilable and I have thus found myself usually blocked when it comes to ‘blogging’. The drive for creativity tends to demand solitude, and cultivating one’s art rather than cultivating an internet audience and relationships. Can you imagine Rembrandt ‘networking’? The few letters that remain in his hand are about chasing up money and wanting to get paid for work done. Rembrandt only wrote three or four words to describe his art. ‘I aim for the greatest movement’ but he did not say of what. Van Gogh on the other hand was a prolific letter writer – usually to his brother Theo where he described his working methods and his aims to great detail, but when it came to people in general, he was that ‘crazy man’ who set up his easel in the sun. 

Anthony Storr, who has written two books on creativity suggests that relationships are not the only source of happiness and that personal fulfillment can be found in creative work. For the artist to develop he or she must have the capacity to be alone. As my five year old niece once expressed it after an experience of being by herself in the schoolyard, ‘you can play with yourself’. She was describing her ability to imagine playmates. This ‘playing with yourself’ or the materials that come to define your art stimulates creativity – because in solitude the Imagination is given free reign.

It seems to me that we may get too bogged down with the internet persona because we’re told that’s how to make it big as an Etsy seller. Blog, subscribe to other’s blogs (follow, follow) and the same information is given for how to promote your blog…I feel stretched not only trying to make felt work but in keeping up with so much STUFF on the internet. Can we not focus on creating rather than creating a ‘persona’? In psychological terms ‘persona’ usually does not reflect the true self but is a mask for social situations. Through art and which ever form it may take, I come to be who I am. It will also be the way I show you who I am.

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