Words by Lorraine Giron
Graphics by Jury Salaya
Social Media has greatly changed the landscape of many fields, and the Philippine art scene is no exception. It was once an inaccessible world, known to be only for the elites, experts, and collectors. However, it is fortunately not as intimidating as it used to be! Social Media has changed the way Filipinos think, feel, and consume information about the art world. But are the effects probably for the better? Well, only time can tell.
The age of shoutouts and GCs as compensation
“Walang pera sa art.”
We’ve all heard that line before.
Careers in the art industry are not your usual 9-5 jobs, which is why it’s far from what Filipinos think as “practical” courses. It’s understandable that many people are not aware of how expensive it is to invest in art materials and, most especially, the rigorous creative process artists go through. Getting an art degree is not a walk in a park which is why shoutout, exposure, gift certificates and, most of all, “libre na lang kita ng pagkain” shouldn’t and cannot compensate for their time and talent.
However, with the help of social media, local artists are now being given the platform to vent out their frustrations and educate fellow artists and Filipinos of the importance and value of their work. There is an ever growing support for the local art industry, which is why the future for artists is slowly becoming bright.
The rise of other art forms
Art has branched out from the traditional paintings and illustrations. Thanks to technology, there are now various art forms such as digital art, computer graphics, computer animation and many more. Social Media has given the platform for artists to explore other fields. Photography and videography are becoming increasingly popular, with quite a number of local artists making a profitable career out of it. There is the rise of “content creators”. More and more Filipinos have been diving into digital art as well, as evidenced with the way they enjoy and share comics, paintings and illustrations (sorry, memes are not included!) online. And the talent has been amazing.
More Pinoys are going to museums and galleries
I remember the time when visiting museums and galleries in Manila was not a yet considered a “thing”. However, in the recent years, it’s been noticeable that more and more Filipinos have been showing interest in art. It is evidenced by the long queues at museums, galleries and art fairs. It’s interesting to note that these enthusiasts are not just millennials–but Filipinos of different ages, too. When the National Museum of the Philippines announced through its Facebook page that it has permanently waived off its entrance fee, it was a big initiative by the government in making art more accessible to Filipinos. And the Filipinos did heed.
Art events have become increasingly popular, which greatly help in promoting galleries and artists. Take, for example, Art Fair Philippines. Social Media coverage has helped it in becoming what it is now; a premier, annual event that promotes modern and contemporary Philippine visual art.
But is it just because of the ‘gram?
Whether it is genuine appreciation for art or not, we can’t deny the role of Instagram in that matter. One cannot deny that many Filipinos like to post about almost every aspect of their lives; and when something is #aesthetic, an active social media user would surely be sharing about it online. And sometimes, sadly, doing it “for the ‘gram” leads to a lack of mindfulness, or worse, a lack of art etiquette. Keep your camera phone in your pocket—take time to actual look at the art around you. And, most importantly, keep your hands to yourself. Don’t touch the art! Here is a reminder that art is more than just an #aesthetic post in your feed.
No to social media toxicity
While creatives are able to do what they are passionate about, they are also peppered with criticism especially coming from social media. Once you post your work, it is subjected to the public’s opinion. Therefore, as an artist, you need to be ready for those, too. This is a reminder for fellow artists to be open to constructive criticism and, well, the harshness of the online world. Both will always be there, and instead of letting it hinder artists from creating, may they learn to grow from it.
But as for everyone else, maybe we can be kinder when giving feedback as well—or when dealing with artists in general. Social Media is a great platform for educating and uplifting one another. We just need to be mindful of what and how we express our thoughts.
How do you think social media has changed the way we view art? Tell us what you think in the comments!