Brave new world. It's all about ideas.

Everything in our world, right now, is changing. Ideas, delivery, use- what we use, how we use it, connections, how we connect. Our world, our time, is all about IDEAS.

Right now, I have some ideas, and I’m going to share them with you, dear readers.
I’ll take my perspective on all of this, as a visual artist. But what i’m talking about really applies to everything around us. Just that sentence is the heart of what I want to talk about.
Life, and everything in it is so much more fluid now.
have you heard of the TED talks? TED is all about ideas. TED is not a guy named TED. TED is a conference of very creative, and smart people with IDEAS. They get together, share their ideas, and the world watches and listens. Sometimes the ideas they have spread.

I was recently watching the brilliant Seth Godin in a video when he was at TED.
It got me thinking ( I do far too much of that) In the video, Seth was talking about ideas, and how media has changed, and in a bigger sense, our whole world. I agreed. I’ve been observing this change myself. So, as an artist, I started thinking about art, ideas, spreading ideas, community, technology, all sorts of things. Things that seem unrelated, but aren’t.

Seth explained the death of mass media, specifically, old school advertising that has been the standard for many generations now. It’s dead. it really is. It doesn’t work, because we’re all different now. ( We’ve changed. they haven’t. ) IDEAS work. Ideas spread, and things get noticed, then talked about, then used, or bought, or shared. This is how our society works now. This is really the complete opposite of how it used to work in advertising. Advertisers dictated to the audience, by bombarding them with interruptive messages. There was no sharing of ideas, only ‘buy this crap’ over and over and over. quite a difference.

I’m going to start with the OLD IDEAS, the ones that are myths, and are still hanging around- because the NEW IDEAS haven’t quite made it fully into circulation yet. ( and WE need to change that)

So, this brings us to rules. You know in art, the same as advertising, there have been ‘rules’ or set ways of doing things for a long, long time. The traditional route. The gallery set up, the academic standards, the gatekeepers of what everyone is supposed to think is art, and how it should be seen, thought about, or used. ( apply this to whatever sector you work or create in- computers, tech, music, writing, ect.)
These have been kept in place by people that wanted to control how things were done, because it benefits...THEM. They aren’t sharing ideas, they are trying to dictate.
Oh sure, they will argue they are working for the benefit of society to protect what truly is art, but it’s bunk. And, it’s dead. ART IS NOT DEAD, THE OLD RULES ARE.
here’s some more bunk ideas from the dead horse ie. the old way: You have to have your work in  a gallery, or this or that important gallery. or this or that Mr. Important pants needs to do a review on you. ( so you can kiss his pinky ring and get the art gatekeeper blessing, then, you lowly mortal, will be granted the title of ‘real’ artist.)  OR you have to go to this art school or that one. OR, no one will take your work seriously. blah, blah, blah.


It’s OVER. Ohhh-verrrr. Sorry gatekeepers, claw and hang onto your old idea that kept everyone in line for years as much as you want ( my precioussssss) but it’s over.
NEW IDEAS are spreading, and you can’t stop it.

So this brings me to another point. LOCATION AND DELIVERY.One of the OLD ‘rules’ in art, or the art- world. Or, a MYTH, I should say, because it IS. ( a myth, that is).

You have to live in NY, LA, Chicago, DC, Miami, or some such similar place, if you want to be noticed, considered relevant, and have a place in this construct called the art world.
BUNK. (It’s also bunk for most other industries right now.)

OK, to be fair, At one point in time, it was true, (WAS) but that was also the same time that mass media and the old rules of how life worked and how ideas spread were still in place. So it’s not true anymore. All you have to do is look. There are literally thousands of great artists out there, and not all of them, actually, very few of them even live in any of those major cities.
I’m not talking about hobby artists. I’m talking about very active, successful, professional artists. There are lots of them. And they don’t care about the old rules. (If they did, they’d be wringing their hands, trying to kiss someone’s butt to get attention, and not producing work, following the old rules, in hopes that being a good little boy or girl, and following those rules would get them somewhere.)

Ideas, use, delivery and connections = Community. These five things are what I want to talk about now, because they really are at the heart of the whole point of this.
I think you can see now what I mean about ideas, vs. someone or some company dictating to us what we should see, think, buy or know about. So, what do we have to do? we need the idea that the old rules have died, to spread.FULLY. It’s slowly been spreading for a while, but someone has to deliver it. A community that embraces this idea will have to form. The message (idea) will have to be spread. It will then at some point extent beyond that initial community.But it will be active in the community it matters most to, that the change needs to occur in. The rest of the world will follow, or understand if they peek their heads in there. They’ll see that this is the new idea, accepted by the community it is relevant to, who is the authority on it because of it’s members, and go oh, ok, that’s how that works.
Community is really just another word for tribe. We all started that way, how we lived changed, but we all still form community, or tribes, in some form. We all still need each other, and need to connect. Think you aren’t part of some form of community? How fast can you figure out how to grow your own food, and not depend on the store or electricity. See, you do belong to at least that community. We still need each other.

That’s another point.
Delivery. How do ideas spread now? They aren’t delivered to us the old way, WE deliver them, to each other. IF it’s an idea, IF it’s worth sharing. Put it out there, and it will be delivered. Some faster than others. but that’s how it works. We have this thing called the internet and social media. This has changed everything. It’s grown hand in hand with the idea of ideas.
It’s a mirror of the whole concept, and how we live now.
It used to be people sitting around a fire, listening to stories. Ideas were passed on, and spread. It’s still happening, just like community is just another form of tribe. It’s just happening in a different form now.

Really, more than what we are making, building or selling, it’s the idea behind it, that will make it spread. THEN whatever it is will be supported. That’s the bottom line.
What has to happen for the idea to be spread? (delivered) Connections, community.Connection goes hand in hand with idea. Have an idea that connects. Have art that connects, have an app, or new software that connects.
An idea that connects to how or who is listening, and what is really happening. Who’s your audience? Share the idea with them. Create community. or, find yours.

If you’re pandering to the masses, and just doing the same thing that’s already been done, the same way, no one is going to care. It’s going to get ignored. This doesn’t mean go out and pull some stunt to get noticed. It just means you can’t please everyone, and probably shouldn’t try to. But if you have ONE THING, ONE IDEA that’s really great, and worth noticing, go for it!
People will begin using, spreading the idea, and gravitating to something that works, for them. something they connect with. We live in a time where everyone wants something special. No one wants mass media, mass produced, or the same as everyone else. Why would they? It wouldn’t matter to them. So know your audience, and give them something good. Don’t worry about the rest of the world. Does it have to be perfect? NOPE. It just has to FIT.

Want an example?
I’ve had an account on LinkedIn since 2009, I think. I never updated it, used it much, or bothered with it. Why? It wasn’t something I connected with. It didn’t matter much to me, to be quite frank. Recently, though, I have started to use it more. Why? There has been a growing community of design and creative professionals on there, who have formed community. They are sharing ideas. it’s useful to me, NOW. It’s worth noticing.
Slowly, others like me got the message, and tada! now many like me are using the site more.
see how this idea delivery and connection thing works?

For me, visiting the community of other creative professionals on LinkedIn, is a great alternative to Facebook. I know a lot of people use facebook, but, it’s just not a good fit for me. I do keep an art page there, because I realize a lot of people who like my art use facebook. That’s ok. I love the CONNECTION I have there with my fans. It’s great! but, to personally use and enjoy facebook outside of that, not so much.

Community, specialty, ideas, and delivering the ideas are behind anything that takes off in society now, particularly with advertising, services, products. You can spend as much money as you want trying to shove something at people, but if it isn’t about an idea, sharing, community (audience) it isn’t going to matter.

Another example: Pinterest. Pinterest isn’t for everyone. so what. but look how crazy popular it became!
Did they advertise during the superbowl? Nope! ( did they advertise at all? I’m not sure, but if they did, it wasn’t the ‘old’ way! and it was to a specific audience)

So, do you see the point? you can’t paint it all with the same brush. Not everything is going to work for everyone. And that’s fine! That’s OK! Just make sure to accept it, so you can focus on great ideas, and the right place to share them, instead of wasting your time.
(work smarter, not harder) Be genuine. Be you. Share ideas. Share them with people like you, who need your new ideas. Don’t make it all about you, but service- what you can offer or do for your community.

So, I’m done sharing my idea about...ideas. For now.
But what I want to leave you with is this: Since we aren’t playing by the old rules, and it’s all about ideas and connections, we need to find new ways of sharing our work, and making it a part of other people’s lives. We need to connect with others, and offer something with an idea behind it, an idea worth sharing. Basically, tell our tribe ‘hey, look at this, I think it’s good for us, I want to share it’.

Part of the problem is, people are still thinking about ‘art’ as something that is ONLY hung on a wall. Art is so much more than that. But we have to SPREAD THAT IDEA. We have to show how it’s more than that.

I’ve heard this statement so many times about selling art:
You’re selling art. Art is something nobody needs. By this they mean, art is not like bread or toilet paper, or gas in your car. A luxury, not a necessity. Ok, that’s true, to an extent.
(keep in mind, all this can most likely apply to your industry, not just art! just replace the word art with ‘app’ ‘software’ ‘article’ ‘services’ you get the idea here.)

But I completely disagree people don’t need art. IF their idea of art is a very limited one, such as only something you hang on a wall, ok, it might be a little true.
But, because art is more than that, it is simply not true.

We express ourselves more now than ever. Look at cases people put on their cell phones and laptops. It’s a whole industry customizing these things, people have them from all walks of life, and use them constantly. People need to express themselves. People NEED art. (Art in the broader sense here) people need creativity and self expression, and sharing of ideas. It’s what makes us, us. It makes us human. It connects us.
It’s ideas. It’s ALL of the things I just wrote about that make up our world. Especially right now.

Art, creativity, expression, ideas, comfort, we need these things. If we didn’t have them, everyone would be driving the same car, living in the same house, wearing the same thing, with the same haircuts. How horrible and inhuman would that be? Houses, clothes, hair, cars, nothing would have color. There wouldn’t be any paint in hardware stores! There wouldn’t be any flowers to put in your yard, no music, no movies, no pictures in books, or on the internet.
So, consider all that, then tell me people do not need art. Because art is more than what you hang on the wall. Art is life, a part of life, a basic need. Unless, that is you want to go live in a real life legoland of all grey.
not me, thanks.
spread the idea.


  1. Jen, this was amazing. You summed up the New Economy and our new world clearly.
    I keep waiting for the old advertising model to fall apart. Social media sites (FB being the worst offender) are collecting all this data but I don't see how it's getting anybody anywhere. We've long since tuned out ads. But I guess enough corporations still buy into it, or rather pay for it!
    Meanwhile, the rest of us move on...
    I like your thoughts on art, too, that it's part of life and we need more of it.

  2. Thank You so much, Lisa! maybe when they are totally behind and people aren't just buying out of habit anymore they'll realize they are wasting money. So much more could be accomplished with the obscene amounts of money corporations waste. I think we really are at a major turning point in history right now. the birth of a whole new era.


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