ALL EYES ON YOU: Taking Creative Risks in the Digital Age


We live in an age where the physical threads we form through face-to-face interactions are nearly outweighed by the ones formed in the digital space. For creatives, there’s never been a better time to network. The devices we carry in our back pockets have become a gateway to global partnerships and opportunities. Social media casts its blue light onto the majority and in return, the majority revere it, incorporating it into sacred routines and practices. iPhones are the fresh pair of eyes that allow one to peek into the lives of others, offering filtered and doctored details. Where once there were only the eyes of close friends, family and the occasional stranger or acquaintance, there are now billions. Is becoming aware of all these eyes a blessing or a curse to creativity? 

Many fall victim to the social pressures presented in the digital space. The oppressive need to conform, to fit in, to constantly stand out, to do more, to do less, to speak and to remain silent. Most of the effects of social media are subliminal, wreaking havoc on the subconscious mind, slashing creativity and individuality with each tap and scroll. Social media is like a stage wherein each of us are staging our own individual productions. Some shows are genuine, some disingenuous. Some are fictional, others rooted in reality. Creativity is stifled when the creator becomes too aware of the audience. The moment an artist becomes too concerned with the opinions of strangers is the moment they hand over all their artistic power and influence. There lies the dangers of excessive social media consumption in the creative space. The day is doomed when the first thing one does in the morning is roll over to seek digital validation. Between the digital and physical realms, there’s a demand for balance. 

Taking creative risks in the digital age becomes far more difficult when there are too many pressures looming. A vast majority of these pressures stem from the performative nature of social media. The sinking feeling of judgement, negative feedback and jealousy is more potent than ever. Most will never take the leap to create in the first place due to the idea of strangers online casting their unwelcome judgement. As an artist, taking risks is more exciting than ever, but also more dangerous. Everywhere you look there are eyes, cameras, comment sections, dislike buttons and an unforgiving cancel culture. As a creative, one must build two homes with equally fortified foundations. One house for the physical realm, and one for the digital space. The physical realm is where one should spend most of their time. Sourcing inspiration, utilising every sense to its fullest potential. The physical realm is for grounding, for manifesting the tangible and for pushing personal limits. The digital space is for sharing what you’ve formulated as a product of the real world. Humans aren’t avatars. No matter how obsessed one can be with social media, their roots will always be tied to the Earth. Humans seek familiarity, vulnerability, relatability, and those things are born not from the world of social media, but from reality.

Taking creative risks must begin in the physical world before being translated to the online space. 

Why is this the case? 

Because one cannot form roots within the digital space. In the physical realm, one can sit with an idea without the uninvited gaze of another. Ideas can freely shift and evolve without being influenced by an erratic environment. The conditions for limitless creativity are just right in the tangible world. In the landscape of art, there must be stability before entering the online chaos. 

The way creativity can be shared and viewed has certainly evolved, but there’s nothing more effective than the traditional forms of risk taking as an artist that lean far more heavily on the external world. 

Written by Ashley Jade Callahan from GLITCH Magazine


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