An Assortment of Pages you Should Follow to “Clean Ya Feed!”

“You are the 5 people you most surround yourself with”


The Internet

Right now, you may not be able to surround yourself with 5 people. Our social lives have gone all-virtual, so let’s amend that saying to:

You are the assortment of pages that currently dominate your social media feeds.



Me

And do you really want a part of your personality to consist of ‘fake news’ articles claiming that Netflix is responsible for coronavirus, or that snakes have legs…?

I should think not.

Life is too short, and you are too good for that.

One way to combat this is to tidy up and tailor your social media to only include those inspiring, educational or otherwise beneficial things that will have a positive impact on you and your person.

To clean ya feed.

In this article we’ve compiled lists of pages that consistently share quality content that we find adds something to our lives; making scrolling on social media not feel so bad.

We’ve organised them into the following categories:


NewsIrish CultureEducationalMusic PagesArt PagesFashionFemale-EmpowermentSex-Empowerment


News:

The Happy Broadcast

Sick of reading the news and being paranoid, disappointed or angry? The Happy Broadcast is a news reporter that only reports good news.

Studies show that consuming too much news can be bad for your health. So follow this page instead to find balance amongst the fear-mongering.

Speaking of news

Waterford Whispers News

Happy news may make you smile, but Waterford Whispers News will make you guffaw.

Including satirical stories on everything from the current and political to broader, everyday-Irish scenarios; the writers at WWN have the amazing ability to spin satirical stories in an outrageously unique and funny way.

Follow their pages for a giggle, when things are appearing all too serious.

Womens Rights News

The media world today is still dominated by men. (Has the movie Anchorman taught us nothing?)

It’s refreshing to see some reports with genuine, relatable female perspectives.


Irish Culture:

Foil, Arms & Hog

These three lads manage to portray Irish culture in a hilariously accurate fashion.

Watch the video below to see them take on the roles of your typical Irish ma’ and da’ during the lockdown.

NIstagrammed

NIstagrammed posts old/vintage photos of times gone by in Ireland. Especially in Northern Ireland.

It’s nice to add a touch of local history to our feed.

New Eire

Any new graffiti that springs up in Ireland, expect to see it on this page.

They also post grafitti that springs up abroad, by Irish artists.

It’s nice to see a picture of Spain or elsewhere and to be able to spot a secret piece of home there.

Gaeilge Vibes

Memes.

As Gaeilge.

Who says the language is dead?


Educational

Science in The Bath

Is there a better place to be educated?

Matthew Shribman is a delightful scientist who isn’t afraid to get his feet wet.

Or his nice shirts, for that matter.

More recently, Matt has been taking part in new live streaming initiative AimHi: to provide free, educational live-stream videos all throughout the lockdown, on various topics (science, philosophy, english, geography). We think this is absolutely wonderful. Watch past streams here. Or simply follow his page for notifications when he goes live!

Merriam Webster

Expanding your vocabulary, one day at a time.

We recommend using these words as a kick-off point to writing or creating something on a regular basis! It’s nice to get some creative prompts in your news feed.

(what do you mean, zephyr is already a song?!)

Dynamic Science

More science facts! Because you don’t know enough about the universe!

Stephen Fry

Why not follow Stephen Fry? Regular book updates and the occasional tie review.

Yes, you read that right.

View this post on Instagram

Sumptuous, luscious swirls of colour always appeal to me. This tie is as light as a feather, which is charming but makes it a devil to keep properly knotted and in place. Gianfranco Ferré was yet another of the leading designers to have been brought in to head the House of Dior. A quiet and reserved man, he kept mostly out of the limelight, which is rare in the often shrieking, preening, posturing hothouse world of the catwalk. ‘The Architect of Fashion ’they called him. His training was indeed in designing buildings rather than frocks. He was hugely respected in the business, winning the L’Occhio D’Oro (Golden Eye) award for best Italian Designer no less than six times. His first Dior collection won the French Dé D’or – which means Golden Thimble. The idea of such a grand couturist using a thimble because he did the sewing himself (like Daniel Day Lewis in that wonderful Paul Thomas Anderson film Phantom Thread) strikes me as a little far-fetched. Ferré was a man who commuted between Milan and Paris on his own jet. But I thank him for for today’s #frysties contribution, which makes me smile whenever I look at it. Incidentally, isn’t “thimble” a wonderful word? A woody word, as Graham Chapman might say. Deliciously English. The French “dé”, Italian “ditale” and Spanish “dedal” are all very well, and while I love the German language, their word is comically unimaginative, although rather endearing: “Fingerhut” – finger hat. Literal minded chaps, your Germans.

A post shared by Stephen Fry (@stephenfryactually) on


Music Pages

Fluttertone

We hate to say it, but the days of radio are dead and gone.

That is, unless it’s integrated with Facebook Live to give an immersive, new-age spin to an old medium!

Have they reinvented radio?

Fluttertone are doing great work to promote local artists, by bringing them straight to your FB feed. We’re down!

Marc Rebillet

Musician, comedian, all round entertaining guy. Marc regularly uploads live streams of his completely improvised loop sets. Tackling everything from the silly and absurd to the more movingly serious:

Jacob Collier

Jacob is musical prodigy and all round nice guy. His page is full of whacky wonders relating to the music world. He reminds us of David Byrne.

Hoer.berlin

“Hear Berlin” – online streaming platform for DJs.

These guys were live streaming before it was cool.

Typical Berlin.

Anthony Fantano

Instagram account for YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano. Posts relevant to music and meme culture.


Art Pages

Art Galleries & Publication Pages

Instagram is a wonderful place to include some thought-provoking art amidst your friends selfies.

We’ve included some insta pages below who specialise in curating art into your feed.

@gallerypoulsen

The Instagram account of Gallery Poulsen. The space is set in Copenhagen, Denmark. This page and their website has a fantastic archive of work, including pieces from some of our favourite artists; @uberkunst and @jeanpierreroy.

@IMMAireland

the Instagram account of Ireland’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. A great way to stay up to date with exhibitions and artist spotlights. These include Irish and international artists.

@post_vandalism

A curated Instagram collection dedicating itself to linking grafitti aesthetics and concepts with contemporary art. We highly recommend reading the curator, Stephen Burke’s take on post-vandalism.

@subfoldr

An Instagram page which explores “half-digested culture”. This is a great point of reference for the weird and wonderful side of the internet.

//

Artists

Individual artists who help brighten up our feeds.

@brechtvandenbroucke

Comic artist and illustrator. Brecht’s work is made up of incredibly detailed acrylic and gouache paintings. He explores a wide array of topics, in both humorous, and satirical ways. What’s not to like?

@richiecluver

On Richie’s website, a critic addresses Instagram’s impact on the art-world:

A wrecking ball of the status quo”.

I’ve never seen such a democratising force of nature. Decades of hierarchies have all but washed away…

This idea is widespread in Richies work.

@ztm_oruam

A favourite of ours at the moment. In his loose painterly style, Mauro Martinez explores internet-based themes.

We also recommend checking out his ‘Sensitive Content’ collection.

@peterdraws

Artist and YouTuber PeterDraws. Follow his page for some incredibly detailed ink drawings. Everything from space station design to dystopian styled architectural drawings.

@oh_de_laval

Oh de Laval breaks down your typical idea of figurative painting and strives to venture “beyond academic professionalism“.

In her Art Manifesto, she states “You should explore old artists’ way of living rather than studying their way of painting”. Interesting.



Architecture

These pages are an aesthetic dream. Your eyes will thank you.

@designboom

The worlds first online magazine! This is about art, architecture and technology.

@archdaily

Instagram account of Archdaily. A fantastic website to stay up to date with architecture news from all over the world. Wether you’re into Building projects, environmental issues relating to design, or new emerging technologies, Archdaily is the place for you.

@superarchitects

In their own words: “a platform empowering the creative youth + design community”, and that’s exactly what they do.

A great page to find emerging artists and designers.

@architerror

Away from all the seriousness is architerror, who explore the dark side of architecture.

Spooky.


#InstaFashion

You probably all already follow your own favourite and individual insta fashion pages, but here’s some universal pages that we think particularly stand out.

@benjaminseidler –

Designer and illustrator Benjamin Seidler creates digital collages that give our favorite movies high-fashion updates, using pieces from real, current collections.

Somewhere in between inspiring and hilarious.

@Late2n

Local alert!!!

Late2n is a Waterford-based fashion brand with a super fresh, modern aesthetic.

@pauseonline

More celeb-oriented. Pause is a magazine showing all current fashion trends.

@nclgallery

One for the men. Because fashion is too often seen as a ‘feminine’ word.

Dare to be fashionable, guys!

@sustainablefashiondublin

Promoting sustainability while having the lols”.

This page is a wonder for promoting sustainable fashion ideas. They often have events and most recently have been hosting virtual flea markets!

//

Female-Empowerment

Shona

The Survival Kit for Girls.

Shona is the guidance I wished I had as a confused girl growing up in a taboo society. The work they’re doing is absolutely incredible and I’d really endorse sharing this page with any young women you may know; to help and inspire them to grow into fierce feminist leaders.

@Womenofillustration

Gorgeous. Modern. Relatable. Inspiring. Aesthetic.

Follow immediately.

@Womenfromhistory

As well as being a page full of gyooorgeous females, this page gives lengthy, detailed descriptions about the women mentioned in each picture and their history.

Womanhood delivered from a very zoomed-out, historical perspective.

@Lucindaggg_

Lucinda is a breath of fresh air in the fashion/art world. Her page is full of informative and positive information about topics such as, sustainable design, body positivity and mental health issues.


Sex-Empowerment

Alphachanneling

Gorgeous illustrations of intimacy.

Utopian Erotic

Virgin & Martyr

This is an Italian page, but we recommend following anyway, as the images speak for themselves.

There’s is some seriously impressive photography on this page; all taboo-breaking and body-empowering.

Fausto Serafini

Female film photographer. Serafini works with the female figure as her subject incorporating different elements from kink culture.

It adds a little depth to know that these erotic photos of females, are taken BY a female.

@watts.hot

More of an exclusive club, this one. It’s a private instagram account, so you have to request to follow.

But once you’re in, it’s worth it!;-)


That’s it for now in our directory of delights! Contact us if you think we’ve missed anything, as we’re thinking of keeping this page updated on the regular, to help people find the best and most beneficial pages to follow amidst the mess that is social media!

Until next week,

5 Artists Answer the Question: “What Does Art Mean To You?”

We interview five Irish artists about their artistry, and ask what they think the importance of art is in today’s crazed world.

Their answers are both humbling and inspiring, as well as unsurprisingly entertaining. Each artist gives us a peak into why they chose art as their profession, and explain why they think anybody can be an artist.

Art-hoes and accountants in solidarity!

Caoilfhionn Hanton

Five different artists. Five distinct art-forms. Five fresh perspectives.

Let’s go:

Interviewees:

(Click pics to jump straight to interview!)

Caoilfhionn Hanton – Painter, street artist, and hysterical storyteller (see below).
(Waterford)
Niamh Farrello – Lead singer in acclaimed indie pop/rock band Ham Sandwich. (Dublin)
Shane Fitzpatrick – Designer and founder of own fashion brand Late2n. (Tipperary/Waterford)

Beau Williams – Celebrated poet and spoken-word artist. (USA/Galway)
SX2 – A duo of DJs/producers consisting of Clive(left) and Scott(right)
(Waterford)

Caoilfhionn Hanton

Caoilfhionn is a 21 y/o fine-arts student from Waterford, who does us all the kind service of regularly decorating the city with her talent for tasty murals.

Interviewing Caoilfhionn, we found that she is not just an incredible artist, but a hilariously witty writer, and somewhat of a fervent philosopher. She talks about courage in creation, and why even accountants can be artists!

“If your inner drive is screaming in the void to MAKE SOMETHING, you could probably call yourself an artist.

Q: Why, in your opinion, is it important to express yourself creatively?

A: It’s extreeeeemely important to express yourself creatively. No matter who you are, creativity inspires you. Even the accountants!  

Creativity’ doesn’t mean you need to try to sprinkle funny but inappropriate gifs into your business power-points. You’re not obliged to suddenly throw on an oversized tie-dye t-shirt and pop a little hoop earring into your ear. It especially doesn’t mean you need to stop listening to the radio, start only wearing black and convincing yourself you like super obscure dark ‘Sovietwave’ techno. (I just googled techno genres to get that definition, by the way, so Wikipedia could be having me on, but you get my gist).

Nope, it’s real. We found it…[YouTube link]

One of Caoilfhionn’s murals for ‘Waterford Walls’ Festival.

Secondly, not to be an anti-technology Karen, but I think it’s dangerously easy to consume and forget to create in this age of sOcIaL MeDiA. You could pass hours on TikTok looking at DIY tutorials, but how many of us are scared to try to create, ourselves?

Our first memories involve toys, games and fun. Slowly, we shun these innocent devices of childhood and start to categorise ourselves into our given roles in society. With a bit of courage, life could be spicier for all of us if we were to collectively forgo our egos and “notions” and to be ourselves.

Life is so short and we often don’t afford ourselves chances to be experimental with our lives as not to upset the status quo. Like literally before you know it, you’ve stopped swallowing small parts of plastic, and are on a fast track to your quarter life crisis and manically cutting your own fringe.

Having the kahoonas to express yourself creatively will be terrifying at first, but is ultimately so rewarding!

“Try an Amy-inspired eyeliner wing all the way to your hairline.

Wear Airmax with a dress. Start writing poetry, even though all you’ve ever known is engineering.”

Caoilfhionn wraps up speaking about her own journey into the arts:

I do think that art and the ability to creatively express should be accessible to everyone. I hate snobbery, first and foremost, and 100% believe that you don’t need a fine art degree to enjoy and make art. The “white men, white room, white wine” trope is actively being eroded by intersectionality, which is so exciting. I’m especially inspired by LGBTQ+ creators and “outsider art” (self-taught artists).

I had been self-taught until 2019. I knew I wanted to study fine art but due to the “what are ye gonna do for a living” ancient allegory, I discouraged myself. It didn’t seriously occur to me to try become an artist due to the risk of “failing” (not getting rich) and being mortified.

Since taking the college plunge, my eyes have been opened to new opportunities, and I now have the courage to say “I want to be an artist”.

Beautiful. Inspiring. Hilarious. Find more of Caoilfhionn’s work on our monthly gallery, or check out her website!


Niamh Farrello

Niamh is a hell of a frontwoman. Something we all need a bit more of in our lives. If you haven’t checked out Ham Sandwich already, you’ve been missing out. They make Irish indie that’s reminiscent of that Two Door Cinema Club vibe, but with a fierce female twist.

Niamh gives us an insight into her own life, describing what music means to her.

“I long to create…”

Illuminate, a HS song featured on our monthly playlist.

Q: How do you integrate art into your daily life?

A: I try to play music everyday. It’s amazing the power a favourite song has over your mood; especially in these uncertain times. I love painting and drawing but I think music is my choice of healer!

Q:  Do you think art is restricted to artists?

A: No, I don’t think so. Art should be for everybody. You may not consider yourself a creative person, but you can still get something from a piece of art. Everyone should be able to enjoy all art. 

Q: Could you live without art?

A: Definitely not. It has made up so much of my life I think I’d be lost without it! I think we all would. The world would be a less colorful place without art.

Short and sweet, Niamh couldn’t be more certain of the place of art in her life.

Amen, sister.

Amen.


Shane Fitzpatrick

Designer and founder of his own fashion brand Late2n, Shane’s interview expanded our views of art. Shane goes deep into how he sees art and design all around him in the plain, everyday.

Q: What does design mean to you?

A: I think if you’ve got a creative mindset you can see design anywhere. Whether it’s a jacket for cold winters day, or a sweeping brush, it’s gone through a design process. Multiple items around me could be seen as junk to many others. I make something useful from it.

This is how I view the everyday world.

Q: Pablo Picasso once stated: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Thoughts?

A:  The way I’d put this is: “Every child is an artist. It is then beaten out of you by societies’ way of how the world “should” work.”

Everything we are surrounded by as kids is art. We see art in every little thing. If you sit down with any kid, they will mostly always be doing something creative: whether it’s drawing, painting, building lego or making towns on Minecraft. These are all things that we are discouraged to continue exploring as we grow older because it’s “for kids”.

You’ll never get a real job doing that!”

I think because of this, people get scared to follow their dreams and continue on the creative path. The world thrives on fear. It’s up to us to break through it as we grow up.

A positive thing [is] that because of advances in technology, social media etc. people are now more open to viewing art as a credible way to make a living; which means more schools and programs will be open to allowing kids to make art, making this their goal as they continue to grow.

Shane ends with a nice piece of advice:

Not everybody wants to be an artist though, just because they can.

People should do what they want.


Beau Williams

Mr. Williams is a poet of the highest calibre. He’s also a spoken-word artist – representing Ireland in the 2019 World Poetry Slam – an avid arts activist, and just an all-round, genuine guy!

When we asked Beau to partake, we knew his answers would be poetic, but we didn’t realise they would also be so educational! We learned a lot.

“I use poetry to make sense of what is going on in my head and in my heart.”

Photograph by Robyn Nicole Towle

Q: How Does Spoken Word Compare to other Art-Forms?

A: It is hard to compare different art-forms to each other, but the major accomplishments of spoken word have to be the community aspect and the relatability.

Spoken-word is an umbrella term for any lyric-driven, performance-based art-form (i.e. rap, comedy, etc…).

Spoken word poetry is an intimate, interactive experience. A poem will never be read the same way twice; making each performance a unique one. Every crowd is different, every poet is different on different days; the poems hit differently on different days. This gives way for a precious you had to be there type of experience. It helps to bring new life to poetry and to lift it from the page.

There is nothing more validating than having this emotion inside of you – you feel like you are the only person who has ever felt this emotion – and then someone you’ve never met expresses that feeling EXACTLY, from the stage.

Spoken Word Poetry creates community, helps us work through trauma/emotion/experiences, and most of all it brings people together.

“Performance Poetry is the only art-form I know of where your idol can become your best friend.”

Q: Many people shudder at the thought of putting pen to paper. What would you say to those people?

A: If it is for an assignment, sorry you just have to do it. But if it is something creative you are trying to write, like poetry or a short story, the best suggestion is to just put pen to paper and go.

Don’t think about it.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE VULNERABLE.

The blank page is one of the best therapists you’ll ever have. It won’t ever judge you, it costs next to nothing, and it allows you to explore your own emotions, feelings, and experiences in your own way.

The urge [to write] can be compared to eating: you can eat when you aren’t hungry, but there are specific times when your body lets you know, DUDE YOU HAVE TO EAT RIGHT NOW.

When I have that gut urge that tells me, Beau, if you don’t sort out this stuff in your head, it’s going to explode, that’s when I write. The key is to never allow writing to become a chore.

I use poetry to make sense of what is going on in my head and in my heart.

And don’t forget: just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you ever have to share it.

Wise words from our writer friend. Find out more about Beau and read his poetry at his website, or alternatively, become a patron to his patreon, and get updates, personalised poems, and more!


SX2

As DJ’s we are always searching for new music that can inspire us to lay something down.

We reviewed SX2’s debut album Reflection, which came out just last month, on the music section of our website.

Q: Do you think it’s important for everyone to have a creative outlet?

A: Yes we think it is. We feel like everybody is born with a talent or some sort of creative outlet, and those who don’t express it, probably just haven’t discovered what that is yet.

If you were to sit down with your family or group of friends, and break everyone down one by one, you will find some sort of individual talent that everybody has, and with the ever growing age of social media, it gives us all platforms to share our creativity. 

It can come to people a bit more naturally than others, but if you work hard at something everyday consistently, you eventually will start seeing some positive results.

Q: Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Every artist was first an amateur“. Thoughts?

A: This actually resonates quite well to us because when we started doing music, we were of course, amateurs.

We’ve been doing music now for almost 7 years as we first started as DJ’s and then afterwards got into production. When we started we weren’t too sure on what we were doing but just kept going because it was like love at first sight.

In our experiences we have met people who say they want to be a DJ, but then they actually don’t want to go through the process of actually learning, and have those moments where you bang your head against the wall, asking yourself are you good enough.

A common thing we get when speak to people about DJ’ing and i feel a lot of other DJ’s will relate, is:

“I’d love to DJ, but i wouldn’t have a clue how to do it”

This then goes exactly to Emerson’s quote that we were all amateur’s not knowing exactly what we were doing when we started, but as you continue to grow and work at it, you will eventually starting learning and mastering your craft.

Now we are by no means calling ourselves the world’s best DJs because we are always learning, but it is a nice quote to think about sitting in our current position.


Always humble, you guys! And inspiring all the same. It’s a refreshing feeling to be told you can improve at anything with a little hard work, even if you feel like an amateur right now. (“How hard can running a blog be anyway?”, she said, naively.)


Wow.

Well, if that wasn’t a wealth of wisdom and inspiration, showing, for me, the diversity of sheer talent we currently hold on our fair isle.

Thank you Caoilfhionn, Niamh, Shane, Beau, and SX2.

We’re super grateful you not only took part in our interview, but gave some outrageously in-depth answers to our questions.

What more could we want, from our second blog post? – We have standards to live up to, now.

Let’s see if we can meet them next week…

The Importance of Art

Now, more than ever – whilst cooped up and confined by the rampage of a wild bat virus –

[Drawing of a bat, laughing]
(Pictured above: Derek, the bat. As interviewed by Waterford Whispers)

– We detainees are beginning to recognise the true value of arts and of entertainment – to the individual, as well as societally.

It is sad, then, that the creative industries should now be facing such crises. As gig-workers watch their incomes vanish before their eyes, and as entertainers are shooed hurriedly off-stage and into their bedrooms, we are given a soft reminder of how it is precisely these industries that are always first to step up and raise money and awareness in usual times of crisis. (Like when all of the trees are on fire, or when thousands of people are homeless come mid-December: you know, normal things.)

Art cares for the world, and right now, the world needs to care for its art. This blog is therefore dedicated to some of the times that art has been ever-so-generous to our societies, and to our souls. How we’ve used art to get by in the past, and why it’s necessary for us, moving forward.

But first:

What IS art? 

And IS that the most cliche question I could have possibly posed?

Probably.

Art Throughout the Ages:

We’ve all seen the cave paintings. We’ve all had our jaws drop at the hieroglyphs.

[Art critic appraising cave paintings, whilst smoking a pipe]

Art has been around for as long as we have, and for even longer than our more modern methods of communication. Art was our language before we had language. Our records before we had files. Our graffiti before we had trains.

We’ve been drawing, painting, sculpting and inventing for at least a couple of tens of thousands of years now. We’ve also been singing and making music, building, and – I imagine – dancing, storytelling, and acting, despite the (understandable) lack of archaeological evidence on those fronts.

[Cave man DJ'ing atop a mound. Cave people dancing]
Berghain. 23,500 BC.

More art-forms evolved as there were inventions. (Writing, being a somewhat significant one)

Skipping much later down the line, we got: photography, videography, graphic design, and even more recently: gifs, memes and TikToks.

Now, I didn’t pose the question ‘what is art?’ just to point to TikTok as being our most recent development. So allow me to try to regain some integrity on that front. 

What I believe all of these ever-evolving media have in common, is their underlying purpose as methods of communication and expression; it is their roles as languages.

You can define language in two ways (or, probably, a thousand; but I’ll stick to two). One is to – objectively – communicate information/data. Another is to – subjectively – express emotion.

Our normal, spoken (and signed) languages manage to accomplish both of these things. Other languages, such as code, mathematics and music theory, focus solely on the information and data communication aspect. All of the art-forms we’ve mentioned above, are particularly useful in the emotional expression aspect.

As our friendly, neighbourhood 19th century Russian author puts it:

“Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to others”


Leo Tolstoy

So I like to think of art as language, and language as art (at least, most of the time: such as when we’re talking about our opinions as opposed to, telling someone the time, for example).

[Image of two people having a difference of opinions on the what time it is]

And just as you could argue French and Italian to be better at conveying love than, say, German or Russian (sorry, Tolstoy); some artforms can be better at expressing different ideas than other ones. Sometimes you need a painting, instead of words, to start a revolution.

(Or a meme..)

(TikTok revolution, anyone?)

The Renaissance:

It’s a sunny day in May. You’re gazing out the window, longingly, trying to squeeze some of the sun’s sweet radiance onto your face, before yer ma’ inevitably comes in and makes you go back to learning that goddamn history essay off-by-heart for the tenth time. You’re 15 years old. Life is hard.

The Renaissance (14th-17th century, AD)

Described as:

“A fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” following the Middle Ages.”

And

“The most profoundly important period in human development since the fall of Ancient Rome.”

And

 “A new, [enlightened] era of secularism, rationality and individualism.”

Well, I’ll be damned!

If there’s any better example of art-driven revolution and societal reform, pray tell.

And it all started with a plague…

[drawing of rat with a paintbrush and a beret]
Michelangelo – the artistic plague-rat.

I’ve seen many articles suggesting, debating, debunking and re-bunking, whether or not we’re in or are currently heading into ‘the next Renaissance’. Many of the signs are there. We’re pandemic-ridden. Innovations in technology have expanded the availability of information, as well as improving communication and the spread of ideas. Instead of rebelling against the church, we have our governments and oil companies to heed our strikes. Our art has changed dramatically and digitally, and that has had real-world consequences. Remember that time memes were responsible for the election of thE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?

…ahem.

The question isn’t whether we are or aren’t in a renaissance, it’s: do we want to be?

Because if we do, we can.

We still have the power to turn this age around. To push, with our art, against the tides threatening to crash against us (literally). We’ve already seen the power of memes in politics (“meme warfare”), and if we consider the power of art to have fuelled a two-century long era of enlightenment, well.

I do find it amusing to think of all the scholars years from now, writing about the cause and effects of whatever-they-decide-to-name our time, perhaps listing coronavirus as the cause for a new age of artistic drive, and of human awareness and responsibility. That’s a nice thought.

It’s interesting to consider what will make it into their history books, and what will fall into the cracks.

Let’s give them something to write about!

Memes:

Even funnier than imagining scholars 100 years from now writing about coronavirus, is imagining scholars 100 years from now writing about memes. History and art history students alike.

[a stack of history books on memes]

Memes are already considered art. I don’t even have to make a case for that. They’ve made it to galleries. They’ve made it as professions. They’ve made it to university courses and studies.

Memes have been described as a form of pop-art. And who are we to say otherwise? They’re no different from any of the other controversial movements that have evolved over time: impressionism, cubism, modern: including pop. Etc. 

Like any important art-form, they bring an entire cultural movement with them.

What did we say earlier about art? It’s a language. Do memes fall into this? Of course they do. Their innate ability to communicate concise packets of information is what makes them so effective.

But memes are nothing new, not really. They’re just one digital/graphic art form that have grown and blossomed from their origins in comic strips and propaganda posters.

– And they are still evolving. First we had memes: images with captions, then, video jumped on board, and we got Vines. Now, we have Tiktoks, which go a step further in adding music to the mix. Our art is becoming more multi-media and immersion based as time goes on. Not unlike a certain blog I know…

More importantly, however, memes are a form of solidarity in these troubling times. Memes can be a powerful tool against depression. Humour (sometimes dark or offensive) is an apt coping mechanism, and laughing, together, is how we get through these serious times.

So keep ‘em coming.

Support the Arts!

That brings us to our point:

From basic communication and documentation on cave walls, to world-altering movements; from self-expression and understanding, to humour that unifies the masses; art is an integral part of our being.

It’s easy to take art for granted, because it’s not exclusive. That would defeat the purpose. Art is there to be spread, and so it has to be free, open source and available to everyone in order to truly give us the renaissance effect.

[Illustration of the Mona Lisa with a price tag of €0 hanging from the frame]

I’m a big believer that art and education should be free for all, but artists do still have to make a living. 

And it’s harder than ever for artists to make a living right now, given the current conditions.

Here’s a fun photo I robbed from Artwork Archive‘s blog, detailing some ways you can help to support artists who may now be struggling:

1. Participate in an online art class.
2. Share resources, art and fundraisers within your own circles.
3. Offer emotional support.
4. Attend online exhibits.
5. Donate, if you are able.
6. Buy artwork directly, online.
7. Commission your favourite artist.
8. Encourage friends and family to get involved.

And here’s a link to another gorgeous article on 8 ways you can support musicians during the lockdown.

So, go forth and support!

And we’ll see you back here next Tuesday!

L & C

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