An artist sent in this question to the New York Times Culture Therapist column:
I regularly use art to improve my life, and I understand the importance of it. In fact, I paint every day at the Art Students League and work as a designer, so I lead a creative lifestyle to say the least. However, I recently deleted my Instagram account, for multiple reasons — including my increasing need for validation from people I don’t know, as well as mounting social anxiety and addiction — in the hopes of canceling out distractions and finding my inner voice to express in my paintings. This cold turkey treatment has its drawbacks. I used Instagram to share my art, and that’s what art still is for me — sharing with my community of friends and family.
My question is: How do we stay integrated and continually share our values through art and expand our influence as creatives without social media and at the same time not feel like we’re missing out on something that the majority of our population seems to be trending toward? — Richie Chen, New York, N.Y.
The answer? One of the best, most thoughtful, most true articles I’ve ever read about the relationship between social media, validation, and making new things. I highly, highly recommend reading this, especially if you are of the creative persuasion and sometimes struggle with the role social media—Instagram especially—plays in your process, work, and outcomes.