Bruce Dickson

Joined November 2007

Simply respecting and celebrating life, in all its magnificent diversity and wonders, is nowadays the truly radical act of any artist. /...

Redbubble dynamics (some random thoughts)

Redbubble continues to fascinate with its seemingly limitless powers to surprise.

I am really interested in hearing from fellow bubblers on what forces they find ‘driving themselves’ when they explore this site’s contents and the works of others.

For me, there is such an amazing randomness (consistent with one of the greatest powers of the internet) to the way new works and artists are discovered … or should that be ‘uncovered’.

There is often such mystery as to why one particular work will appeal and stimulate responses more broadly than another.

Of course, there are the obvious – and not so obvious – dynamics at work in this. Everything from an image simply being selected as a featured work, to some elusive viral process in which the pursuit of links upon links lands people on one page rather than another. Not to forget the simple influence exerted by how well or overtly an image sits within the necessary ‘thumbnail’ display format itself and which images happen to sit on your profile page at the time. (Assuming entry has not been made to your pages by another doorway and means.)

On the more personal side of things, as with all realms of life on the internet these days, the parallel ‘social media’ aspect to engaging with others on Redbubble also most likely comes into play as an additional influence. With individual bubbler’s perceived personalities, and the extent of relationships and ‘networks’ they develop with other bubblers, undoubtedly affecting the whole process in most likely very significant ways.

Then there is the (more straightforward) potential influence of any descriptions and tags provided, or the lack of them or even how one image affects the impact of an immediately adjacent one, when viewed side by side. Does a more blatant image (or simply more vivid subject matter) attract attention more readily than a more subtle or understated one? Are closeups possibly viewed more often proportionally than wide angles?

Artistically, there is the diversity of ways in which life is being interpreted as well as the universal appeal of certain forces of nature – as evidenced so well in the creating and naming of redbubble’s groups. Light and reflection, sunsets, fog, the figurative, the abstract, the zen, the sensual & erotic, the ‘everyday’ … the lists and sub-lists go on forever. (These startlingly varied sources of inspiration for the thousands of different bubblers’ works are a constant source of fascination.)

There is also our diversity in our personal ways of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’. A simple illustration being the way some people’s ears always hear the lyrics to a song (assuming they can), while others may tend more towards treating the singer’s voice as another (important and pleasurable) instrument – much like hearing a song sung in an unknown language. In similar fashion, some eyes focus quickly on detail and symbolism while others at first drink in the total visual effect and are considering the combined impacts of an artwork or photograph.

Thus, in many different ways, that magnificent ‘chance’ factor found in photography and creativity is seemingly equally strongly reflected in the way the RB website itself functions, day by day.

Photography aside for the moment, many painters and artists I have met (outside of redbubble) when asked what most drives them, have said they share the desire to escape their adulthood and ‘maturity’ and somehow get back to that time in their early childhood when creativity was totally free and spontaneous … pure expressiveness … untramelled by any sense of ‘knowing’ or learning.

Yet even when age has taken over, there is other content often of a new philosophic and yes, ‘learned’ kind, that comes to make its own equally valuable artistic and human contribution. The logical and the emotional states at interplay, with individual psyches also entering into the fray, ranging all the way from the light to the ‘shadow’ worlds of our existence. This is all expressed so vividly in so many different and fascinating ways, by so many different people from different cultures and countries, on redbubble.

It is apparent that everyone (even someone not consciously aspiring to be an artist) has at least one – if not dozens -of evocative and astonishingly unique photographs in them. Assisted these days by absolutely amazing cameras, lenses and software technologies, amongst many other things. Not forgetting all those variable human factors.

More recently, I have been finding that while at first RB might appear to be a versatile and respected outlet for wider exposure of art and photography and for some an important exposure and sales outlet, it slowly becomes much more. Because of its brilliant site design, intuitive capabilities and the all round excellent thinking behind it, other life affirming possibilities open up … e.g. all those wonderful additional possibilities for expression, learning, exchange and virtual friendship.

Another aspect to redbubble that is to be admired, is the way what I sometimes call big ‘A’ and small ‘a’ arts can sit side by side in such great and potentially cross fertilizing harmony. Often seemingly very diverse and different headspaces gaining possibly more exposure to each other than might normally occur, but united by a love for creative output and shared pleasure.

Well, that seems to be my ode to redbubble for today. But a final thought … while the policy of ‘keep it nice’ is a great one, it is sad that more opportunities for constructive criticism, while encouraged, are rarely taken up.

Possibly some artistic temperaments when put to this test might prove hyper sensitive here or problems be simply created by the fact that words can very easily (when put down in text) be susceptible to misinterpretation if expressed or translated in unintended ways. (We have all probably witnessed this with innocent emails.)

But regardless, moving beyond all that welcome & vital praise and encouragement, personal creative growth is also closely allied to receipt of such deeper feedback – as long as it is provided with good intentions and in a positive vein. (Possibly bubblemails could serve this function more effectively.)

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