I only send my new efforts, and ones that might interest you.
If you like the pieces that I send you from time to time,
you might want to browse the ones that I’ve sent to
other people — or look back in time and revisit something
that you liked, or might have missed.

Through the accumulation of completed artistic pieces over time,
the question arises: “where can I put them, and how to organize them all?”
I’ve started to think about designing a portfolio site for my work.

Then I thought about you (both in the individual and in the
aggregate sense) and thought, I’m probably not the only one.
It would be great to have a place to go in order to see your
own progression and enjoy other peoples’ works as well.

There’s an old saying in the technology world that relates
to so-called ‘free’ services: “either you buy the product,
or you _are_ the product.”

Art, beyond the idealistic world of unfettered self-expression,
is at its core, a product or service to be consumed by the
“audience” — whether you give it away or ask them to pay.

I’m starting to notice that people with whom I’ve collaborated
or taken classes are starting to graduate from conservatory
programs with acting reels, visual portfolios, etc.

Many rely on existing services like LinkedIn, Facebook
and even Google+ to spread the word.

I don’t use either service due to the same reason that most
people _do_ use them: they’re free. As was extrapolated in
the fictional piece “Advanced Social Robotics“, free services
own your data, and essentially create a profile of your
behavior to sell to advertisers. You don’t pay for the product,
so you become the product.

There are already several social networking services out there
that cater specifically to artists. A quick search revealed
this “top ten” list that seems decently comprehensive:

10 Social Networks for Artists

If you scroll down to the comments section of that page, though,
you’ll see what I might call the “paradox of social networking”:
the purpose of a social network is to become popular. If you haven’t
heard of it already, it probably isn’t popular enough to offer
much advantage if you were to sign up for it, because most other
people probably haven’t heard of it, either.

So I thought: wouldn’t it be an interesting project to start
a social network and see how far we could take it?

Such a site could also reduce the amount of inbox clutter
due to being subscribed to multiple mailing lists.

As it happens, I’ve been researching and building social networks
independently for the past three years both for the technical and
ideological challenge of creating something that felt good to me.
I spent the first six months of last year building a service
that combines aspects of Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr and Twitter.

It’s also an “anti-social” network, meaning that you can use
it strictly as your own site to browse, make notes, keep a blog,
etc. — or engage in the “networking” aspects with other members.
Sharing is a choice, not an obligation.

We’re all artists in the sense that progress is simply the
re-organization of existing elements into new forms. If your experience
of art is to collect and arrange pieces that you like, that’s fine, too.
At the same time, I don’t see myself as an “artist” at all because
it has a certain pretentiously overserious ring to it.

My philosophy, in a sentence or two: just make something — start
a project, share it, complete it, and move on to the next project.
Fame and fortune are golden handcuffs in gilded cages; beware
the wish for either.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make a living from art, if
that’s what you choose to do. Starving sucks, even (especially)
if you’re an artist. Networking with others can help ease the process
of securing funding and making an honest profit from your work
(and keep in touch with all the amazing people you’ve met along
the way).

Much like my other pursuits, I’ll probably create this project
for its own sake, due mainly to this apparently indestructible
idealistic streak of mine. The practical part of me wants to
give your super-smart brain the chance to flex its muscles,
too, so if you want to participate or feel like you have
something to add, and I’ll gladly include your thoughts
in the mix.