Cheap and simple media is just that, cheap and simple. There are examples of this throughout art history, from the introduction of acrylic paint to the flip camera, and now even mobile phones. With this plethora of mediums becoming more and more accessible, and artist sharing sites moulding into social media, the lines between artist and other are becoming increasingly blurred. This of course raises questions of its own; is creativity innate or learned and does everyone have the possibility of being a creative? While I'm not an authority on the matter, I will try to decipher some of these massive subjects.
Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all household names, with one initially thinking of their primary purpose: social media. Yet, when we look at the content that is being shared on these sites, it is so often multimedia that we have to question where this comes from. Yes, sometimes it is just a cat video but gradually artist pages begin to appear, along with amateur photographers sharing their content, and finally the everyday user posting their selfie. Filters and photo editing is so widely available now that it is difficult to differentiate between these types of content. It is this that suggests we are all becoming artists.
Another point to consider is how we are captured in our everyday lives, both through CCTV and otherwise. Artists have drawn upon these mediums and created works such as Timo Arnall's short film Robot Readable World and the paintings of William Betts. But you don't have to be a renowned artist to create work from this, as mentioned, editing software is becoming more accessible, often cheap and sometimes free online or on mobile.
It is the notion of 'good enough' technology that really drives the cheap and simple movement, when digital cameras where first being developed many companies didn't invest, believing that the quality of film would withstand the new media. It was however, the camera phone that near enough destroyed the film movement, with film camera being expensive and single function they have hardly survived against the cheap, multifunction mobile phone, which is central to this argument.
It is not just photography and filmmaking that has become more prevalent, with social media offering a platform for sharing other works of art, such as literature, visual art, dance and drama. These are however slightly separate from the debate, whilst good enough technology provides a platform they are often not facilitated by cheap and simple media. This of course, could just be an extension of my own preconceptions though, something which is also key. With pretention relatively strong in some circles in the art world many do not consider the amateur an artist, I have heard the 'everyone has a pen but not everyone is a writer' argument more than I care to mention. I think at the end of the day one is what they want to be. If they want to call their Instagram feed art, then so be it. This doesn't mean it will be recognised by the art world, but that in itself does not discredit anything that they are doing. My opinion? We are all creative, both through what we share online, but also in what we choose our professional lives to consist of.