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The Tactile Connection: Bringing Old-School Vibes to Digital Art

Bijgewerkt op: 31 jan.

painting down with Holbein Acryla gouache about fear anxieties past present and future. by Foeshel

Hello everyone,

For a couple of decades... jeez I am getting old, I have been making illustrations so I have had the experience of going through a couple of phases in my career. In the past four years, I have focused on sharing my illustrations on Instagram, which has been a great way to reach a large audience and build a following.

My insecurities have held me back.

Before the age of 22, I never underwent any formal training or schooling, but that all changed when I was admitted into the animation program in Brussels. This was my second attempt to get into that university, and the teachers were straightforward about how much work I would need to put in. They were right, but this also built in an insecurity about the quality of my work. I always had this nagging feeling that I began to recognize as imposter syndrome.

This is where Instagram helped me. I could post my images and build confidence in my work. It was a platform where, in the beginning, I could experiment and take risks without feeling any pressure. It did give me the freedom to create new works and experiment a little with techniques. Then you build a following and combine this with an algorithm, and you build some pressure for yourself. Because you want to make people happy with new illustrations. However, what gave me the biggest boost of confidence were the art fairs. This way I could connect with people directly and see their reactions to my work, and It was a reminder that art is meant to be shared and in my case experienced in a tactile way.

As a kid of the nineties born in the early eighties, I spent many hours in my local video library going through VHS tapes and picking which four would go home with me that week. It was an adventure of discovery, and I loved the tactile experience of browsing through the boxes. A lot of times, horror flicks would go home with me because, in those days, many of them had illustrated covers. This was also the case with LP records going through the boxes, being mesmerized by the images. It was an adventure of discovery, and I loved the tactile experience of browsing through the boxes.

This is why I like the square format. It was partly pushed by Instagram, but it reminded me a lot of those old records. So I came up with an idea of how people could browse my art at the art fairs. I made a box that could be split in two parts, and the square originals would be in plastic covers so people could browse them like old records. It's a reminder that art is not just viewed through a screen but experienced by holding it and looking at the pencil strokes. I've always found this lacking in the digital world, and it's something that I strive to bring back into my work. This is also why I shifted from digital mediums towards classical painting and ink illustrations.

Seeing people's genuine reactions to my illustrations, particularly those of children, has been invaluable in building my confidence over time. Losing my Instagram account has been a weird feeling almost like a relief, as it forced me to rethink how I would share my work online. I realized how vulnerable it is to build a following on a platform you don't own, where rule changes or a hack can leave you with nothing. Instead, I've found a new sense of energy in building up my own website, where the connection with my readers and audience feels more direct. While I know I won't reach the same wide audience as on social media, I value the sense of community and connection here. I am still figuring out how to setup a comment section on my site, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact me via email, using the form on this site, or contact me through Twitter.

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will talk about discuss approach to building my art career and how it relates to my mental health. Remember, it's essential to find a balance that works for you and prioritize your overall well-being.

 If you want to read more, check out the other blogposts.

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