We recently connected with Nicole Blanchard and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, thanks for joining us today. Are you happy a creative professional? Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to work for someone else?
It would be dishonest if I allowed myself to say “I’ve never wanted a regular job,” because that’s simply just not true (and I’m sure a lot of creatives feel that way). There’s this feeling of uncertainty that can follow you when your source of income isn’t always a fixed amount. One can imagine that to be rather stressful.
Although, personally, when I entertain the idea of going back and picking a different route, I can’t say for certain I would be happy with my choice. In the long run, a normal job would likely be even more tiresome and draining. Over the years, I have held a lot of “customer service” type positions; and I can’t say the financial stability outweighs how mentally and socially exhausting employment like that can be.
So while I may not always be completely content with the situation, I don’t subscribe to the idea that I would be happier doing something else. Art is one of the few things that has remained important to me over the years.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Contrary to belief, I have always been a more private sort of person – only sharing information about myself when I see it to be fit or relevant in a discussion. As a result, there’s not a singular place where I have documented everything about me. It’s highly scattered about. This is mostly because I have always disliked the idea of people forming ideas of who they think I am based upon limited information, especially considering I fall into a multitude of marginalized groups.
My desire is for people to just like the content I create as its own stand alone thing separate from me (the artist). I don’t desire people to enjoy things just because they feel the need to support a marginalized creator.
That being said, I think the most important bit of information about me that potential clients/followers/fans should know is that all of my art that I post is 100% self-indulgent. Unless I am showing off a commissioned piece that I was paid to create, everything shared on my social media is entirely because it’s something that I am super passionate about or have likely been hyperfixating on for awhile. And the art posted is simply just an outlet for that interest and excitement. It’s been that since I was a child: I draw whatever I am currently interested in, so my content is always changing in some form or another.
As for what I am most proud of, the growth of my art is the only thing to come to mind immediately. Can’t tell everyone how happy it makes me that I haven’t stagnated.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
First thing to keep in mind, when building your audience on any platform is that the likelihood you will receive immediate results is so terribly low that the bar may as well be buried underground. If your main driving force is to be popular, as an artist, you are likely to be horribly disappointed with what you will receive in exchange for putting yourself out there.
There are 7 billion people on the planet and not every one of those people will see your work in the cesspool of content that exists on the internet. Those people may not even be residing on the same platforms you are posting on, and the tags and spaces within that social media platform they frequent may not align with your content.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have varied interests. Posting under multiple tags expands your chances of being seen immensely. However, that can still be a tricky game to play because people are naturally attracted to genuine output of content. Personally, I have built a following on certain side blogs of mine by simply just being really passionate about that particular fandom, and now the follower account is well into the quadruple digits. On the flip side, there are accounts I have that are still relatively low in number so it’s a constant battle to stay relevant.
Which brings us to the next important note: consistency. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice your mental or physical health for the sake of keeping your relevancy, but consistent posting (and posting a lot) keeps you from being buried among the crowd of other content creators.
There is nothing to be ashamed of, however, if one doesn’t follow these guidelines because ultimately art is supposed to be a fun, expressive experience for everyone. Having it drain your energy and become more of a chore is something you don’t want to happen. That is an easy and guaranteed way to quickly approach burnout. Personally, I don’t have the time or motivation to do that myself properly nowadays, but in the early years of building my following that was something I tried to follow closely.
Can you share your view on NFTs? (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice)
Considering the growth NFTs have been seeing over such a short amount of time, I feel it’s important to discuss my view on the matter: I don’t support it.
Now that’s not to say that as a concept I don’t think it could be useful down the line (for I actually am interested in the idea of it), but the potential pros heavily outweigh the current cons of the situation. It takes way too much out of our energy resources and the environment to “mint” something, and I don’t believe that to be sustainable. This is a stance I am pretty firm on. Environmental conservation is far more important to me than a “neat little idea.”
Aside from that, the way that NFTs are currently being used, there doesn’t feel like there’s any true artistry behind them. It very much comes off as an easy cash grab seeing how many are more or less the exact same image with just color variants to differentiate them. There’s nothing particularly unique about quite a vast majority of them from a design standpoint.