Off the Grid, Sort of but not Really


This is an iPhone snap of a watercolor I did a few weeks ago. I plan to do a version of it in oil in due course. It was necessary to suspend my use of oil for a while as the products I was using led to some pretty trippy – but ultimately not fun – ocular migraines. Since then, I have added some odorless oils to my supply cabinet. I’m at the point where I can resume. I really like working in oil – though if you are familiar with my monochromatic ink work you would be forgiven for assuming otherwise. I’ll post my progress here.

At the moment, I am taking a break from social media, specifically Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so this blog is your best bet if you are interested in my new work. My reasons for stepping back are largely related to a desire to enhance my productivity, but they are also related to the attitudes the designers of these platforms have for privacy, data harvesting, and surveillance. Time will tell how these issues are resolved but for now I plan to be more circumspect in the use of the platforms (though in full disclosure these blog posts are shared to Twitter).

If these issues are of interest to you also, I recommend:

The Age off Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

World Without Mind by Franklin Foer

Zucked by Roger McNamee

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

These books have all been published recently and give excellent overviews of the issues from slightly different perspectives.

– Richard

4 thoughts on “Off the Grid, Sort of but not Really

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  1. Thank you for the reading suggestions. Yes, I am very interested in this subject. What a twisted world we now live in, very sad. Glad you’re still posting your work in your blog.
    I can really appreciate what your experience was with working with oils, I’m extremely sensitive to most all intense scents, even freshly spread fields of manure, but chemicals are the worst. So tired of headaches, they make being creative very difficult.

    1. The social media thing is complicated. I’m trying to limit myself to linking though, rather than spending time scrolling. I always feel slightly depressed after spending any significant amount of time there. I can see a day when I leave it completely. Headaches are no fun. Sorry you get them too.

  2. Richard! James in Athens, Georgia here. I totally feel you on this. I was pressured by my printmakers and patrons to start an IG page over a year ago, and it didn’t take long to realize it was really, REALLY not for me. Though I enjoyed seeing your WIPs from time to time, I find that format represents your work, as well as many artists’, inaccurately. Anyway, cheers, keep making your amazing works, and I look forward to both of your new books!

    1. Facebook owns Instagram and they use a lot of the same trickery to hi-jack your attention. I ostensibly have 5000 followers on FB and I estimate I have about 1-2% organic reach. From a pure ROI perspective (my investment being my time and effort) that is really poor. The only thing keeping me there on any level is not wanting to lose touch with people who only interact with me there. I’d love to draw everyone over to my blog but that’s probably a hopeless fantasy!

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