Net Junkies Anonymous
The term was probably first coined by my online mentor Robert Genn. In 2010 when a few many artists were troubled by being overwhelmed by the many thousands (millions?) of images online. Nancy wrote, ‘ An evening can be spent wandering around cyberspace and enjoying it immensely. But very often, the next morning, entering my studio, I’m utterly paralyzed. My husband has noticed what online exposure does to me, and he thinks it’s making me nuts.’
Awake in the night
paper and paint collage by Nancy Bell Scott
Robert explained, ‘It’s all about procrastination. Hanging out at a cabaret or hanging on to a computer, artists will do anything to avoid going to their room and going to work. Fear of failure and fear of success are just two of the issues that lead to escapism. With the quality and variety on the Internet, today’s painters face a hazard like never before.
Net Junkies are the new alcoholics. Artists who allow the Internet to take them where it will, throw in the towel of creative individualism. Too much non-directed exposure to the work of others humbles, discourages, and sullies our own best efforts. The result, if you stay at it long enough, can be rudderless dilettantism. But there’s help. It’s called NJA.
Net Junkies Anonymous knows that artists procrastinate in the name of research. They get hooked. The solution is to make research a process-driven activity. It starts with the Notebook. Attend to your pencil before you go near your machine. As you think of your needs, jot down the points. Let your work tell you what you need to study. When the time is appropriate, take your list to the machine. Be efficient and cagey. The Internet is a great slave but also a cunning master. You have to go there on your own terms.