As an artist and academic, there is a benefit to the extremely narcissistic activity of Googling myself. I want my images and thoughts to be getting out there and there is no better way of discovering if my work is moving around in the world beyond myself than looking to Google. The activity is simultaneously reaffirming and humbling. I see links to exhibitions I’ve had, papers I’ve given, and articles about me. There are also links to my regular online activities like Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Academica.edu, and my websites. Overall nothing too surprising. If I ever feel good about how much I show up in the search engine I simply Google my father and am instantly humbled.
In all, most things I find about myself on Google are things I know about. But last night, I had the joy of running across a few things I knew nothing about. They are nothing big but still fun. I found a link to a very small discussion posted by a woman in Australia about a quote from my old artist statement. It is nothing more than a “What do you think?” Post about the quote, “Artists often avoid the saccharin sentimentality of the pretty, but what results is frequently a fear of beauty. There is virtue in beauty. It has the power to transcend the mire of the world in which we live and reflect what is beyond.” Still, it is fun to have someone across the world pondering words I wrote.
I also found my work twice on Pinterest. The first is simply an image of my piece entitled Yudo and Timur from the Charis exhibition posted by an admissions officer from Regent University in B.C. when the exhibition was up there. The one that was really fun though was from a Pinterest page called “art that inspires me”. The image was taken from an article about my work and life I wrote for the Christians in the Visual Arts blog. I think there is nothing more important for an artist than to have their work touch people so this one is special to me. Even though in the broader scheme it really isn’t a big deal.
Googling myself also reminded me of the fun I had when after presenting my paper “Bringing Men to Christ: Cultural Programming at Bob Jones University in the Mid-Twentieth Century” at the biannual Conference of Faith and History at Gordon College in October, I found out that my presentation had been tweeted about. I’d never been tweeted about before…at least that I know. Chris Gehrz the History Chair at Bethel University also wrote a fun blog post, “You Can’t Spell Fundamentalism without Fun” where he discusses my paper and my broader research on the Bob Jones University art collection.
In short…yes looking myself up on Google is narcissistic! I know that…but I can’t help it. In fact, I encourage anyone who has something to “get out there” to do the occasional Google search. Yes, I did say occasional. We don’t want to have to form a support group for narcissistic artists and academics who cannot help but endlessly searching themselves on Google.