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October 27, 2012

Dip your toe in the art world through Pinterest

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The Daily Star

---- — I am a magazine ripper. I always have been. I have shoeboxes and file folders filled with decorating ideas, recipes and other miscellaneous projects. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I can never seem to organize or tame the scraps of inspiration floating around my house. 

Enter Pinterest. This new social media craze has my name written all over it!

Basically, it’s a virtual corkboard. You see something on the Internet that interests you and you click “pin” on your toolbar. Then, you pick the “board” best suited to the topic, and, ta-da! The photo and link are saved for reference later. No more shoeboxes. No more shuffling through papers to find that-one-thing-you-knew-you-kept-for-reference-later-but-can’t-seem-to-find-when-you-need-it.

Best of all, you can see what your friends are pinning. Who better to aggregate all the fun and helpful things on the Web than those who know you best? And, as it’s social, you “meet” people who have similar tastes as yourself. I “watch” the boards of those with all-white country kitchens, because I can instantly tell we have the same sense of domestic style.

One of the most popular topics on Pinterest is art. People pin art they’ve produced, art they love and artistic mediums they’d like to experiment with in the future. Thousands and thousands of ideas are being collected on this website. Watching communities of people from diverse backgrounds come together wearing virtual badges declaring the importance art has in their life is truly motivating.

Personally, I can skim the “Art” boards for hours, just bathing in the beauty and talent of current and past artists. It also helps me refine the forms of art I most identify with. Although I’ve always thought I liked modern and abstract art best, I usually find myself pinning Impressionist pieces. It didn’t take me long to notice this trend. I’d stop to admire the modern and abstract, but I’d linger and want to reference the Impressionist paintings later. This realization made me reflect on how my taste in art has changed over the years, and how I may better choose exhibits to visit in the future.

Pinterest has even sparked artistic trends. For example, melted-crayon art has really taken flight on Pinterest boards. Who knew there were so many beautiful things to make with a few crayons, a hairdryer and a hot glue gun? And, I’ve been completely infatuated with all the sophisticated ways you can paint with watercolors. My head is filled with wonderful images of things to create, and because there’s links to directions, I feel as though I could actually make them on my own. And, if you follow my column, you know that I happen to know a 6-year-old who has buckets of crayons and watercolors in her playroom.

I feel as though Pinterest has given the power of art to the masses. You can appreciate art from the privacy of your own home; it’s so easy to pin what you like and sort through what doesn’t speak to you. In previous months, Brittany, the co-writer of this column, and I have discussed how overwhelming it may feel to walk into a gallery and admire art. Well, this is the perfect way to get your toes wet. Discover, or as in my case, rediscover your artistic tastes. Then, simply click to follow the link to what may turn out to be a website offering insight and critiques both a novice and connoisseur could appreciate. And, if you feel like the artistic gene skipped you but have the urge to be creative, follow tutorials on how to re-create certain techniques and projects. 

When I’m looking for inspiration, I no longer start with Google, but with Pinterest. My favorite thing is coming across something I had ripped out of a magazine long ago. Whew, I can finally recycle that clipping! … you know, once I find it …

June Dzialo is a member of ArtsOtsego, the alliance of Otsego County arts organizations, and marketing director for The Glimmerglass Festival. Column ideas and questions may be sent to aroundthearts@gmail.com. ‘Around The Arts’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/aroundthearts.