Close your eyes and imagine an artist. What do you see? A tweed beret, a painting brush, a scarf, a Yann Tiersen song playing in the background? It’s incredible how much we get caught up in cliches and stereotypes.
In reality, artists come in all forms, backgrounds, cultures, styles, and whatnot, and you don’t need to carry around a portfolio that weighs half a ton to prove it.
Just take a look at the #Art vs. Artist hashtag challenge that has been surfing around on Twitter lately. Artists are sharing their portraits and artworks side by side to show how their creations reflect (or not!) on their appearance. View it as an experiment whether art does show on a face, but remember that you’re the one to decide, 'cause there’s simply no straightforward answer.
Bored Panda reached out to Mxrixha, the painter behind the viral #artvsartist post which amassed 1.1 million likes and 166.9k retweets. The artist who goes by the Twitter handle @muslimahpaintsx told us that after her account was recently suspended, she lost out on all her audience and assumed business had gone down.
“I then made a new one and put my tweet of art vs. artist up again, and it drastically hit hundreds and thousands,” she said. Fortunately, her new account brought in a bigger audience and more customers than last time. Mxrixha said: “I was so overwhelmed by the support and positive words.”
The painter said that her inspiration is based purely on the meanings of the Quran and herself as a Muslim. “A lot of my inspiration is taken from the trials and tribulations of this world and the goodness and rewards that come to you in the end,” she said.
When asked if she believes in the link between the artist’s appearance and their artwork, Mxrixha commented that “there’s no particular link with my appearance and work other than they’re both Islamic.” She added: “I wear this jilbaab/hijab as it’s been ordained upon me and the paintings I do are specifically only buildings and/or nature.”
Moreover, she doesn’t paint any type of humans and/or animals “as it’s not permissible, I wouldn’t compromise my beliefs for anything.”
Like many viral things on the internet, the #Art vs. Artist hashtag challenge started as a meme. It was a test to see if artwork reflects the identity of its creator, as many assume. Artists would post the hashtag along with a selfie surrounded by eight of their selected art pieces.
The hashtag quickly blew up all over the internet, and artists from various genres joined in for the challenge. Soon, it outgrew its initial memesy-ness and became a fun way for creators to represent themselves on social media.
In reality, #Art vs. Artist allows the creator to present their best work for enormous crowds of people on Twitter that wouldn't be possible in the real world.
What if it’s a modern take on a mini portfolio? In times when self-promoting is a quintessential part of a successful career, showing a selection of your best work can be game-changing. One hashtag can help artists to build their following fast and boost their brand name with minimal resources.
Before social media, curating a solo exhibition, inviting buyers, and making connections with curators was a hell of task every up-and-coming artist had to do. Today, it’s no longer the case.