This week, Tumblr launched Readymade, a theme - or Tumblr blog template - created expressly with the art world in mind. The fruit of a partnership between Tumblr, PR firm Fitz & Co, and theme developer Pixel Union, Readymade aims to give artists, art galleries, and museums a well-suited platform through which to share and promote their creative work.
The appearance of Readymade got me thinking about the relationship between social media and art. We've been experimenting, as we are wont to do, with Tumblr and YouTube and Twitter from the start, digging into their potential as a means of online expression, pushing the boundaries of our creativity. In a way, social media's the great equalizer of the art world, putting creative tools - and an easily-adopted skill set - into the hands of professionals and would-be artists alike. The ensuing art can take the form of a movie trailer mashup, a Facebook Timeline cover, or Twitter micropoetry. It can come from an award-winning novelist or a high school student. All of it has its own brand of value, and is sure to find an audience online.
This Charming Charlie. Gaining notoriety when it was recently featured in The Huffington Post and Slate, this Tumblr page combines Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics with lyrics by The Smiths. It's clever and incredibly creative, but if you want to see it, act fast: Universal Music has started requesting that certain comic panels be removed, citing copyright infringement.
idraw_on_cats. Two illustrators are behind this Instagram project in which they draw on photos of Bob the cat and a handful of his friends, transforming them into different characters. The result is a collection of amazing and amusing pics that have already attracted more than 6,000 Instagram followers.
Hawk Funn. Hyped as "a story told through social media," Hawk Funn is a work of social fiction delivered in real time through Facebook and Twitter. Each character has its own social networking profile, and followers can watch the narrative unfold through Hawk Funn, a manufacturer of designer camping gear, as well as his family and friends. The project is part novel, part experiment in digital storytelling and design.
The Guardian's Twitter Fiction. If you're in the mood for reading something more succinct, visit the UK newspaper site to get your fix of Twitter Fiction, which challenges top writers to tell a compelling story, plot and all, within 140 characters. The series has featured novelists, journalists, playwrights, and broadcasters with some impressive results.
The Web is full of social media art. You just have to know where to look.