I was first introduced to Cam Rackam’s work in the summer of 2004 at Vans Warped Tour. I had been a fan of Avenged Sevenfold and promptly went to their merch booth and bought the poster rendition of Rackam’s “Heads Off.” During of the course of the day my poster got ruined, but I was lucky enough to get another one courtesy of Avenged Sevenfold’s singer, M. Shadows. Rackam has done work for many artists, including: The Confession and Perish, as well as Vengeance University.
According to his website he “is a resident of Southern California. He received a BFA from Cal State Fullerton… In 2009, Cam became the gallery director at the Congregation Gallery in Hollywood, where he both curates as well as participates in the events. Cam is also the owner and founder of Blood Oil entertainment group and merchandise.” At the present he is working on a new showed shrouded in classical mythology and “it will certainly be his biggest, most exciting event to date.”
Below is my interview with Rackam focused on social media.
Thank you very much for agreeing to answer some questions.
You’re We lcome
I know this question is very broad, but what do you think the greatest thing technology has done for art? What’s the worst thing?
The Internet is revolution. No longer is every segment of art world controlled by the gallery elite. Now art has the possibility of becoming global. Popularity is truly designated by the masses. The capacity of free advertising of the Internet has changed nearly every business. With the smart phone, even the ‘portfolio’ has changed. Now aspiring artists carry their body of work in their pockets.
Negative effects include the ‘flattening out of images’. Art should not be studied online. 264 colors are not nearly enough to properly see a picture. Many talented people are not technology inclined and their work can fall to the way side very quickly.
Do you think social media is a beneficial way for artists to spread the word about their art? How do you think artists can use social media better?
Yes and No. If someone is an artist or wants to be, then as many people as possible need to see it. The most popular way is social media. The pr oblem is that saying someone l oves something online, doesn’t mean th at’s true. I think many people believe their own hype.
Which social media site do you prefer (Facebook, M y sp a ce, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)? How long do you think people continue to use Myspace?
Someone is still using myspace?
What do you do to protect yourself, art and image, from people pretending to be you on the Internet?
I’ve had copyright thefts but suing people is so expensive it becomes not worth it. Sending Cease and Desist letters don’t work either. On top of that badmouthing another company makes you look like a whiner. Really the best thing to do is rise above it. As far as fans pretending to be me….doesn’t really make an impact that affects my work or business.
Can there be harm in using social media for promotion?
Yeah I think people use it too solely and rely on it too much. When someone takes a picture of their cat, then promotes their art show or band, no one will take you seriously. If you’re using it for your business, cool use it for business. If its for personal photos of your breakfast or poetry, then keep it to your friends. Once a person mixes the two they are instantly seen as an amateur.
When promoting your art versus Congregation Gallery do you use different tactics? How so?
Yeah, my art is about me, but the Congregation Gallery has turned into a hub or artists and intellectuals that’s about everyone. So you have to take a different hand to it, for example my fans don’t care about the gallery, but my peers do. Its like the less effective version of myself.
When you shut down your social media sites about a year ago did you suffer any backlash? I would think most of your fans would be very supportive. What was it like coming back to social media?*
It was mixed. I had artists assume that I was using it as a ploy to get attention re-directed back to me. I had fans get so excited they crashed the webpage. It was weird coming back. I really didn’t want to but I promised and it was good for me personally. Its hard with all of the social media out there to keep people interested, and about the important things.
*In January 2010 Rackam shut all social media down for six months as an honor to Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, drummer of Avenged Sevenfold, who died on December 28, 2009.