Praxis Makes Perfect

Becoming Colossal with Blogger Christopher Jobson

I hate the word “blog.” The sound I hear when I say this word aloud is tied to words that likewise evoke the unpleasant: blah, blob, blab. Merriam Webster defines “blog” as the following: “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also: the contents of such a site.” Many blogs (this site included) have expanded on this limited definition. There should be a new word which can connote what blogging is at its best: informal, yet incisive internet writing.

While that new word has not been invented, in the meantime a near infinite number of blogs pop up daily. There are about as many blogs as there are ways to blog. Christopher Jobson from thisiscolossal.com provides one example of what blogging can do for the arts. His site’s traffic brings recognition to under-represented (or even unrepresented) artists, especially younger and emerging artists. Jobson stated, “If the work is interesting I’m just as likely to cover something by Anish Kapoor as I am to cover a graduate student’s thesis project.” The blog is a visual catalog of over 1,600 posts primarily focused on art and design.

Web designer by trade, Jobson began his blog on a whim two years ago. Beginning a blog was one of one hundred things he wanted to accomplish in 2010. Number seven on another list for potential titles for the site was “colossal.” Jobson picked this name because he thought the word was fun to say (unlike the word “blog”). More importantly, the name had the flexibility to cover the changing content of the site.

Over time the direction of the blog has shifted slightly. Jobson has slowly begun to cover more art and less design. As he explained, “People just seemed more hungry for art, more willing to share and discuss it.” Sharing and discussing art is Jobson’s main agenda for the site, which is intentionally devoid of criticism and personal interpretation. Colossal is an endlessly stimulating source of artists and art work. Viewers are free to form their own opinions about the artists and art on the site.

Image courtesy of Sagaki Keita.

The work of one artist in particular bombarded the blog with a barrage of hits. The Japanese illustrator Sagaki Keita (above) was featured on Colossal on March 9, 2011. “Even today [Keita’s drawings] make my mind explode a little” says Jobson. Explode they did. Jobson’s post about Keita instantly went viral  and Colossal became a blog success story.  The site currently boasts two million unique visitors monthly and an additional 23,000 RSS subscribers. There are countless more followers on Twitter and Facebook.

For artists a blog can be a vital way to see and to share information, like an online sketch book. As Christopher Jobson discovered, you never know who is looking; however, you can certainly track how many people are looking.

Below are two of Jobson’s favorite recent posts from thisiscolossal.com:

Anatomical Cross-Sections Made with Quilled Paper by Lisa Nilsson

Stunning Long Exposure Photographs of Gold Fireflies in Japan

To submit images of your work to Chris Jobson at thisiscolossal.com, e-mail submissions@thisiscolossal.com with a brief description of the attached images (600px wide or larger, no zip files, file size is not an issue) and/or links to the artwork or project.

Contributor
Jacquelyn Gleisner is a visual artist, writer, and adjunct professor who splits her time between New York and New Hampshire. Since 2011, Gleisner has been a regular contributor for three ART21 columns: "Open Enrollment," "Praxis Makes Perfect," and "New Kids on the Block." She currently teaches at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
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