This is an awkward post for me to write. I've wanted to talk about my experience as someone who has blown up, gone viral, or is instagram famous, but frankly I hate all of those terms. Blown up sounds bigger than it is, viral sounds like a disease, and famous makes me cringe. Famous. The word makes me nauseated. When people introduce me to others or interject that I'm famous now, I mentally exit the conversation.
I don't feel any different. I don't have verified accounts. People don't recognize my name.
The videos, however, are another story. My rise to internet fame, for lack of a better word, was quick and volatile. I've still trying to pick up the pieces of what happened. It feels like I've filled out countless interview requests and still failed to properly tell my story. In November of 2015, I posted a terrible (I mean seriously awful) stop motion video of myself mixing up an entire palette. I was excited to share my process, but as it often works with the internet: no one cared.
I stuck with posting static imagery of my palette until the spring, when I started posting clips of mixing colours. After some experimentation, I found my signature style: the paint appears that it is floating above the ground on my glass palette and the camera is intimately close to the mixing.
Unbeknownst to me - likely because I'm an adult and unless I want to find out what colour pizza my alternate vampire identity persona is when it's raining, I don't frequent Buzzfeed - a young illustrator on Instagram had posted a few videos of her mixing paint. It was featured on Buzzfeed, and generated interest in the ASMR community.
As a direct result of the already unknown buzz surrounding paint mixing, my videos caught attention and were reposted, shared, and flaunted around the internet. I realized that they were catching traction when I would start my shift at work with 100% battery life, and later come back on a break a mere two hours later and have 37% battery life from the notifications just draining everything. The videos became a hit to the point where Mackenzie Kruvant of Buzzfeed wrote her own post about my videos.
After that, it snowballed. In order, from what I can piece together, I was featured on a late night talk show in the Netherlands called RTL Late Night:
It was a hint overwhelming at the time, but I've learned to roll with the punches - sometimes, verbal punches tossed at me from people who feel I'm wasting paint or "doing it wrong." Since then, the Buzzfeed, Daily Mail and Huffington Post articles have all been reposted and reshared in other languages. I've had a good giggle at some of the mistranslations.
After the initial influx of attention, everything calmed down a bit. I was able to refocus and have had followers who are passionate about the work I'm creating. That was the most magical for me. I'm still floored by every kind comment and message I get about my work or about the paint mixing. I started to sell prints of my paintings - something affordable and easily accessible for those who want art but can't afford original work yet. I've been successful, proving that you can turn your fifteen minutes into something tangible.
Interestingly enough, the attention didn't stop. There was still interest and often from those who were looking to take a different angle. I was approached by Gique, which focussed on science and art merging; Sweet, which approached it from a really unique standpoint as the first straight-to-discover via Snapchat publication as well as educational; and New York Magazine, which speaks for itself in tone. Other repost-original hybrids popped up, including The Fashion Hub, which focussed on the spectrum of colours. Most recently, I was contacted by the German segment of Broadly for this totally bitchin' interview in German that went into much more detail than anything previously.
When people ask me what it feels like to be famous now, I just have to laugh. It's a little surreal and I'm very humbled that I am getting a little traction for my work. It's absolutely wonderful to have the opportunity to sell my work across the globe. Of course, I get the people who have made it their goal to make me feel terrible about my work or about my so-called popularity. For awhile, those comments hurt. Now I preach RuPaul: unless they're paying your bills, pay those bitches no mind.