The following blog post shares an article about “Amazon Vine” - an exclusive group of Amazon reviewers. The piece ends with a look at my art journey via a link to my “About” page. While it isn’t directly a story about art, it ends up there … it’s kind of the same way I ended up “there”, creating art and meaning in a brand new way with a brand new set of techniques and skills. It’s all brand new to me ….
I’ve been a member of this basically clandestine Amazon review community since 2007. After over 10 years of “free stuff”, I decided to leave the Vine Program of my own volition. I can sum it up my departure to losing the the true appreciation of possessions. Too much “stuff” in your life and that can really complicate it more than you might expect - I felt that. Not just from logistically, but from an emotional standpoint … receiving gifts becomes so much harder.
I am writing this blog post because the role that reviewing products took in my life has been deftly replaced by my ability to create art. The digital version of the NYT article even contained a link to my art website / about / bio. WOW!
Another way to share my art - through a back door. I’m very grateful for this. Here’s the article in it’s longer digital form - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/style/amazon-reviews-vine.html
I was mentioned by full name earlier, but this is the heart of it:
“Ms. de Avila’s choice to leave Vine was a rare one. She echoed the sentiment shared on Reddit, that consumption divorced from what typically dictates it — not just price, but need and desire — can have surprising effects. In 2014, she moved to a smaller home in a new place. She started getting rid of stuff. She was getting behind on her reviews, and started to feel guilty. She was losing her Sundays to Vine, just to catch up, and the boxes just kept coming. “It was becoming more and more difficult to become excited about receiving gifts from people,” she said. “It was kind of like someone who wins the lottery.”
It was too much stuff, and too much expectation. Perhaps it was her keener-than-usual awareness of how stuff fits into your life, or her previous experiences dealing with less-than-communicative omniscient beings. “I was a nun for seven years,” she said, “so I come from a different kind of material perspective: Take what you need. Don’t overuse.”
But she was also a dedicated early adopter — she was a Google Glass Explorer, for example, helping the company test out its controversial and since-shelved smart glasses — and had been seeking a sense of purpose after retiring from her secular career in information technology. Ms. de Avila was also living with multiple sclerosis. Vine arrived at the right time. “It gave me a way to build meaning,” she said, “leaving a corporate job with a lot of responsibility.” Receiving boxes from Amazon, and completing the corresponding Vine tasks, gave her a temporary new identity.
“I loved it,” she said, “I just knew it was time to step away.” When she did, she said, she was at peace. She doesn’t miss it.
Lately, Ms. de Avila has been cultivating what she said was a “sudden-onset” new ability that she described as arriving after a relapse with multiple sclerosis, and has devoted herself to creating art. She is particularly drawn to fractals — images that are self-similar no matter their scale — and has been accepted into juried exhibitions near her home in Florida. ‘I’ve discovered that art has become the ultimate benefactor for me,” she wrote on her own website, where she sells her work directly to consumers. “Its gifts,” she said, “are bottomless.’”
Hermann, J. (2019, January 26). The Secret World of Amazon’s Power Reviewers. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/style/amazon-reviews-vine.html
If you are interested in purchasing any pieces directly from me, please feel free to contact me and we can work on something together. Contact me at TheRedDotArtist@gmail.com
The full article is visible here - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/style/amazon-reviews-vine.html