Don’t become Human Spam


Human Spam is a concept introduced in the book “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon, which is the follow up to the bestseller “Steal Like An Artist”.

The concept of Human Spam is basically someone who puts out a lot of output but doesn’t consume any input.  Think of the writer who never reads or the photographer who never looks at other people’s artwork.

Human spam says “look at me, look at me” but doesn’t return the favor.

The chapter in the book reads “Shut Up and Listen” which is tried and true advice.  When you listen or see other peoples ideas, thoughts and work, it is something that you can absorb and learn.

The writing community is full of lame-o people who want to be published in journals even though they don’t read the magazines they want to be published in, ” says writer Dan Chaon.  “These people deserve rejections that they will undoubtedly receive , and no one should feel sorry for them when they cry about how they can’t get anyone to accept their stories.”

Human spam.

If you want people to go to your art opening, you need to go to theirs.  You need to support the scene not just take.   The experience of art is a two way street between artists, fans, other artists, the press, etc.  Its not “I’ll drop this amazing work for my fans to snatch up”.

To avoid becoming human spam you have to remain a fan and continue to be curious within the art world.