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Social Media as an Avenue for Artistic Development, featuring Virtuoso Juliana Azzarita

By — Daniella Marx

“…which causes me to wonder, my own purpose on so many days as humble as the spider’s, what is beautiful that I make? What is elegant? What feeds the world?”

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum 

For some, social media serves as a constant distraction and social inhibitor. For people like Juliana Azzarita, it’s more than that: it’s a forward-thinking medium for artistic ingenuity. 

Bejeweled from head to toe; Juliana enters the frame. She’s a strange Mendelian genetic cross of two parts Billie Eilish and one part Greta Thunberg. Bear in mind: it’s apparent that she borrows more of her fashion choices from the former. Her posture slackens as soon as she takes a seat by my side. It’s immediately clear: Juliana is a paragon of relaxation. Her affect guides me into a state of ease. 

“Alright, hello Juliana.” 

With a light giggle, she allows me a responding hello. 

And so, with introductions set aside for another time, we begin. 

“Would you be able to open your phone for a second? How many hours do you spend a day on your phone?” 

Here are the stats: Juliana spends 10 hours a day on her phone, and on a given day she may receive hundreds of notifications. These figures are not as staggering as they may seem. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online, outpacing their time spent sleeping by at least two hours. 

The bulk of her time spent online is on social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. Online, she’s sort of a big deal. She clocks in with an impressive 1974 followers on Instagram, which is a staggering figure compared to my unimpressive (but loyal!) cohort of 679 sycophants. But what draws in these masses? 

Say hello to a theme that traces itself in every one of Juliana’s posts: artistry. Blending the bizarre and comical with the irrefutably beautiful, the young artist is able to make an indent on a collective consumer conscious. Because of this, social media savants swarm her content. She’s not alone: thousands of teenagers across the globe are able to define a new form of pseudo-celebrity, one where inadulterable creative expression is embraced before all else. 

“I definitely believe that what you put out into the world establishes who you are. In the sense that like, if you’re a very creative person then that shows your personality. If you’re into fashion, then that’s how you express yourself. If you’re into drawing or music, then that’s the way you speak about things.” 

Juliana wishes to pursue a career in cinematic arts after she graduates from high school. She says that, if it hadn’t been for social media, she would have never considered it as a valid pathway for herself. She even describes herself as previously being “fearful” of the reactions of others in her community. But with the help of social media, she’s been able to break apart the yoke of insecurity and confidently embrace her creative process. 

Seeing that she has experienced struggles with her identity as an artist, I ask her what advice she would give to others that feel similarly. 

“You should try and dig deep within, and cater to what you like. Avoid a lot of the noise. Once you start doing what you’d like, you start to feel better and more confident.” 

As a final note, she adds: “Keep vibing with life. That’s the whole motto.” 

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