Updated: Apr 20, 2020
i got an instagram in the seventh grade solely to post my photography so my friends from school could see my art. i remember a select few who really supported and enjoyed seeing my photos (mostly of my cat Oliver, my sister, and green things i found interesting outside.) i genuinely thought that every single person that followed me loved my photos as much as i did, and was disappointed when i didn't receive the comments and likes from every one of my followers. after a few weeks of being let down by my school friend's support, i started exploring other people's accounts that had the same energy as mine. these were people from other schools in my area, or just random people who seemed like they had the same interests in art as i did. after a while, i found that these people i had never met before were genuinely interested in my photography and were consistently interacting with every one of my posts. in some ways, their support was more meaningful than that of my friends from my middle school. these accounts from all over the state, and eventually all over the country/world began following me, not because they knew me personally but because they wanted to follow and interact with my content. eventually, my instagram account became less of an art account and more of a personal one, where i would post pictures of me with my friends and family, some deep fried instagram filtered selfies, or textposts i found from twitter or tumblr. this was more content my irl friends enjoyed and interacted with, they cared less about my photography and other art.
this continued for a while until i made an account for my art and my art only (now known as @coolbeen.art) and then i began building a following of people who enjoyed my art content. this is where i have found the most support of my illustrations, and i will always be grateful that people from all over the world look at and enjoy my art. most of these accounts are run by people i have never met but we support each other's art projects and experiments daily. i have always found support on the internet and what i have learned is that the world is full of people who really care about your content, you just have to find them. my advice to people struggling to find a supportive following of art lovers: find them first. your phone is such a great tool for communication and collaboration, so use it! find people whose art you enjoy, and support them. the road goes both ways. if you want support from art mutuals, you might need to dish it out first. it takes time to build a internet family for your art, and it always grows and changes just like your own art does. so go and make some internet friends!