After literature and written art had to fight a tough battle for attraction during the first decade of social media, owing to a certain group of writers it is now on a significant rise.
Artists, that emerged under the challenges and circumstances of the digital platforms, have brought back an art form that was declared dead. How Instagram and Twitter have offered jumpstarts to careers of authors like Rupi Kaur, Atticus and Dean Cocozza, sets a blueprint for thousands of aspiring writers. We asked Cocozza about his relationship to social media and current career plans
A race for the reader’s attention
When asked about his beginnings as a writer, Dean Cocozza makes clear he has come some journey.
“I started writing lyrics for my music as a teenager, then was asked to write more and more for other artist. I’ve never been a fan of rhyming, so my personal favourites were always pieces that would rather be categorized as poetry.”
He immediately had to experience, that translating art to social media is not as simple as posting whatever his pen put down.
“Anyone who uses the platform with an intent will quickly learn that you only have the glimpse of a moment to catch the viewer’s attention. So the work I shared shifted to be more to the point, often one liners. Then stuff started to go viral.”
The success and demand for more poems resulted in his first book ‘zero dark thirty’, which sold out quickly. Despite the book containing mostly short writings, even said one-liners, Cocozza emphasizes that “it was a very personal project resulting from a certain period of time” in his life.
A sold out book, as well as thousands of shares and likes approve his creations, but what does it mean to a writer?
“I wouldn’t put my writings out there, if I wasn’t curious about the possibility of it resonating with people. Of course it’s nice. But at the end of the day, I don’t write for social media. It’s more of a diary, a mood board that can help testing waters. There are much bigger things that I work on and plan to get involved in.“
A mission to bring back emotional depth
When asked about his goals for the future, it is clear that cinema is more than just an inspiration for the British-German artist, but even more the destination.
“I am looking to work more and more in the film industry. Besides personal experiences, a big part of my inspiration has always come from 1960’s French cinema, where dialogues and emotional depth had a unique authenticity.”
Visual projects are no new terrain for Cocozza, who’s writings and scores have been featured in several productions for film and fashion magazines.
And as much as 60’s French cinema with its unconventional directors was called the New Wave (Nouvelle Vague), the last years have brought a new wave of writers and poetry, each of them an advocate for their own cause. Whereas bestseller authors Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed are not only popular but also important voices of BIPOC female artists, male writers like Atticus & Dean Cocozza are carefully breaking with social media’s extreme forms of fragile masculinity with their emotional content. And in it seems their poetry seems to sell better too.
In-between monetized content, blatant advertising and ‘perfect lives’, social media holds a spot for a new generation of artists, including literature. Critical thinkers and authentic writers, remind the app’s consumers of their emotional human nature.
Art galleries and bookstores might have lost a big part of their audience to digital media - but the art itself will always find ways to survive.