You’re at a business conference over the weekend. Bored, you pull up your Facebook app and start scrolling through the newsfeed. You run across a picture of your friends enjoying dinner and drinks. They look like they’re having fun, and you feel a twinge of — what is that? Anxiety?

You’ve just experienced the “fear of missing out” or “FOMO.”

Recently, through social media and text-messaging technology, people have popularized the idea of FOMO as an almost-humorous acknowledgement of the fear of missing out on social engagements.

Through July 11, Lakewood artist Erika Jaeggli is hosting a charcoal art exhibit at WAAS Gallery that explores the darker side of “FOMO” — the anxiety and sense of dread that threatens the self, convincing you that you do not really exist if you are not socially engaged.

“We’re always disconnected from someone,” Jaeggli says. “We think of FOMO as a brand new thing, but it’s not. The Greeks were writing about this in tragedy.”

She uses charcoal to give her artwork an “old-timey feel,” she says.

Here is a sampling from the exhibit with a behind-the-scenes look at what Jaeggli had in mind when she created each piece:

“In all the pieces, there is either someone looking out of the picture or into the picture,” Jaeggli says. “In this one, she’s looking out from the window but not at the viewer. There’s a whole story that’s going on. With the FOMO concept, she’s looking out the window, and she’s inside the picture but not really a part of the picture.” Art by Erika Jaeggli

“In all the pieces, there is either someone looking out of the picture or into the picture,” Jaeggli says. “In this one, she’s looking out from the window but not at the viewer. There’s a whole story that’s going on. With the FOMO concept, she’s looking out the window, and she’s inside the picture but not really a part of the picture.” Art by Erika Jaeggli

“I wanted a really strong picture of a woman looking into the picture,” Jaeggli explains. “Because she’s treated differently than the rest of the background, she serves as a surrogate for the viewer. She’s not really in that world. She’s more in our world, so it’s like we’re looking, too.” Art by Erika Jaeggli

“I wanted a really strong picture of a woman looking into the picture,” Jaeggli explains. “Because she’s treated differently than the rest of the background, she serves as a surrogate for the viewer. She’s not really in that world. She’s more in our world, so it’s like we’re looking, too.” Art by Erika Jaeggli

“The source material came from all over the place,” Jaeggli says. “I bought postcards on eBay, mostly from Europe mid-century. These people are from a postcard from Berlin. The people weren’t the focus at all [of the postcard], but I loved that she was looking towards us and he wasn’t. I made the background darker and brought them up [into focus].”  Art by Erika Jaeggli

“The source material came from all over the place,” Jaeggli says. “I bought postcards on eBay, mostly from Europe mid-century. These people are from a postcard from Berlin. The people weren’t the focus at all [of the postcard], but I loved that she was looking towards us and he wasn’t. I made the background darker and brought them up [into focus].” Art by Erika Jaeggli


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