airfrogusmc wrote in post #17133026
Everything has been done. 2000 + years of two dimensional art and its all been painted, sculpted, sketched or photographed. I have my influences. As Z said you learn from others but there is a big difference in being influenced and copying. Look at art movements. Different artists all working in a similar way, all influencing one another but yet the great's work all had a personal signature. The question then becomes do you want to be a copy of someone else or do you have a voice? Do you have something to say visually or do you want to just take cool pictures? Nothing wrong with either path but one path is what separates work that is special from work that looks like everyone else's.
Yeah, but here's the question: did the great works have a personal signature because only those artists were being honest, or were those artist's works appreciated because they happened to be in the position of having a SCARCE vision that people actually cared about?
I have a problem with this whole aspect, because it seems to imply that anyone could matter if they just get honest and find what unique thing they have to contribute. But that's like telling anyone that they can be a great mathematicician if they just work hard enough at it. Not everyone is cut out for that, no matter how hard they try. Not everyone is cut out to be a well-respected artist because of the whole scarcity thing. Human beings are similar in a LOT of ways, which means that a lot of people making art are going to result in a whole lot of art that is really freaking similar. That's what one would expect to happen if the artists ARE being honest. Because a lot of the ways that people are unique happen to be in areas that no one cares about or are considered bad. It's not just a matter of being unique, it's a matter of being unique in a particular way that appeals to peoples' sensibilities. And with art becoming as ubiquitous as it is today, it's gonna be impossible for many people to meet that standard.
Does that mean that their work doesn't suck? No. Does that make their work any more interesting or important or significant? Of course not. But let's not add insult to injury here. Some people just plain are not cut out for certain things due to the kinds of people that they are. That should be enough. We don't have to say "you suck" and then expand on that by saying "you suck because you're just being fake and not being honest." That's like if I had a mentally retarded son who dreamed of being an astrophysicist, and told him that he'd be a failure because he's not working hard at it. It's hard enough telling him that he'll never be an astrophysicist because he's mentally retarded, but it'd just be cruel to watch him pour all of his effort into it and then blame his failure on him being lazy. Why add the unnecessary step of making it out to be that person's fault, when the reality is that most people will never get there regardless of how hard they try?
Because really, the economics of vision is a real factor here. Even if every single person in the world had a unique vision and truly did "honestly" express it through their art, the consumers MUST outnumber the producers or else there's no economic incentive for producing for anyone other than one's self. There's only a limited window for people to find an audience who cares about their work no matter how "honest" they are being. It's the equivalent of the argument that lots of people throw around with regards to the poverty issue: "yeah, it sucks that you're poor, but you should have worked harder and made smarter decision." That's a nice sentiment, but it breaks down because there aren't enough good jobs for everyone. If everyone is graduating high school and getting a college degree, that just means that the education got lowered in value because it's not as scarce. This is precisely why a high school diploma is nearly worthless these days, and people are getting college degrees and going to work as cashiers at Wal-Mart. "Unique training and skills? Okay...it's not nearly as unique as it used to be since there are more people with the same training and skills. Or, even if it is unique, it's of no use to us which means you're of no higher value to us than the guy who we just hired straight out of high school." I saw this analogy somewhere else, but it's the equivalent of locking ten hobos in a boxcar and making them fight over a ham sandwich, and then chastizing the losers for not fighting hard enough. Yeah, sure...if the losers fought harder, any ONE of them could have gotten the sandwich. But you knew damn well that at the end of the day, no matter how hard everyone fought, there were gonna be nine hobos going hungry that night.
Make no mistake: a lot of people will absolutely fail as visual artists. We shouldn't assume that it's just because they CHOSE to not say anything unique. It's probably more like the hobos-in-a-boxcar analogy. They all tried as hard as they freaking could, but at the end of the day there is only room for so many "unique visions".