"Feel Good" Nonsense and Hard Truths.

Hey everyone,

So I was in the middle of work when I saw this thing pop-up in my Facebook feed.




I've seen this thing before, but it always rubs me the wrong way. It's quite possible that I've become jaded and no longer can really understand the plight of my fellow artists (for better or worse), but in my opinion this list is just some feel good fluff.

I'm going to try not to rant here, but in my opinion creeds like this are detrimental to the success of individuals. In many ways, it reminds me of kindergarten graduations or participation awards.


Anyway, here is my response to this list. Remember, 'agreement' means I agree with the listed items in that the numbered entry is erroneous. Also, keep in mind I am approaching this list through the lens of a commercial artist.
  1. I absolutely disagree with this item. As an artist working in the industry, you need to know who you are competing with and where you stand among the competition. Furthermore, by comparing your art to other artists, you can see what techniques you can improve upon or sample different styles.
  2. Disagree. Give them a reason to be proud of you when you start succeeding at something you are passionate about... and can afford to move out of their basement.
  3. Agreed.
  4. Unless you have carved yourself a nice profitable niche as "that guy" and are happy within that role, then yes, I agree. Be weary, however; niches have a way of becoming unfashionable so never become too comfortable within a certain set of constraints.
  5. Disagree. A ton of struggling artists cannot understand why they are failing because they can't step back and see the obvious flaws of their work. It's ok to appreciate the progress you've made over the years, but your harshest critique should always be you. Seek out critique whenever it's possible and never "settle." Seek perfection but be prepared to never reach it.
  6. Disagree. Do you like to eat and pay bills? Do you want to own a home or rent an apartment? Would you like to support a family? Unless you have the convenience of a massive inheritance or are independently wealthy, you need to consider your art career as your livelihood and take it very, very seriously.
  7. Disagree, within reason. Society generally dictates popularity and availability of work. However, if you have the income to turn down certain types of work you don't particularly enjoy the flavor of, then don't do that type of art.
  8. Agreed. This can tough when you have to explain to grandma what Slaanesh is all about.
  9. Disagree. Guess who controls your source of income? If you can't stand working for a client, make sure to end the contract on amicable terms. Next time they come knocking, remember the experience and then decide whether or not you want to deal with that client again.
  10. Agreed, to an extent. Always aim to be the greatest and best in your field -  aiming for second best will ensure you never get to the top. However, be reasonable about your limitations and weaknesses. A true master might spend his entire lifetime dedicated to honing his craft -  don't be surprised if you still can't draw feet right after a week.
Well those are my thoughts on the subject. How do you feel about this list? How do you feel about my opinion? Comment below and let me know.

Lots of tough love,
Nick

4 comments:

  1. The problem is the same with all of these types of things - they conflate being an artist with being a production artist. Some people refer to it as the difference between being an artiste and an artist. They are very different. They have very different goals, and yes, there is some blurry overlap sometimes. Luckily there is an easy to apply litmus test - WHO IS THE CLIENT? If its you, be an artiste, if its someone else, you are an artist...get to work.

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  2. Well, I don't know if I'd completely agree to number 3 because I've kind of dedicated the past two years in a single big project(now, it's not my whole career, but a very long time).

    As long as you try new things while doing your project and keeps learning there is no need to start something else.

    I like working with big long lasting projects, but ofc, if what you're working on is a lot of the same then I'll agree with Nr.3

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  3. Well, if you are an artiste, then I see all of them as being ways to be miserable. But truthfully, it's very unrealistic to believe that all one has to do is paint/draw/sculpt whatever they want and then the world will shower them with both praise and money.

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  4. I agree with you Nick. Also 8 point is great))

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