Be True to Your Art

I was chatting with someone the other day about stuff- let’s call him Dude.  Dude was talking about how one group of peeps thought Dude was just awesome, but another group of peeps thought Dude wasn’t so awesome.  Dude understood he had a perception problem, and wanted to address it.  So I told Dude my story about art.

I like creating art, mostly either photographs or writing.  Back in the dark ages when Word Perfect was a thing and I was still in school, I decided to create a library of all the essays and stories I had written on floppy disks.  Then, I could simply recycle an appropriate document and use my time for more important things – which at this age was anything that wasn’t school.  Plus, most of these documents had letter grades – if I resubmitted an “A” paper, I figured I’d have a good chance of getting another “A.”

However, art doesn’t play by logic.  The same paper that was given an “A” by one instructor was given a “C” by another.  WTF?  This annoyed the shit out of me, and it’s one of the reasons I went towards engineering.  While I didn’t understand it at the time, art is up to the eye of the beholder.  Art gets interpreted and is subjected to the perceptions of the viewer.

Why was I talking about art when the Dude was telling me about his perception issues?  Because Dude was having the same problems – one group thought his art was an “A”, and another group thought his art was a “C.”  Dude wanted to address the perception issue, which is good, by changing how he did things to appease the “we don’t think you are awesome” group.  How he did things was his art, and he was trying to be all things to everyone.  Ultimately this will just compromise his art.

As an artist, you have a view of your art.  It is what “you” want it to be, and you ideally want everyone to view it and share in it’s awesomeness.  If someone doesn’t like it, you’re tempted to change your art so it has as broad an audience as possible.  But at some point, you’ll water your art down to the point it is no longer yours – it’s everyone else’s.

Be true to your art… be true to yourself.

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