Some teenagers go to extreme lengths to set themselves apart from the crowd. I think they do it so that they know someone is looking at them and thus affirming that they are alive and have something different to offer to the world. Sometimes it involves an outrageous haircut or manner of dressing. But yet they want the name brand of electronics, sneakers or jeans that are every one else has that are popular at any given time, especially if those items are worn by someone who is famous that they admire. It's an interesting dichotomy to want to be accepted and similar to everyone else so you fit in and yet remain unique.
I think as artists we strive for those same ideals. All too often we want to create something that fits with the current trend in handmade so that we make sales and yet remain unique and true to our own style. In fact I have been noticing more and more of that lately.
As I have said before, we have dozens of venues now for anyone who makes anything to be able to easily open a shop and put it out there for sale. Very little effort and money is required to do that. While I believe on one hand that's a wonderful thing for artists, I have begun to wonder if it has a down side.
A couple posts back I told you how thrilled I was that the new bear pattern worked out the way I wanted it to on the first draft. I was wondering what I did different this time. I suppose to a degree part of it is simply years of experience and knowing how pieces will turn out with the proportions drawn just by looking. But I wasn't sure that was the only reason.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a large part of it was because I have been downsizing so to speak. As I also mentioned in previous posts I have been keeping a distance from these some of these venues, so I am not being bombarded with pictures of what everyone else is making.
I had also been letting the magazines rest for a few days. Then last night I picked up one of the Somerset publications and was thumbing through it when it struck me how each issue is starting to look the same. While the pictures are beautifully done, they are also photographed more or less the same each time with the same style of things in them. In fact I have noticed cross over features on some of the same artists in some of them. Many of the pictures and items I look at on the selling venues reflect that style as well, and even feature those same artists again.
This has to have a huge impact on our subconscious because these images stick with us whether we want them to or not. I don't remember a time when so many people were trying to make things that fit into a such a small niche than they are now. When we are bombarded with images of the same thing over and over we begin to consider it the norm. Remember when waif thin models first started appearing and everyone was outraged because they looked anorexic? We have seen them for so many years now that it doesn't even phase us because overly thin women on TV and in print have become the norm instead of the exception. It's gotten to the point where normal sized, healthy looking women are considered fat.
Perhaps so many images of similar handmade items coming at us from every direction is working against our own creativity? When I stopped tuning in to so many proverbial channels my own creative voice was able to be heard above the crowd. I could make a pattern that was a little more current in shape, but still stay true to my own style.
It's a good thing that we can adapt to stay current with certain trends, but not just to be able to sell something because it's the hot thing or way to do it because everyone else is doing it that way right now. I think it's very important that we ask ourselves who we are listening to when we sit down to create. Are we listening to the creative voices of others or are we listening to our own creative voice? It's self defeating when we listen to the creative voices of others above our own and try to emulate certain styles in order to get our work noticed and featured. It has the opposite effect and we blend into the crowd. If we listen to ourselves first we will always be more happy and content in our work, and we won't have to resort to an outrageous hairstyle to stand out.