Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Listening To Your Own Creative Voice

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.


FenBeary Folk said...

Hi Kelly, I have to say I adore your blog, you say so much that makes sense girl. I stopped buying house mags for that reason, I kept having a deja vu moment looking at the pictures and actually found the same picture in different magazines.
As a new bear maker (2 years) I have been trying to find my style, I started with the puffy cheek ones but they are not my heart, so I stopped following the styles on ebay and went with what I loved. I do that style if requested but not by choice.
So huggies to you and your rantings
Sue xx

Unknown said...

Hi Kelly, I totally agree with you about everyone following the same trends, especially it seems to me those sellers on Etsy. You're right - it's easy as a creator to get caught up in the trends and lose sight of one's own style....and integrity. Well said!
Patricia :)

Kelly said...

Thank you both for your comments! Fen I really hope that what I post isn't coming off as a rant. I am not upset, just observing and trying to figure it all out as I go along. =)

Hugs, Kelly

FenBeary Folk said...

Hi Kelly, sorry didn't mean to imply you were "ranting" in the mad sense, wrong choice of words. I do like your view of things?? better? I do think that the mags choose what they think we need to see. You can get very sucked into the style of the moment, when you really should be going in a different direction.
Sue xx

Kelly said...

Oh good, I always worry that people think I am mad when I am not. =)

Southern Bears said...

The rantings and ravings of a Mohair Diva - sounds so cool!

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