Artist, Creative or Hobbyist? Who Cares — Just Make Something

“I don’t care what you think about my art.”

An artist has issued this reply about her process and thinking behind one of her pieces in critique. Powerful words, spoken like a true present-day artist.

“I don’t think I have to offer an explanation for why I chose to use this icon in my work.”

What do these two quotes from different emerging artists have in common? A subscription to an ideology pervasive in the fine arts community. Since the work is personal, gestated in introversion, any critique is a personal attack.

“Can I get your feedback on this piece? Is it effective?”

This is a creative, or commercial artist, requesting advice from a seasoned designer. The piece was created in extroversion, after observing the target audience. The designer analyzes the problem, audience and possible solutions before ever opening a creative software program.

“I’ve just made several trivets. Would you like one?”

A crafty homemaker has finished several trivets, and wishes to share these creations with her friends. Who doesn’t want to prevent scorch marks on their tabletops?

If the three creative communities were ranked, the fine arts community would top the totem pole. Fine arts: prestige. Next, commercial art: sell-out trash. The hobbyist, stalking the aisles of Michael’s with coupons and toddlers in-hand, comes in dead last.

Where did this separation occur? All three creative circles harness the same instinct: firing neurons in random sequence, generating an idea then made tangible.

Michelangelo was a commercial artist, commissioned by the longest-standing, profitable enterprise of all time: The Vatican. Imagine an art critic at the Sistine Chapel: “So commercial. I like his early work before he sold out.” Doesn’t happen.

In my armchair analysis, there are two reasons why this is detrimental:

It prevents cross-pollination between the creative communities.

It alienates audiences.

I hope in my lifetime this artificial construct is expediently destroyed as it was created.


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