Now that the title of my journal has your attention
I hope I can spread a little bit of positivity. Ahh! Caught you unawares!
I was inspired to write this journal following a conversation I had tonight with a good friend. I wanna talk about . . . creativity. And originality. And not selling out.
Pull up a chair.
If you're not careful, dA can be like crack.
Yeah, I said it.
You know it's true!
If you are not careful, you can become addicted to the rush of excitement you feel when lots of people add your work to their favorites. And making it to the front page, OMG, it's like sheer adrenaline coursing through your veins. When I did that, I just sat at my computer refreshing the screen, clearing out favorites, then refreshing and repeating for, like, hours, until the flood stopped.
Even if you've never made it to the front page, we all remember what it feels like the first time our work hit 100 faves. Or even 50 faves. Or hell, even that first fave means a lot to some of us! It sure does for me! And this feeling becomes addictive. You crave that attention. You crave the excitement of seeing who your new watchers and fans will be. So, you continue to create, pumping out works every day and spending a minimum number of hour(s) per work. If you can find a way to get something done faster, you do so, and your work becomes less about YOU and more about creating something that will get you those faves and watches. In doing what is "popular," you become just like everyone else.
What does this bizarre sense of "popularity" mean? It means that people like your work, and, even more importantly, to some people it means that people like YOU.
Yeah, you read that right. It becomes far too easy to confuse artistic popularity with personal popularity. Suddenly, instead of loving your latest, greatest girl-in-the-forest photomanipulation, you feel like they love YOU, the artist. And instead of rejecting your latest, greatest girl-in-the-forest photomanipulation, you feel like groups reject YOU.
Paging Dr. Ego.
So, why is that a problem?
Because, to put it bluntly, it is not about YOU.
Most, if not all, of the drama on this site (and life in general) comes about because of people taking things personally that are not, in fact, personal. Don't get me wrong. There are some people who will absolutely decline your art from groups because you said something they didn't like 4 years ago or because you didn't favorite their own latest, greatest girl-in-forest manipulation. They may even accuse you of stealing said manipulation. But, the bottom line is, that's about THEM, not about YOU.
I digress. When we feel that praise and rejection are about us as people rather than about our art and the way in which it is presented, we become boastful and arrogant when we should be humble and open to learning. We become hurtful and deceitful when we should be open to possibilities. We trash other deviants because they hurt us
by rejecting the art we post on this site. We write angry journals and block people and threaten to leave dA. We tear down art that has less than 100 faves and wail about our forsakenness, leaving bitter messages about people not supporting one another.STOP IT.IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
That means the good is not about you, and the bad is not about you. Your art is something you have produced. It is a reflection of where your skills are at that particular moment in time. It is not about you as an individual. You are separate from your art. I can LOVE you with all of my heart and still HATE your art. I have some very good friends on this site, and while I will SUPPORT their art, I do not like it at all. But someone's not liking your art does not detract from YOU. It does not make you a lesser person or make your light any dimmer.
Likewise, there are people on this site who I think are complete jerks, but they do brilliant art. Their art does not make them any less of a jerk, nor does their being a jerk make their art any worse.
It's NOT personal.
Moreover, it's relative--right, Einstein? A lot of times I see pieces that, for me, are like, eurgh, whereas others might think those pieces are fantastic. Why are you letting your self-worth rest on someone else's opinion??
I'm saying this with love: GET OVER YOURSELF.
It's not that deep. It's not that big a deal.
So, now you're not basing your self-worth on someone else's opinion of your art anymore. Breathe a sigh of relief! Doesn't that feel good?
Well, now you're free. Why? Because you are no longer tied to doing things that other people will like. Now you are free and open to do what YOU would like to do. And perhaps you'll want to spend a bit more time on it and be a bit more creative. Perhaps you'll go back to being . . . yourself
A whole new world of possibilities has been opened to you. You don't have to do girl-in-forest anymore unless you're doing it because YOU want to do it. You can take time to create your own backgrounds, learn techniques that will help you blend objects together more smoothly so you don't have to rely on filters, and cut out your stock properly (something which I refused to do until earlier this year).
In short, you can take time to learn your art.
I remember maybe 6 years ago a popular deviant (whose username I cannot remember for the life of me) saying something along these lines:You don't need to do a deviation every week.
No one can do a deviation every week and still have them be any good (with the possible exception of !BlueBlack). Take time to learn your art, and take time to do your deviations creatively and well rather than throwing something together for the sake of getting it posted.(By the way, if you are out there and you said this, please note me, because I always use this story and would like to credit you properly.)
Once per week? Some of us are posting once per day!!
Regardless, I am not trying to tell you how often to post; I am only begging you to slow down. You cannot develop your inner artist by throwing things together just so you can get more faves, pageviews, and popularity. Forget the outside world, and focus on the art itself. Be true to your art. Allow it to grow and develop. Give it the time it needs to show up properly. Don't force it or constrain it.
As the saying goes, I would rather fail as myself than succeed as someone I am not. But, I also honestly believe that I cannot fail if I am myself. Each step along the path is essential, and you just cannot skip intermediate steps because you do not have the patience for them. Make your own choices, and create with your heart.