Saturday, April 11, 2009
These last few weeks have been spent putting together my Etsy Shop. I've been uploading photos of the jewelry to DeviantART too! I'm really excited to get off the ground with all this stuff! Money is nice, but mostly I just want to know that people out there, somewhere, are wearing things I made. I squee every time one of my friends wears their necklace, or whenever someone stops me on campus to talk resin. It's really awesome. It gives people an opening to talk to me (apparently I'm a little intimidating... maybe because I'm the tallest woman in the world?) and it gives me something to talk about endlessly so there's no awkward pauses and all that stuff.
That's right, this creator of cutesy, glittery goodies is actually pretty shy and awkward in social situations. I've been doing a lot to get over my social fears but many of them are still lingering. Doing all this resin stuff has really opened me up though! I know that if I have to keep interacting with strangers on a customer/seller basis my social skills will improve! I'm already much more comfortable talking to Etsy people, and I've only done it a few times.
Another thing has been bothering me and that's how closed the internet art community is. No one wants to share their secrets, everyone is so worried about who's copying them. Everyone seems to think that they did it FIRST and anyone who does anything similar after them is therefore a copycat, or just an asshole. Sure, tracing someone's art and calling it your own isn't such a good idea, but does that mean nothing is learned from it? Why can't we learn from each other? Why can't we share our secrets with everyone in the hopes that new and better ways of crafting and creating will be invented? Nothing ever changed by hoarding knowledge!
I know a lot of this attitude comes from this: "I learned on my own so everyone else should have to learn on their own too! No one taught ME how to do this so why should I help anyone else out? What if they do it better and they steal ALL my customers/fans/friends/spaceships/etc...?"
We need to get over this kind of thinking! In Fine Arts one of the biggest topics is that nothing is new under the sun. The only way to be original is to do things from your perspective. No two people see things exactly the same, and sometimes you learn the most by taking an idea and changing it, making it better, expanding on it. It's about the evolution of ideas. How can ideas evolve if we don't talk about them? How will techniques improve if we don't discuss them? If no one knows how to do something then no one will be able to come up with new and innovative ideas.
I guess what I'm trying to encourage here is a more open market, a more open attitude, and more open communication between artisans and artists on the web. And not to sound preachy, or like I know everything, but the contemporary art world that artists like Tracey Emin, Mike Kelley, Annette Messager, David Altmejd (and other people you would see in prestigious galleries and curated museum shows) don't hoard ideas. They don't gaurd their art making processies like Cerberus guards the gates of Hell. They speak openly about how they work and think because that's what art IS! It's the process, it's the materials, it's the IDEA!
Also, those secrets you guard so jealously aren't really secrets. There are so many people in this world that eventually someone, or multiple someones, are going to invent the exact technique you invented without ever even knowing who you are or that you "thought of it first". It just doesn't work that way and it's silly to think that any idea is ever completely yours.
I am not advocating copying someone else's design verbatim. I'm not advocating tracing as anything but a learning tool. Creativity DOES exist, you can be creative and unique, but there are going to be people just as creative and unique as you. Just be yourself and you'll be golden. No one can ever be JUST like you. So don't be afraid to share! If someone rips you off, so what?! If someone does something similar to you, don't think that they're copying, be amazed at how intricate this world is and how we're all connected in some way. Be fascinated! Not angry or upset! Be happy!
Rant is over :D