^^^^^ I wonder what my record is for how many days I've gone WITHOUT having one of these.
I went to bed really early last night because I didn't get enough sleep the night before. I'm talking "in bed by 8pm" because I was so exhausted. But as I have become accustom to I didn't fall asleep for hours after that. I almost drifted off at 10, but was violently awakened by a hallway ruckus at 12 sharp. T'is the dorm life.
Anyway, as I was waiting for sleep to take me my mind began to wonder and I had a sudden epiphany. Why do I make art? Why does anyone make art? it sounds like an easy enough question to answer, right? We make art because we find it fun. We like to create something complex from simple tools, we like to use soft colors and sharp lines, intrinsic patterns and simple strokes of the brush. Some people make art for profit, like animation or illustrators. It is their career, and that's a fair enough argument. Some people make art to educate, to challenge what we think or to make a statement. Political cartoons or those very insightful pieces of graffiti you see can be good examples.
These are all good answers, and they may be explanation enough for some, but I don't consider myself insightful enough to make thought-provoking art, nor do I want to do it for a living, and it's fun, but if I only did it for fun then I would make art a lot less frequently than I do because honestly I don't make a lot of art that often to begin with. So what was my reason? Why do I make art?
The next thing I thought last night was a question that was as follows; "Where would I be art-wise if DeviantART didn't exist?"
Ask yourself this question; "How many art websites can you name?" I can't think of that many to be honest. DeviantART, FurAffinity, Pixiv, Newgrounds and ConceptArt are the only ones that come to mind for me. (Tumblr too, but tumblr's primary function is not "art community" unlike these).
Now, even though I've only ever used deviantart I asked myself; "Would I be making art today if none of these communities existed?" And in that moment I realized that, no. I probably would not. Why? Because I would have no one to show it to, so there would be little point in making something in the first place.
It was a stunning revelation to have about myself at half past way-too-late-to-be-conscious at night for me. I've always known deep down that I'm a bit of a show off, and I'll readily tell anyone I am pretentious as fuck, but I am not the kind of person who will sing their own praises at all hours of the day. I also know it's perfectly acceptable to love your own work and be proud of your own art. Yet the ultimate question had reared its ugly head. "Do I really only make art for other people's attention and praise?"
I thought about it a long time. I am still thinking about it now and I will probably think about it some more tomorrow. But no matter what I try to convince myself of the answer is always yes. If I didn't have deviantart or any of the art websites out there, why would I make art? I guess it's innocent enough just to want to share it, but you can do that with friends and family. Why instead to I want to share it with the world if not for recognition and fame?
Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. I'm no different and I am not ashamed to admit I've always wanted to be popular. I can trace this desire as far back as 2004 when I first joined Neopets (I wanted to be popular for art and comics there as well). I'm also well aware that doing anything just for fame and fortune instead of passion is a quick way to make your life miserable. And yet I'm still here.
Seriously, though. If I didn't have deviantart I wouldn't have finished my first attempt at a novel, and I wouldn't be trying to make a comic now. In fact, I look at my art and wonder "How much of this would I have made if I didn't have an audience? WHAT wouldn't I have made if I didn't have an audience? How much art have I truly honestly made because I wanted to and for no other reason?"
Do you tell jokes to make people laugh or to make people think you're funny? I'm I making this journal to make people think I'm insightful or because I actually have something to say? Would a tree in the forest even bother to fall if no one was around to question if it made a sound? Am I even using these analogies right?
There are two sides to every coin and it's easy to forget that. I'm sure there are many other artists out there that create for attention like I do, thinking only of themselves and not of their audience like me. But just because they may not have the best intentions at heart doesn't mean they effect others in unintentional ways.
For example, if it wasn't for art communities I would never have known how skilled, or how talented, or how utterly creative some people can be. Every day I see something that inspires me, some thing that makes me want to learn how to do it too because it's just. so. cool. It's an amazing feeling of wonder and I wonder how many people I've been able to inflict it upon with what I've made. (and yet this wonder just feeds right back into my desire to be popular, arguably enough).
The only down side to all this inspiration (for me anyway) is that it inevitably leads into envy. "why can't I be as good or as popular as them? Why doesn't my art get attention or praise like that?" I've discussed this mind set before in previous journals, so I won't drag it out here, but again, it just exposes my underlying thoughts and feelings on how I perceive the purpose of making art at all for any reason.
Will I ever grow out of these mindsets? Will I ever learn to make art for art's sake and not for fame? I doubt it. Not completely, anyway. I'll probably learn to how to make art for fun and practice and get better for personal gratification eventually, but the desire to be admired will always be deep within me. And who knows. Maybe a little bit of that want in me will be good to keep me motivated to never stop learning and never stop creating. Maybe it's not as bad or as selfish as I make it out to be at 1am. But that's a crisis to worry over for another night.
TL;DR: I guess I know it's okay for me to want my art to get exposure and attention, but if that's the ONLY reason I'm doing it, then aren't I doing something wrong?
15 out of 52 weeks completed
Listening to: Homestuck Radio
Playing: Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days