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  1. #1
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    Mediocre artists' whine drives potentially talented ppl away from entering industry

    Dear CA.org, throughout the 2000s, for me this was the place to go if I wanted to see talented illustrators at work. In the last 10 years or so, with the advent of social media, a lot of people took their art to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc., allowing people to subscribe to either their individual or group pages and follow their posts. In some of these online groups, therefore, I have come to repeatedly observe an interesting phenomenon: mediocre artists complaining about the dire economic situation they’re in, blaming the industry itself for it, or the “age we live in,” possibly even the prevailing philistine tastes of consumers and what not. Now, don’t get me wrong, working hard and striving to become better at something you do is a great thing. But, don’t go bitching about the climate, or people in the industry if you can’t offer something people will actually pay for. I’ve usually come across these attitudes in the communities of comic artists, but they weren’t limited just to them. In 9 out of 10 cases, if I were to click on such disgruntled artist’s gallery of works, I’d scarcely find material one could sell for a living. However, it’s never their fault, it’s always someone else’s, the publisher’s, the industry’s, the economy’s, etc. This kind of attitude paints a distorted picture of the job, the industry, the market, or about what it’s like being an artist. This distorted view may dispel potentially talented people from stepping to the fore and contributing and enriching the offer, thus inevitably perpetuating the mediocrity.
    Last edited by miljenko; October 26th, 2017 at 03:12 AM.
    I am glad that I can say that I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't swear.

    Shit, I do drink and smoke.

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  3. #2
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    This just in - people complain about external elements hindering them from getting paid, but don't adequately enough acknowledge - for some - self limitations. News at 11.

    Have you got a number on the potentially talented folk that do not enter the industry?
    Is your solution to have everyone shut up and not grouse so as to capture this mythical talented, but not joining, group?
    Perhaps have a brute squad breaking fingers of those mediocre people who keep ramming their heads into the wall to actively discourage them from entering the industry?

    Last edited by modi123; October 25th, 2017 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Increase humor quotient by 10%
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  5. #3
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    Are you saying it's actually not as hard to make it work as people say it is if you're a skilled artist? Sounds obvious really, but serious question.

  6. #4
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    Well, I guess people like to blame external factors in every area of life, not just jobs and especially not just the art world. Maybe our current cultural climate, where everyone is always the victim of something or other and where every hardship a person encounters is always a "systemic problem" contributes to this.

    However I think social media and what it entails truly changed things for a lot of artists. I have no idea how hard or not-quite-as-hard it is for a good artist to make a living, I'm not an artist myself, I can barely hold a pencil. But I can imagine that in a day and age before social media most people in art-related jobs learned how to build their portfolios and made their connections in art/design academy or something similar. In my country, which I think was always more focused on fine art than concept art, comics or animation, afaik the name of the artist who's master class you attended got you into galleries, magazines etc., which was important to make a living. So in a way the fact that you got admitted to art academy and learned from a well-known artist acted as quality control. Nowadays I believe art has become a lot more "democratic" because everyone can display what they do on instagram, deviantart etc. and sell stuff directly. So it doesn't matter if some art teacher thinks you are good or not or often not even if a publisher approves or not, it only matters if anyone buys your stuff. That way maybe a lot of people try to survive in the art market that wouldn't even have gotten that far before social media. Maybe they wouldn't have been admitted to art academy, maybe they wouldn't have found galleries or something like that. But they might not have been in a position to complain about the hardships of making art for a living, because that wouldn't even have been an option for them.

    On the other hand social media by definition allows other factors to matter apart from the art. I've seen people with imho not that amazing skills make a nice living, because they are funny, interact with their followers/fans, they post tutorials or videos or just share their creative process, they participate in the community etc. That's not exactly what I would call core qualities of an artist, but the whole package is something people like, so they buy art from this person and that's okay. Apparently there is demand for this social package, so people buy it. However it might create a false image for others that try to do the same with their own not-so-stellar art, but fail to do so. Maybe they are not as pretty as the more successful person or not as approachable, funny, interesting, whatever - in the end something is missing, however they just compare their similar art and don't understand what's the problem. So they complain about the system.

    On the other hand due to this apparently wanted or even expected social factor some great artists might have difficulty getting recognised because they don't know how to play the social media game, they just sell art and not entertainment or companionship or the "artist lifestyle".

    Of course I'm mostly talking about freelance artists, I don't know how much, if any, impact social media and online presence/self representation has for people working for animation or gaming companies.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCowan View Post
    Are you saying it's actually not as hard to make it work as people say it is if you're a skilled artist? Sounds obvious really, but serious question.
    Well if you have something to bring to the table, I'd say you have a better chance at it. But my point is that it's usually the people that have nothing to begin with generate most of these complaints. The good ones never seem to complain, and who knows, it could be that they're busy working.
    I am glad that I can say that I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't swear.

    Shit, I do drink and smoke.

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  8. #6
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    I think you totally nailed it. Most of these people wouldn't even have the opportunity to be seen, or to voice their opinions, had there not been for this democratic platform you mention. They'd be doing something else, invading Poland, if you get the historical reference, etc. But now, they have a shot at it, they fail, and then use this same platform to point fingers at everything but their own lacking contribution. And, as you said, making a living out of it is hard as it is, and requires variety of skills - professional, social, business etc. - but if you really have nothing to bring to the table, you cannot really expect people would be throwing money at you. The possibly detrimental consequence of this is that some talented kids, who perhaps would be able to make it, and really enrich the scene, may feel disheartened by it. And as I said, it's always the mediocre ones who fill the feeds with their complaints and passive-aggressive memes about people not throwing all their money at them.
    I am glad that I can say that I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't swear.

    Shit, I do drink and smoke.

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miljenkosimic/
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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by miljenko View Post
    The possibly detrimental consequence of this is that some talented kids, who perhaps would be able to make it, and really enrich the scene, may feel disheartened by it.
    You are right. Young people lack knowledge and experience and can therefore be easily mislead. I think that some talented young artists may feel discouraged by the things you mentioned, and also by the whole social media aspect.

    If I was starting out as an artist today, I would probably think that strong social media presence is important. To me that would be discouraging, because instead of focusing on my artwork I would have to build my social media presence. To have many followers/friends/likes on different sites requires a lot of time and effort doing something I wouldn't like. The quality of my artwork would suffer because there would be less time to focus on it. Eventually, maybe I would think that I'm not good enough to be an artist. But if I focused 99% of my time on my artwork and 1% on social media then my artwork would be much better and probably good enough to make a living. So it's easy to make critical mistakes when you lack experience or proper guidance.

    MadameD, well put indeed. You are a perceptive person.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dm3da View Post
    If I was starting out as an artist today, I would probably think that strong social media presence is important. To me that would be discouraging, because instead of focusing on my artwork I would have to build my social media presence. To have many followers/friends/likes on different sites requires a lot of time and effort doing something I wouldn't like. The quality of my artwork would suffer because there would be less time to focus on it. Eventually, maybe I would think that I'm not good enough to be an artist. But if I focused 99% of my time on my artwork and 1% on social media then my artwork would be much better and probably good enough to make a living. So it's easy to make critical mistakes when you lack experience or proper guidance.
    Quantity over quality, I'm pretty young but I agree 100% with your post. Online you'll see more bad art than good art, it's horrible because some of these guys even have their own YouTube channels and "teaching" people. Nowadays everyone with a drawing tablet calls himself a "pro". I really believe that all this high tech crap makes people lazy.

    The amount of followers on social media isn't equal to your level of skill. There are many bad artists on YouTube, they have a lot of followers. There is one artist who does tutorials, but he makes a lot of anatomy mistakes, still he has a lot of followers who try to learn from him and probably make the same mistakes as he does.

  11. #9
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    I'm only blaming myself for my lack of progress. I don't work hard enough. I'm a lazy slob. Anyway. To get to the topic: What is the situation of the market? (I don't know the answer to that question) It's a question of supply and demand. If there's too little demand for art, and too many artists push onto the market, then of course only the best can get paid jobs - or those with the most aggressive marketing.

  12. #10
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    The art market, especially in concept design and illustration, is both small by comparison to other career fields (law, medicine, IT etc.) and extremely saturated with young, highly motivated, very competent potential employees (see the general level at websites like artstation, for example) who can work remotely from anywhere in the world. Making a sustainable living in those fields is substantially harder now than it ever was. That is just a fact. It's no good sugarcoating it, so I'd rather have a few mediocre starving artists too many venting about this on social media than too few. Anyone who gets into this field should have at least an inkling of what it is like and what the chances are of actually "making it".


    E/ and may I add: by definition, most of us here are "mediocre". Not everyone can be exceptional. So I wouldn't be so quick to deride others for not earning a sustainable living in this field, espevially if youre not a professional yourself.

    E/ bloody autocorrect is killing me here...
    Last edited by Benedikt; October 28th, 2017 at 04:57 PM.

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