Disclaimer: I am sincerely sorry if this comes off sounding like “fantasy artists are selfish and useless” – that is not my intent, it’s just that I often feel this way about my own desires because I worry I’m spending too much time focused on ‘reaching the top’ of this industry for purely self-serving purposes, and while I discuss this with my friends sometimes (friends who are impressed by my ‘talent’, but who themselves possess skills and education that I find much more useful to society), I’d love the perspective of other artists. I know it’s human nature to look out for one’s own interests above all else, and I certainly don’t mean to say that everyone needs to join the Peace Corps or anything, but I do wonder if anyone else besides myself has grappled with this quandary, and if so, what were your conclusions?
It is super cool to look at. It’s fun to make, and to think of new ideas. It potentially pays the bills because it is a necessary tool in the extremely lucrative entertainment industry.
But what is its true value?
Fine artists and political cartoonists often at least create work that makes us think about the world we live in/our human nature/etc., and therefore potentially initiates the motivation for positive change. Scientific and mechanical illustrators aid in the understanding and teaching in fields of knowledge that are applicable to our real world problems. But, as much as I love drawing mermaids and monsters and far away places that only exist in my mind, all I’m really doing is indulging in a fantasy that my peers can afford to enjoy because we live in a first world country.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t love art – and that I had the patience to become a doctor or environmental scientist or something. Anyone see the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”? Remember when they were converting those buses to survival/battle tanks? And all that the one red-head chick did was paint teeth on the outside of the vehicles? Whenever I see that, I think “she’s so useless! But… so am I – that would be my only contributable skill in that situation as well!”
Also, maybe if I didn’t love drawing so much, and didn’t want to fulfill my dreams of creating entertainment for others to purchase, I would go off to Africa and help save the dying children or something.
Fantasy and sci-fi art is a passion for many of us. Should we only use it as a means for income, and simply turn what little free time we have to the soul-satisfying work of volunteering and charity? If we are leaving the world-saving to the scientists, doctors and mechanics, then what purpose is our societal contribution other than to distract the masses from the problems we need to be focusing on as a whole if we want to make real change?
p.s. I'm sure in the many years that this site has been up, a similar discussion has occured, but if something more recent has been posted that I am simply too shortsighted to notice, then I'm sorry for the repetition, and I'd appreciate a link.