The World Doesn’t Care About Your Art
“But, that doesn’t mean you should stop creating.”
I care too much about what others think of my work. A perfectionist at the core, I place an intense amount of pressure on myself to create what I consider to be “good work.” I have an appetite for impatience, wanting things to happen in an instant and even when I achieve results, I find myself slightly dissatisfied.
I recently heard a thoughtful comparison to creating art in relation to the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. As a painter, his masterpieces took him years to create and finish —the Mona Lisa took four years to create and he even kept the painting to himself in secret for years after — his artworks were true labors of love, made with specific intention and meticulousness. Back in his time, art wasn’t a necessity to society — but rather a form of expression and passion for creative minds. He didn’t create it because he thought people would swoon over his work, he created it out of love for the craft.
In today’s artistic landscape, we could take a few notes from the mindset of Leonardo Da Vinci. In our age of content overload, does creating art for the sake of art still exist? Or are we creating in order to stay relevant, fresh and available to the eyes of our peers?
Art Isn’t a Mass Commodity
I frequently wonder about how much content I consume on a daily basis. I would consider myself a mild user of online spaces — with a profile on a few social networks, a consistent stream of email chains and active on platforms for publishing — I’d calculate that I ingest a decent amount of visual and written work.
In the space of online media, it’s apparent that the amount of content produced has led us into a world of sameness. Every day I see images or read headlines that tend to feel all to familiar. Haven’t I seen that image before or already read an article on this? So, maybe it’s not an argument of how much content is produced, but rather why we have shifted into a period of producing pieces of work and art that scream blatant repetition.
In case you can’t remember, there was a world before technology existed. Where photographers had to print their work and show it in person to interested clients and writers caught breaking stories, drafted them on their typewriter and brought them to the printer for the publication’s hard copy. Although you can argue that technology has simply made the process easier, it comes with the ramifications of heightened urgency.
We want our content as soon as yesterday. Yet, this never ending wheel of content creation is the catalyst to the repetitiveness. For some reason, we feel a need to be pushing out virtually every day for fear of being left behind, being an artist placed on the back burner.
Art was never meant to be a mass commodity. Creative works whether in photographic, physical and written forms were meant to be crafted with thoughtfulness, intellect and over a period of time. In fact, doesn’t a work of art lose its value when it’s readily available and no longer a rare, distinct piece? Imagine if we could all own the Mona Lisa in our homes, would we still find it to be worthy of admiration?
With the technological advances that have developed in the last few decades, the art world has shifted into a place of desensitization. With an aggressive increase in exposure, it can be difficult to find a creative work that triggers true emotion and a sense of originality. And with such a vast compilation of work that we’ve seen a few too many times before, there comes a hard truth — the world doesn’t care about your art.
You Still Have to Create
I’m just as culpable as the next artist, creating works in both visual and written spaces that suffer from this plague of sameness. And more times than none, I look at my portfolio and think “No one really cares about what I’m putting out into the world. I bet my mom is the only one who looks and reads my work.” And maybe, this is true.
But, even in a world where everything has begun to blend together — you still have to create. It may be true that there are no more original ideas left, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to push this notion and find a unique perspective.
As a collective, humankind may just be becoming more apathetic. We may just care less about everything exterior to our own endeavors and as a general whole, be less impressed by the content we are exposed to. And even though this may feel detrimental, we need to try to view this as a side effect of technological change, not a permanent setback.
If you start with the mindset that no one cares whether or not you create your art, then you won’t produce based on someone else’s opinion or feedback. You will create solely for yourself. In a world where artistic recognition has been translated to followers and social media popularity — it’s important to remember that your art matters.
Whether you produce for yourself, for your mom, for a few friends or even for a dedicated base of loyal followers — what you create is worthy of sharing. Take a note from Leonardo Da Vinci and grind on your creations in silence, invest the time and produce art that speaks to your skill set. Ignore the noise that urges you to produce in massive quantities just to satisfy the madness of a socially impatient generation. Forget about likes, comments or shares and focus on the quality of your work.
Create images you are passionate about, write that jarring essay — realize that desensitization and apathy are bi-products of a machine and not by the true essence of humanity. The world may not care about your art, but you do — and that is more than enough.