alias_sqbr: (genius!)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
For owlmoose. I am feeling super tired, so this is just going to be some off the top of my head rambles. I am SURE I am going to realise some of this is wrong later. I start with some discussion of the difference between art and writing since I can't see any way not to.

So. The thing with original art is that the art world is SUPER WEIRD.


First lets consider respect, and who gets to be a Real Artist.

With writing you have hobbyists and semi-proffessional writers and proffesional writers and writers of Fine Literature and they're all doing pretty similar things. Quality and subject aside, amateur writing like fanfic is at heart pretty similar to published novels and informative blog posts are roughly similar to newspaper articles etc, and the basic act of writing down the words (as opposed to thinking of them) is pretty easy for most people, especially with word processors and spellcheck etc, and you can do it just as well with cheap pen and paper. The actual physical form your words take is fairly immaterial: you send the mauscript to a publisher, or put it into a blog engine or whatever, and then it gets replicated a bunch of times in different fonts and sizes etc. To be a Real Writer: (a) Are you getting paid (b)Has your work been accepted by some arbitrary gatekeeper like an editor (c) is it ORIGINAL?? Thus a writer of original but formulaic Harlequin romances is considered as much a Real Writer as the winner of the Booker Prize, while a fanfic writer isn't and a writer of spin-offs is borderline.

Art, meanwhile...on the one hand there's fanartists/illustrators/comic artists/graphic designers/others I can't think of, who are doing relatively similar styles of representative art, and then there's FINE ART which is TOTALLY DIFFERENT (except when it isn't).

Fanartists and illustrators etc tend to create literal representations of characters/situations and while there may some stylistic elements you can usually tell what it's a picture of. There's a lot of concentration on the craft, stuff like anatomy and colour theory, because it's pretty hard! Regardless of the subject and genre, it makes a huge difference if you chose to draw in pencils or paint in oils or make a sculpture, and being able to do one doesn't mean you can do another. It makes a difference what program/ tools you use and you have to worry about boring technical things like waiting for paint to dry. That said a talented artist can make something cool with pretty much any materials, even if it may end up a bit rough around the edges.

Illustrators tend to make most of their money illustrating other people's work: book covers, comics, ads etc, and in terms of Respect As An Artist while some distinction is made between these works and original works made in a similar style it's not a HUGE thing. People do care about credit and copyright infringement, but small runs of fanart are often tolerated. Talented fanartists often transition to becoming a paid illustrator/designer, and well known comic artists etc with social media presences often publicly post fanart. Illustrations and fanart are usually replicated many times on the net/in comics etc, and there is extra value to the originals of a traditional piece or physical objects like bookmarks or toys.

A "good artist" is someone whose art is aesthetically pleasing and good at representing what it's supposed to represent. Originality is not really an issue as long as you're not plagiarising an individual picture, though some people certainly get snooty about it. Being able to make money off your art definitely carries social status, and I would say that a fanartist who can sell their pictures gets more respect than someone making similar original art who can't.

Fine artists, on the other hand, have their own weird ideas about what makes for Good Art which I must admit I do not entirely understand. The ability to accurately render reality stopped being the main focus of fine art once photography took over that role in the 19th century, and the idea of originality was let go of with post modernism in the 1960s. ANYTHING can be art. It's ok to take a prexisting object and just give it a name, or come up with an idea and get your assistants to do all the actual creation. And there is LOTS of fine art which goes past being fanart into flat out plagiarism. Don't get me wrong, a lot of fine art requires HEAPS of technical skill, but these skills are considered secondary to the IDEAS. Also, with the odd exception, fine art is made of individual works which are worth much less when replicated.

See for example How a Science Fiction Book Cover Became a $5.7 Million Painting. Note that these are "unique" paintings copying heavily replicated book covers, and how it's justified in part by the amount of craft required to paint them so large.

Not only do fanartists not count as Real Artists by the metric of Fine Art, but neither do creators of original but prosaic comics art etc. Or we ALL count. Depending on who you ask.

There is a continuum, too: a tacky self indulgent painting of a naked woman on a dragon is considered less "proper art" than a landscape or portrait done by the same artist, even if the first is sold and the latter two are not. And "fanart" is taken more seriously if it can present itself as Serious Illustration of a Serious Work rather than, say, anime style shippiness.

So. That's respect. In terms of attention fanart beats original art every time, at least for an amateur like me. And my most successful original art has been super tropey pastiches which hit people's buttons (Dinosaurs! Steampunk! Dragons! Space!) a very fanart-like way. Furry porn is another very popular original medium but that's not really my thing :)

In terms of creating them, I find fanart much easier, because I find a lot of the design involved with original art really boring. I don't care a lot about costuming or colour choices and get stuck on "Should they be wearing a belt? Is their hair brown?" when I'd rather be worrying about expressions and poses and composition etc. But original art can be more satisfying, when I create soemthing that is EXACTLY what I want to see, even if noone else will really care much about it (and they generally don't). ...there was something else important I thought to add here just as I was falling asleep last night and now I can't remember it /o\

Part of me, deep down, definitely wants to be more of a Real Artist, which means doing Real Original Art I can sell for Real Money. Which I have actually done, on a very small scale, I make maybe $20 a month from tshirt sales and have sold art at conventions. I feel kind of bad for letting my self esteem be influenced by whether or not people want to buy my art/design but there it is! I have an ethical aversion to selling fanart of in-copyright-works which probably motivates me to make original art more than some other fanartists, but there's some Original Is Better snobbery in there too, even though I don't really believe that when I stop to think about it. I also feel an aversion to making art I don't actually like that I think is more likely to sell, which adds up to me being very unlikely to make any significant amount of money as an artist.

On the other hand, I think that when you find yourself avoiding certain types of art (or writing) because it's too hard, that's a sign you need to practice it more. So I force myself to do original art to keep my character design etc skills up to scratch, that way when I am overcome by the inspiration for something original I can actually do it. And I think that only doing fanart can become a lazy way of avoiding certain aspects of original art, though I think the same thing of only drawing, say, identical pictures of pretty girls in the same poses and background. But if you don't WANT to challenge yourself and are happy as you are then fair enough.

I could witter on about the KINDS of art I make for original vs fanart, but this is already pretty long :)

Date: 2014-01-14 04:16 am (UTC)
pedanther: Watercolour picture of a cheerful-looking duck (Default)
From: [personal profile] pedanther
One of my favourite stories about Marcel Duchamp and his "readymade" artworks (the ones you mentioned that consisted of taking an existing object and presenting it) involves a piece he did called "L.H.O.O.Q.".

"L.H.O.O.Q." was technically 'rectified readymade', meaning that Duchamp did alter the object slightly before pronouncing it an artwork. It was a cheap reproduction of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and beard drawn on in pencil.

He followed this up with a piece called "L.H.O.O.Q. Shaved", which was a cheap reproduction of the Mona Lisa without a moustache and beard drawn on.

Date: 2014-01-14 03:27 pm (UTC)
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
From: [personal profile] lea_hazel
Real Art is definitely mystifying to most.

Date: 2014-01-14 09:00 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen: Stone egg on moss: "Art is Life, Life is Art" (art)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
I also feel an aversion to making art I don't actually like that I think is more likely to sell, which adds up to me being very unlikely to make any significant amount of money as an artist.

Good for you.

The thing with original art is that the art world is SUPER WEIRD.

It strikes me that the Art World is as out-of-touch and narcissistic as the Fashion World and the LitFic World. They all produce things which are ugly and boring, and they spend their time being pretentious and snobby about everyone who is outside the Club - that is, everyone who creates things that the peasants normal everyday people actually enjoy.

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