Ho fellow wannabe space travellers! As usual this post is brought to you by habitual tardiness and a sense of obligation after a spell of not-quite absence from me. It's been the usual fun life, overcoming each slightly challenging event at a time. So far in the last week
alone, I've managed to break my big toe, had a major plumbing emergency involving backed up waste (primarily it's sudden decision to no longer be imprisoned in it's tomb of pipe, instead liberating itself. Throughout my garden. Bleugh), had renovations finished and scaffolding finally removed from right outside my office window, and somehow found time to squeeze in a small mental breakdown (I kid...sorta.). It's a constant struggle for me to maintain confidence in my work and I won't lie, just lately I've been having some pretty low moods about what I'm doing (or not doing) and where I'm headed. I know many of us creative types have a tendency to ruminate and that I'm by no means the only one, so I won't harp on about it. Let's just say that lately I feel like I should literally tattoo "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" on my chest, then just lift my shirt and bare it at people stony faced whenever someone quizzes me on deadlines, commitments, or the future in general. It has very much become my mantra in 2015. So elaborations on my constantly elevated stress levels aside, let's move on to address a couple of other things, shall we?
DA: The Rise and Fall of Community as Result of Aggressive Capitalism and Social Climate Shift
...Is probably how I would title a fictional dissertation (thesis, whatever term you bloody want...) about our once thriving art site. The way I see it, DA has several issues right now. I'm not gonna go overboard on the analysis, as I suspect those of you with the perseverance and wit to read through the whole of even one of my shorter journals already have a pretty good idea of what's behind the decline we're seeing in exposure of artwork and feedback on posts yourselves, but I'll talk in brief about a few points (as brief as I can ever manage anyway). Obviously foremost is the emergence of Twitter and Instagram and other instantaneous social platforms; their fast paced 'feed' nature aligns itself perfectly in a world where we can see any event covered on the news from multitude of camera shots, opinions and perspectives on TV. But there are deeper issues than other sites becoming more popular for their simplicity.
Improper practices in regards of art employment, such as far below working wage commission pricing, are born
here. The DA forums (which I choose to not actively engage with) are full of people whoring their skills for mere cents (or pennies for my fellow Brits and Penny Dreadful fans), perpetuating the attitude that's so damaging to the industry as a whole as a result of an exploitative attitude that has been allowed to flourish. Whilst I would advise those artists to hold off on taking commissions until their ability is such that they can proudly stand their ground on fair pricing, it's hardly likely to happen when so many others (particularly the younger among us, sorry kids) will fulfil that demand for cheap, cheap art with a smile on their face and feel somehow grateful for the opportunity to be a willing slave to those lacking the creative spark, whose skill set is rather more geared to the shameless exploitation of those who do possess such traits.
Also I feel a sense of change in the community here, something that's been noted by other artists I know as well as myself. While there's still a bunch of cool people here on DA (like you. Yes, you, reading this), there seems to be a growing trend of disrespectfulness. How so many people who want to create art, or gain enjoyment from the art of others, can still think there on no limits on stealing, tracing, claiming other's work as their own, et cetera, is utterly beyond my comprehension. Sad as it is, there are only a few places (dark, dark corners of the internet) that are worse in this regard than DA.
Earlier this year there was an incident with a very well known and popular artist being called out for tracing and plagiarism of the work of lesser known artists, photographers and even publications (with thorough evidence to support the claims) Some of you may know that to which I refer. The social climate here on DA is such that an overwhelming amount of their many fans here were hot-bloodedly defending and excusing their actions (with vitriol, I might add). There was verbal assault from both sides of the argument, the normal
unthinking internet bile we see every day sadly. My feelings are that there needn't even be an argument. It should never be acceptable or excusable to steal from others. Tracing or copying the work of others, be it art, photography or anything else someone created, IS stealing and utterly unacceptable, barring a few caveats.
. The exception to the rule is study; when learning, almost every artist I know learned most by emulating their favourite artists, whether it be master's studies, inking on someone's pencils, or literally copying someone's style for exploration, to learn and diversify. That's fine, but
: you cannot claim it as your own original work, you should seek permission before posting it online, give credit to the original creator if you do post it and most of all, should never, ever make money from such works, least of all at a professional level
What is alarming to me is how many people seemed to completely fail to grasp the severity of the accusations at all. Either through fanboyism, or more likely through a lacking comprehension of rightful usage and copyright, of what the term derivative actually means and at what level it is or isn't acceptable. I saw comments accusing others of the same thing because they've created fan art, which makes me worry we have a whole generation of potential artists who assumed all fan art was just copied or traced, failing to understand the difference between original art compositions and copying. (Use of an established IP is a slightly different, complex beast, with many unofficial non legally recognised accepted practices. So I'll leave that alone for now!)
As a result of all this, many of those young fledgling artist fans of theirs will get the message that it's okay to take/use whatever isn't yours for your own success. That artists should be grateful for earning peanuts to provide a service others cannot. Which brings me full circle. Ask yourself; is this an environment conducive to encouraging a culture of respect, both between peers and potential employers of artists? As one of the web's biggest and most established art oriented sites, surely the responsibility for encouraging and educating each generation with such a mentality falls squarely at the feet of DA to punish or exclude those serial offenders without prompt. To help educate each new member on what is considered acceptable conduct, and what copyright actually means. The absence of this community mentality is driving away professional artists in their droves, and makes the journey from beginner all the harder with each passing generation for those relying on exposure through DA. Whilst success to many of us means people enjoying our art so much they would happily pay cold hard cash to own it, commission you for it and whatever else, life in the real world of employment isn't going to be pretty on less than a dollar/pound/euro per hour, trust me! That won't even get you out of the starting gate in today's world if you live in a country like the UK, where most young people today will never
own their own home! Without these changes, like so many others, I'm spending less and less time here compared to Twitter and Instagram- despite my best efforts to breath life into my little corner of DA.
Which leads me to:
RIP: A Gaggle of Favs
As a result of the decline in interest round here, I'm canning the ever so brief monthly feature.😭 C'mon now, hush my pretty, dry your tears. I know, I know... As I said when I started, it was a trial run. But ultimately it just doesn't seem to be of interest to that many people. *puts on old southern man voice* Time was, people'd wanna see art features 'n' suchlike, but t'ain't the way things're done no more boy! *spits in bucket* Ahem, sorry. As I'm a pretty busy boy trying to get to a point where I can just be busy making art all of the time, doing these kinda things is pretty time consuming. It's hard enough for me to juggle all I need to do to eat, whilst maintaining belief in my own skills and abilities, as it is. If it only gets the featured art a few views per piece, it really isn't hugely beneficial to those artists, and just doesn't justify my time. So on that note, we bid farewell to The Gaggle of Favs Monthly journal. *Ceremoniously places onto a pyre before burning indiscriminately with a flamethrower.*
Finally, I'm on Instagram!
So despite the fact that I've been having a tough time keeping mentally on track with my art ambitions of late, I've joined up at Instagram to try and encourage me to post sketches and scraps more regularly. I sometimes throw some in status updates on my DA, but I'm pretty certain very few people ever see them as evidenced by the poll I did a while back that suggests nobody uses the bloody watch feed at all! So if you're an Instagrammer, feel free to hit me up over there: instagram.com/ezjedi/
or just add me using my username, ezjedi.
It'd be nice to have some more of my DA friends on my feed!
Okey dokey then you crazy kids, I guess I better zip my lip and wrap this up! For those that read this far, thanks for your constant support, love you all, big kisses!xxx 😘
ps, yay for SCOTUS equality ruling! About time too! ✌️