Five painters

paintersYou’ve got five painters in the same room, painting the same object. If all five of them employ the same style (or manner) when painting that object, almost always at least four of them are doing something wrong.

At least two of them would much rather paint something else, and of those two at least one would use the same style and technique as before.

Also, at least one of them would like to paint the same object, but in a different style.

What I’m trying to say is that there are only two requirements when making art: one is to be passionate about your subject matter, and the other one is to do it exactly how you feel like it.

It’s easier said than done, especially in the world of professional artists, when your survival depends on whether other people buy your stuff. But it’s also funny, because commercial art doesn’t mean you’ve got a bunch of artists all doing things the vast majority of people like just because they want a ton of money.

No, commercial art has to do with a lot of people connecting to the message, to the main themes, to the style and technique employed, and so on.

Art is never truly bad or good. It’s all just a matter of perspective.

But I have this to ask you: if you don’t feel strongly about what the vast majority of people feel strongly about, then how do you intend on connecting with that audience?

The same way you can’t force yourself to love another, you can’t really force yourself to write about vampires and fairies if you were never fascinated with the legends and lore in the first place. If there’s nothing for you to find, then you shouldn’t even be searching.

Also, if you have nothing to say, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

You see, almost always great art divides people: you either hate it or love it. And you either agree or disagree. That’s why there aren’t many three star reviews on Amazon. If it’s so and so, and you didn’t really care about what the book was about, odds are you won’t really bother to review the damn thing either. Or tell your friends about it.

But this really stupid book, and this offensive writer, and the nerve this guy had to write about those sort of things…

You get the picture.

One more thing: you have five paintings. Same object, same style. People will always pick the one where the artist painted what he wanted, the way he wanted. Always. Maybe because on a mere subconscious level they can feel that, maybe it’s magic, I don’t know…

The other four paintings, they’re not really worth much.

Let me tell you a secret. I’m not a really good writer, and I’m okay with that. What I do have is this ability to dissect my emotions and feelings, and write about my deepest secrets, about what terrifies me, about what I hate. I write about all that, and people either love it or hate it.


12 thoughts on “Five painters

  1. That last paragraph really touches something in me. It makes me realize that I am still too scared to dig deep and share myself. So my posts are all at the surface. Great post in general, but those last thoughts are really kick-ass!

  2. i’m not a really good writer but i have a point of view and i know good writing when I see it. I have always been a really good reader. You are a good writer and you should not say you aren’t.

  3. Bravo! The truth. I’m not a great writer either. Or a great photographer. But I have passion and love for what I do and say. Like it or don’t like it. As long as I do that’s all that matters.

  4. I like where you’re coming from. I think it can be hard for some people to appeal to a broader audience while remaining true to what it is that they want to paint, write about, etc.

  5. “I’m not a really good writer, and I’m okay with that. What I do have is this ability to dissect my emotions and feelings, and write about my deepest secrets, about what terrifies me, about what I hate.”

    Now one could counter that the ability to put your deepest secrets and fears into words is the definition of good writing.

    Consider H.P. Lovecraft. His characterization and dialogue were laughably bad, but his ability to construct terrifying scenarios and concepts made him a giant among fantasy and horror writers.

    Bottom line: We can’t be good at every aspect of life, or even good at every aspect of our chosen craft, but we can focus on what we love and make the most of what we have.

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