Malaise

I've noticed more and more a frustration in the art blogosphere. Maybe it's just the aftermath of big ol' events like Art & Soul, where you're flooded with the sight of other people's art. Maybe it's the profusion of art blogs (guilty, mostly) that cram even more art input into your brain than usual.

Maybe it's the rush to put together art in time for people to buy holiday gifts. Maybe it's just the damn holidays themselves.

But there's this continual, insistent thread that says, "Get your own damn art! Find your style and stop trying to bite mine already!"

Sometimes it's pretty literal. Sometimes it's a little more indirect. I was going to link to a couple of rants in particular, but I changed my mind. I don't want to make anyone feel like they're being watched through their studio windows.

Nonetheless, there's been quite the hullabaloo at the A&S Yahoo! group recently, for example. People have been discussing the use of photography during class, especially to take "notes." The kind of photos that could end up as the basis for someone else's "original" class.

Jaysus, you'd think posters would say to themselves, "hey, someone's already said pretty much what I've said. I'm going to keep silent." Oh no. Not really. Which leads to this: A couple of people seemed on the verge of lynching one particular artist because her artwork seemed too similar to that of Nina Bagley for it to be mere coincidence.

And it makes me a little nervous too, because I do have an artistic point of view... I do things a little differently from the next artist... but I can feel myself Looking For the Next Big Thing, too. There are wings on all sorts of pieces I've made. Shoot, just look at this. (But I had to use them! They're so pretty, and I'm just trying to stop hoarding my Good Stuff!) I'm just not at the point where you could blindfold yourself and still pick out my stuff from everyone else's. I know I have my thing, but it's not yet my THING.

It looks like we're all suffering a bit from Too Much Information, even the good kind. The studenty types are ravenous for more of anything from the instructory types -- more posts -- more online gallery pics -- more class samples -- more projects more more more. I think the professionals are feeling like they're being eaten alive. The scene is eating itself, and not in a good way.

And the same zines/magazines much of us read -- or are featured in, you-know-who-you-are -- feed the mania. I used to write for a teeny weeny trade magazine (totally different industry) and then for TV. These days, all sorts of media, from TV to magazines to online publications, spend much of their time repurposing stuff. It's not labeled that way, but that's what you're seeing. And it's possible, in this milieu, because so many people are creating so much that there's a niche for every last piece, it seems. And we devour it. So another Special Publication comes out. And another.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to interfere with anyone's livelihood. But I wouldn't be surprised if we see a slowdown in some of the more informal artistic output, like blog posts (or maybe we'll see posts that are more about The Part of Life that Gets in the Way of Art).

Maybe, just for the sake of sanity, maybe we need to keep some stuff secret for a while.

UPDATE: The lovely and insightful new reader Kelly made some interesting comments on this phenomenon. Go see how clever she is.
Posted on November 5, 2007 and filed under "deep thoughts".