Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I haven't blogged in ages because I have a lot on my mind that doesn't seem relevant to blog about (spiralling cost of living anyone? Cost of petrol? Will I be able to pay my bills and rent this month? You know, that sort of stuff, which frankly can blot out every other thought... at least I am in the UK and not Greece right now, I don't know how they cope at all!)... but I thought it might take a minute to talk about the craft scene here in the virtual world.

I love making things, I really enjoy it. I spend most days working as a designer and illustrator so this might seem like a busman's holiday but the stuff I make as Freaky Little Things is only to please me. There is no client to please, no brief to meet. I try to be as creative as possible and get my ideas from TV, films, magazine, a stroll in the country and afternoon at the beach... it all kind of melds together in my head and comes out in my work as something fresh, I hope ;o) If there is any one thing that they "teach" you at art college it's that you need to take the whole world in and bring forth something new or at least something with a new twist. Every creative person I have ever met is the same.

The internet has done a curious thing though, while the world is at our fingertips to provide inspiration there is also this dangerous accessibility for those who have never had an inspired or original thought in their head. Those people who insist on calling themselves artists and yet when they wake up in the morning and think "I will create something today" they then go and switch on the laptop and look at someone else's work and think "I will create that". Errrrrr, it has already been "created" by the person who's work you are browsing, the act of creation has already happened, what you are doing is called COPYING!

It drives me nuts, as you might have gathered. If you are making outfits for BJDs and want inspiration, instead of looking up the work of Val Zeitler or Connie Lowe on the internet, maybe go look at a fashion magazine or at an old book, go to a gallery, hell, go anywhere because inspiration can strike in the unlikeliest of places... if you let it! Sit browsing the internet and looking up the work of those who already make art dolls, say Colleen Downs of Loopy Boopy for instance, you will end up making dolls that look just like Loopy Boopy's!

I said the internet has done a dangerous thing and I meant it. Eventually there will be no point in being creative or interesting because you know your work will immediately be stolen as soon as you post a pic on the web. There will be no point opening a shop on etsy if the next week two dozen more shops selling exactly what you make pop up. There will be ever less creative artists out there and the copycats will have less and less to base their work on until the whole thing grinds to a halt.

If you think I am exaggerating type the word "Art Doll" into etsy under "handmade". If you had done that only 3 years ago you would have found a small band of doll makers who all had quite distinctive looks to their work, it was easy to tell their dolls apart. Do that search today and you will find hundreds of them, but where is the variety? So many people making dolls - but where is the art?


C said...

Very well said, Yve! It's great to be *inspired* by many things but I can't see the satisfaction in copying at all. Apart from the fact that there would be no pleasure in producing something that doesn't come from within me, something I couldn't feel some glimmer of pride in creating, I would just feel like I've cheated myself as well as everybody else. I sometimes feel like I almost don't even want to look at other children's book illustration for fear of inadvertently finding I get too influenced by it - of course I do look, and need to be immersed in it as a genre, but it's a very distinct line between being inspired and learning from something someone else has done and simply replicating it with no original thought or approach.
Anyway - great post!

Yve said...

Thanks C :o) I know what you mean about almost not wanting to look incase you inadvertently import something into your own work. We all share influences and accents though, jumbled up with our own take on things.

I'm with you on thinking those who copy just cheat themselves in the end!

BlackCrow said...

Great post Yve!..same things happening here the price of living just keeps getting higher and nobody is spending any money, well not in Tasmania anyway.
I agree the internet has made it so simple to copy other peoples work. I had a search on etsy for 'art dolls' and I was saddened by how dull, repetitive and poorly made "art dolls" are looking..of course there are the exceptions but their work is getting lost in amongst the crap.
I'm still working on my own art dolls from time to time..their little faces peering out from boxes at me...I'll get to them one day.
I don't know how many times I've started a project and thought, wow this is great and it's something new..only to find out, on the internet, within a couple of minutes that someone else had the same idea. I guess Picasso and Braque had the same problem too although it took them longer to discover they both had the same idea.

Yve said...

I have no problem with synchronicity of ideas, that will always happen (as with old Picasso and Braque) but the end result will have quirks and differences that let you know they were both working away at their own ideas. I think people who literally just go, "ooohhh, look, I could do that!" And "look, they are selling for price X, I will undercut them a little, there is plenty of room for everyone" are the problem, because they will just aim to be as close to the original as possible so that they can steal the customers of the original, imagining somehow that that is OK.

I blame the High Street fashion chains though, they have gotten away with making pretty much exact copies of designer clothes for so long I think a lot of people think it is acceptable. There have been a few lawsuits lately though, I think it was Anna Sui (might be wrong) who took a High Street label to court for copying one of her print designs and a few other designers are following suit. I'm not suggesting that art doll makers start getting lawyers involved, just that it might wake a few people up and make them think a little about what they are doing... well, I can dream ;o)