Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Caution! Mini Rant Ahead!

Although my day started with another migraine at 3am, I was able to get ahead of it very early and knock it out before it got a real foothold.  Love it when it works out like that!  Until now, I haven't really had a chance to sit down at the computer and so I sit here without a plan for this post, no picture and a bunch of random thoughts.  Look out!

I think a lot about product and how it helps or hurts me as an artist.  There is so much I love (and have collected) and yet so much frustration as I see what the industry thinks I need now.  And what really blows my mind (or maybe just saddens me) is that the "latest and greatest" in "you too can be an artist" stuff is on a three month back order at the local scrapbook store because of its wild popularity.  Sigh.  If, for whatever reason you can't or don't make your own journals, no problem:  Go to Etsy and browse through the hundreds available there.  You're sure to find one that suits your needs (hell, there are people who make custom journals exactly to your specifications!) AND you will be supporting a fellow artist - someone's mother, daughter, sister, wife (or, of course, father, son, brother, husband) - who is trying to make their way in this lousy economy with his or her head held high.  When do the corporate pockets fill up?  When do they say "Wow! I think we made enough off of people's insecurities and ignorance."  Now someone is sure to say "This is America! Go capitalism!"  Blah blah blah...I'm tired of hearing that.  Making a quick buck is making a quick buck: let's just call it what it is and move forward and really dig deep, not into our pocketbooks, but into our souls and the huge stashes we already have.  I think when we get there, we'll find we're capable of much more that the industry thinks.
For me, the bottom line is this: art-making is very similiar to eating well.  The farther I get from the Source (in the case of art - my hands, head, and heart), the less genuine the experience.  In the supermarket, the real food is on the outside aisles and the deeper you go into the store, the more fake the food.  Can you have treats once in a while?  Sure.  But indulge in a steady diet of heavily processed foods (or heavily processed, pre-fabricated art supplies) and you are likely to lose yourself.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm not prone to rants.  I keep stuff like religion & politics very close to the vest; it's deeply personal and not what this blog is about.  But today, my soapbox is showing.  Ooops!  I am not condemning the scrapbook industry; there just has to be balance in all things.  There have to be people who stand up and say "That stuff does look cool but you know what?  You, little old you, who's afraid of art unless it comes pre-packaged with pretty logos and pre-planned systems, you are capable of creating things SO MUCH MORE beautiful if you would just trust yourself and your own two hands."  There.  I said it.  Now would you all please just give yourself a chance to see how brilliant you are without using every frickin' product the industry can cram down your throats?
I'm stepping down now and going off to soothe my hot-headed self with a cup of cocoa.  Tomorrow, Lost Coast Post gets back to focusing on positive ways to help yourself shine.  Be well, be happy, and please, oh please, be you! 'Night!


Terri Kahrs said...

Ok . . . (deep breath taken here) . . . I just got back from that "smash" link. O-M-G!!! ARE they FOR REAL????? Goes to show you what slick marketing and packaging will do. Dip a popsicle stick in crap, and it's still a popsicle stick. Give me a freekin' break!!!! YUP! Cookie cutter Stepford artists. That's all I'm sayin' for now. Glad you beat the migraine. ((Another big sigh!))) OK, enough of MY rant. I'm off to bed. Hugs, Terri xoxoxo

Lotus said...

You go Michelle! You're just voicing what many of us feel. I feel for those who think they can't be a true artist without the newest fangle crap out there. Stick to the basics.
And like you, I'm not trying to knock the industry. There's some amazing stuff out there! Not that I could afford any of it... ; )

What's your secret to beating the migraine? Is it homeopathic, or meds? I have constant migraines, but I believe they are caused by the neck surgery I had last year (they became constant just this past year). As well as the heat, bright sun, stress, etc...

If it weren't for my art, I'd go insane... lol
Have a wonderful weekend and you can jump on that soap box anytime!

Andria said...

I really like your food analogy, "real food" being that which is closest to the source, and "real art" being that which is the closest to the artist/source, and heavily processed food being like prefabricated art supplies. That analogy illustrates your point so well! I've seen lots of hype about that particular product, and while I can see its slick appeal, I kind of couldn't figure out why a blank book and a glue stick wouldn't yield similar results!

Emma said...

Awesome post. You said what I've been thinking for a long time... that using precuts, diecuts, premade bows, card toppers, stick ons, and so on and so forth isn't truly being creative. Yes I guess there is skill involved in placement and picking the right 'topper' for your card, but it's not been made by you, it's been made by a manufacturer who is telling me what I should use. I say no! I say if I'm going to make a card I'll make it by drawing, by colouring, by pressing some flowers, by papercutting... and the same for other crafts as well. I am so with the food analogy. In the same way I always cook from scratch (and I do work full time and I'm a mother before someone cuts in here) I will always create my art and craft from scratch - whether that's a card for the index card a day challenge, or a hotwater bottle cover for the hottie challenge...

Go You!!!

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