An Artist’s Life: Art for Myself, or Art for Fans?

I believe there is no right or wrong way to promote ones self. The internet makes it much easier these days to show off your stuff and draw some fans. Lately in an attempt to draw more attention to my brand I have included some fan art into my collection. For the past few months I have created a series of pen and gouache drawings and paintings based on the legendary game Mortal Kombat. I myself am a fan of the game and play on regular basis, though I am awful at it. Knowing the depth of popularity of that game and a huge fanbase around it I gave it a go at infiltrating it and draw some people to my art. Of course in order to stand out from hundreds of other artists that are also in the crowd I spught to put my own spin on the game’s design; considering the games notoriety for its over the top violence and gore I presented its colorful cast of deadly ninjas, assassins and mercenaries as cute and adorable dolls, like the Mini Me of Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil, or in Japan which is more commonly referred to as chibis. In doing so my once sluggish Twitter and Instagram accounts really picked up and follower count grew exponentially.

Now I am aware that fan art is a pretty sensitive subject in the art world; I am making art based on someone else’s creation, so it is pretty akin to stealing the other artist’s idea. There are quite a handful of articles online, not to mention those nagging voices of your art professors and advisors from way back when, that strongly condemn such practices, warning of possible legal and ethical breaches.

But on the flip side artists copy each other all the time. Even the great Pablo Picasso once quoted

Good Artists copy. Great Artists steal.

Picasso

Maybe you are stuck in that awful artist block and look to other works of art for inspiration. Or you want to imitate the style and techniques of your favorite piece of art as a warmup exercise which you can then incorporate into your own original work. Or you worship the artist and want to pay homage to him or her by making a replica of their most famous work and just adding a sprinkle of your own style to it so you are not totally making a photocopy of the original work.

But that still does not excuse one from making art off of someone else’s concept. Worst case scenario is you get your @$$ sued to rock bottom or get locked up behind bars for theft or copyright infringement (especially if you are making big bucks off of it, which right now I’m not so I can say I’m safe from that). It is important for artists to make art that is his/her own so the audience can appreciate your creativity and take you seriously. I hope to one day introduce my more original art to the audience I have gained. Sure I can expect to lose about half of them when they no longer see their favorite MK characters in another wacky misadventures I have created, but I will not stress about that. I will have to find the right time and balance of distribution of my original art and fan art.

Until next time…

An Artist’s Life: Promoting Thy Self

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! THE ARTIST IS ONLINE!

Let’s face it. Being an artist is hard. Even harder is telling people about you as an artist.

As a lifelong hardline introvert I get jittery whenever I try to strike up a conversation with a total stranger or present myself to a social gathering. I’ve never had friends nor could I keep the very few that I do manage make. My only true friends have been the ones I would cook up in my mind.

But it has come to my attention that i cannot stay hidden in this closet forever, especially now that I have made it my goal to become a full time artist. With internet and social media nowadays I have absolutely NO excuse to try and put myself in n the spotlight.

So I have steadily taken steps to get myself out there through various social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube- any where I felt that I can make my mark. I would post sketches, work in progress photos, even videos of my work process that I painstakingly edited and compiled myself. I’ve even started streaming myself on Twitch, and while I am garnering a massive 0 viewership it nevertheless has given me some confidence. I’m even forcing myself to talk out loud even if it’s just to myself (course I informed my parents beforehand about this so they won’t keep peeking into my room to see if I’m okay and that I’m not going cuckoo). I’ve also got into gaming as a way to draw more audience to my channel and hopefully lead them to check out my art.

And how is it going so far? Well I have seen some more traffic in recent months and even managed to sell few paintings, although they are mostly fan art. Yes I’ve been doing a lot of fan arts lately I figured that is most popular and draws more audience, but now that’s another story…

An Artist’s Life: Twitching for Attention…

These days it’s easier now than ever for everyone (I mean, EVERYONE) to get their fifteen minutes of fame (which was famously quoted by the legendary Andy Warhol) via such apps as Youtube and Twitch. The latter is primarily for live streaming video games though other activities such as cooking and art are also featured regularly. I could not help but give into the temptation of putting my big pretty face in front of a webcam and show myself playing video games as of late, especially being stuck indoors to avoid the Coronavirus storm and there is only so much of my energy I can really pour all into just drawing and painting (or simply put, when I run into that dreaded “block”). There were couple other reasons too, actually. One was to overcome the “stage fright” I always get when I get myself in front of an audience of any size, big and small. Secondly being an artist these days means I need to really put my @$$ out there in the open and promote away so people can at least see that I the artist actually exist. Now streaming myself playing video games terribly (yes, I play terribly) may not seem like anything-considering this is a very dense field and millions of people go online doing the same thing daily so it takes tremendous effort to stand out of the crop- and has no way to do with my art. But I came to believe there is no right or wrong way to promote myself. Anything I can do to attract some fish to my bait line I must be willing to walk over my limits. And besides I like video games, I always have since the 8-bit Nintendo days, so it’s a win-win.

My Twitch channel should you choose to be interested can be found on the sidebar of my blog page, or on the Twitch site where I operate under the moniker atAaLLGIRL. As of now I have only less than 10 followers and average a paltry 0 viewers. I’m a humorless stiff but I’m trying to change that. Initially it felt weird talking out loud to myself (especially when I read out the subtitles from the games) but on the bright side I get a good tongue exercise out of it. And even if nobody wants to watch me babble on and play a really bad round of Mortal Kombat 11 at least they can browse my channel page and hopefully click on one of the links that goes to my website or other social media channels and find out about my art. Anything to get attention, you know.

Have a Good, Safe, Corona-Free Weekend!