I had this discussion few times around with my friend; I should learn to create more attracting pictures outside my own comfort zone. Naturally I joke that I should just draw erotic images for the change of pace, but usually this is just thrown aside that it would be enough to draw naked women. This made me think the difference I myself have as an artist and as an artisan.
Artisan is someone who by the definition has the skill to craft for the customer, someone who knows what works and why. A craftsman has to have some business mind behind it all and respect the customer, as the customer is God; the one we as his servant must please. To be a craftsman is to be a servant. I am here to create these products for you, by your wishes.
An artist approaches his work from his own angle, disregarding everything else. 99% of the images I’ve ever done have been there just to appease my own imagination, my own will and wants. This is how an artist works. They’re selfish beings that can truly blame only themselves when their product, be it painting or game, won’t sell, thus becoming a farce.
This rises a question; can an artists be his own customer? The answer is simple no; you won’t make a living like that.
Thinking back to my own works as an artist, there’s a lot of them. There’s even more in the trash, and then insane amount of images that I’ve completely forgot, as one of my friend keeps reminding me to tease me at worst of times. I’m my hardest critic, and usually this is the point where people talk. It’s completely upside down to demand the highest possible quality from myself, but that’s almost impossible considering that I am not a perfectionist, so somehow it all falls on its face.
There’s nice amount of crafts that I’ve done as well during my active years. However, unlike into my drawings I’ve usually given more than 70% of my effort, sometimes pushing myself so hard that my arms have lost all of their strength. Here I am my hardest critic as well, but at least this time I have a reason; the customer doesn’t want to buy half-assed knives or crooked tables. A sandblasted stone tablet has to be the finest quality, otherwise I’m wasting both my own and customers’ time.
This is the difference between good artists and bad artists. Good artists know that they’re full of crap and usually have a real job to keep their artistic drives afloat. A bad artist basically does the opposite, trying to shove their own to the customers and barely keeping themselves alive. The image of starving artist is ideal to some, but nobody should really live like that. You could call most of modern design students as starving artists anyway, or most culture students anyway.
A good artisan keeps his artistic side always in good condition. A craftsman can’t really work properly without artistic touch, but that touch needs to be in leash and working for the customer. You can’t really understand shapes and forms without certain vision that can’t really be understood otherwise but as “artistic vision.” For example, certain shape in a knife is there for a functional reason, but some shapes are there just for the looks and design choices.
Personally, I’ve chosen to allow myself to become an artist in print material and all that. I’m not really interested to serve the public even if I have more than adequate potential and skills for that. The way I draw and what I draw exists simply to please my own ends. This attitude I have towards my own drawings and such is perhaps the main reason I rarely develop any more; I have no reason to become better than I already am. I’d rather spent that training time in the workshop polishing my skills at welding or in making a steel box. There’s a reason to become better at steelcraft.
Then why I don’t want to polish my skills as an artist, so I could call myself a craftsman in arts’ side as well?
Perhaps it has something to do with my own space, that drawing and such is a place where I can go by myself and fall into my own world without thinking much about the outside world. This kind of model of working doesn’t suit for customer service at all, and you’d better imagine it.
So, imagine that people want artists to work in the entertainment industry. These artists would do something that would entertain themselves and nothing more. They’d build more and more fame on their work that they made for themselves. Basically, the industry would be full of artists who stroke their trophy works. This time it’s almost real, and all those cigars aren’t just cigars.
Now, if craftsmen were to work in the entertainment industry, always finding ways to entertain you, the customer, rather than themselves. Wouldn’t that be better for all? The craftsmen would get their money and customer would get their products. The craftsman might even even do few of his own works if all things go well. A craftsman has that chance; the chance to do whatever he wants at times if all goes well. An artists has no such option.
Then why stay as artist? Because artists are selfish, that’s why. A craftsmen may be selfish, but only few times here and there.
Perhaps this will encourage few artists to become a craftsman instead. I’ll be using my own artistic side in crafts more, if applicable as well.