Just last night, I was surfing various artist websites.
I've come to realize that for every one talented artist I interview, there are at least five others that I'll never interview. So many artists, so little time.
But here's what I noticed. There are quite a few talented, and I mean really talented, artists out there who are doing similar type work. I saw lots of deconstruction and color blocking. I also noticed a great deal of what I call "Impressionist Realism." You know, realist painting with sort of an impressionist haze. But that's not the point.
You know, one of the reasons why I don't read the work of other art writers is because I don't want to duplicate anyone. I want my writing to be uniquely my own. That doesn't mean that there's necessarily anything that's "new" under the sun, but at least I can make sure that I'm coming from an authentic head space. Do you know what I mean?
Anyway, as I continued to look at the work of various artists, some of whom are doing VERY similar work, I felt kind of sorry for the artists. Okay, let me just say it. If I were them, I'd be pissed and not because I believed plagiarism was going on. These artists are clearly NOT copying one another. That's a whole separate issue to be explored some other time.
This is just me, but I hate nothing more than being compared to other people. I just think that it's disrespectful if not dehumanizing. We're all individuals who make individual choices and we're here to be ourselves and not anyone else. We're here to express our own unique - maybe not so unique - points of view.
The last thing any healthy-minded adult needs is to be compared to someone else. It's a waste of time. That's why whenever I see similarities or influences amongst the works of artists I interview, I may mention them, but I don't dwell on that. We both know the influences and that's all that matters.
I think that our society is obsessed with comparing people, what they do, how they look, how they work and so on. It's a sickness. There's simply no need for this. Comparison always leads to competition and pitting people against one another. Comparing people is the work of the narrow-minded. Not everything needs to be compared. Why compare an apple to an orange? They're both fruit, but that's it. It's a fruitless exercise.
I recall this recent television reality show that pitted artists against one another by comparing them and forcing them to try to "out-do" one another. That's just so silly. It's very "second grade," isn't it? I don't know. I've learned that artists can do similar type work - work that looks the same - and yet their creative processes are completely different and they're coming from completely different head spaces.
It's really surprising given that the end results may resemble one another. Using the same bright color blocking and technique doesn't necessarily mean both artists have sunny dispositions. Lots of black abstraction doesn't mean the artists feel the same way about the color black.
Our minds, experiences and how we see things are what make us all different even though we may look the same ... and even though our work may look similar.
I don't know what you believe, but I believe that God gives us all unique abilities and missions specific to each of us. Even though the end result may be similar, we're all different. That's how it should be.
I mean, even though most identical twins look the same, even THEY are different in many ways. I think that when we compare people and their work, we're probably seeking commonality. Commonality is a good thing, but I fear that sometimes it can become incestuous and the next thing you know, people are comparing and competing and stabbing each other in the back ... and for what?
Look ... if you want to compare artists or anything for that matter, that's your business. But from here on, whenever I look at the eerily similar work of different artists who themselves live in different parts of the world, I'll just continue to do what comes naturally ...
I'll look, smile and say to myself ... "Oh, that's cool!" And then ... drum roll please ...
I'll keep it movin'.