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« on: May 10, 2024 @300.00 »

Sycra is an art youtuber who was super influential to me as a kid.
He recently made one of those "the antilogarithm is screwing my channel!" videos and seemed convinced that there was no alternative.
So I got on my web-revival high horse, to which he essentially responded "that's great and all but I have to make a living"
And I don't have answer to that. Is there an answer? Now that the commercial art bubble of the 2010s has burst--at least for artists not willing to sell their soul.
A whole generation got it into their heads that art was financially viable for the first time in history, and now it's more or less returning to the domain of 'starving artists'. Maybe that's a good thing? What do you think?



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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2024 @319.79 »

i think this is a double edged sword in a few ways... firstly, i can't see the starving artist archetype as a good thing, ever! not only does it trap us into even worse lives, having to go into non-art careers as artists at heart, there's no good reason for that struggle. being an artist is hard enough on it's own without having to worry about... well, starving :ohdear: even if we all agree that modern social media is the pits, i hope we can all agree that art being made and actually thriving anywhere is a good thing.

however, i don't think either of you are better off in this situation, thinking of sycra's motivations. they want to help people, reach the widest audience possible... but also have it be a self-sustaining career. in the perfect world that would be possible, but a youtube career right now seems like a ticking time bomb. youtube itself is still crucial social capital to google, so they're not about to can the platform or anything, but it's an incredibly unstable job for an individual. but even then, i'm sure the amount they've made through the channel is incomparable to what they would have made through a focus on their personal website. even if they did that tactic where they sell courses, then shill self-published books, and then every piece of art they've ever made on anything you could ever want it on... youtube, and social media, is still the greatest exposure. it's a lot to put your energy into doing both - especially when the personal site is not where the vast majority of your viewership is going.

i'd say transitioning to their own website would be the right answer if there wasn't any money on the line, and it was out of pure passion. i think that passion is there, but it sounds like it's a lot more than that unfortunately. and just moving away from youtube or any socials won't solve being stuck without a job you thought you had secured :(

i think a lot of people still have hope to be the next big internet artist, and i don't really blame them... it's not for me for sure, but if you are really on that grind almost every day, you can still get that five minutes of fame. but, i feel like artists of the now are stuck in this limbo - pretty much all of them can't be infamous from mass-nostalgia, like the newgrounds artists of the wild west internet era, because they're stuck on social media. they can get swallowed up and forgotten about just as easily as they got picked up. and yet, at the same time, self-produced indie animation of all things is on the rise and gaining real traction and getting their pilot's picked up by major publishers and studios, you can find webcomics in barnes and noble, there's even animated tiktok characters having merch in physical stores... we live in a weird time for sure
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2024 @738.17 »

I see where you're coming from but for artists hoping to making a living of their art its a pick your poison situation.  imo , yes social media is messed up in so many ways its pretty much essential to artists nowadays who want to pursue a career in art. And I dont think 'the starving artit' is a good thing and ever will. This probably won't make a lot of sense because its just my unorganized thoughts so in summary , no i dont think its a good thing.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2024 @740.25 by BUTCHBONEZ » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2024 @742.27 »

I generally tend to dislike monetizing my hobby stuff at all- I've never wanted to be an artist, writer, or anything as a "job". I feel like as soon as I "have to" do something I lose my enjoyment in it.

I'd rather have my creative life and my work life wholly separate. That's just me though.
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2024 @755.57 »

another side of it is that it's fundamentally not good for artists to attempt to fit into a commercial standard and make what we might call 'soulless art' for the sake of monetary gain. at least for me, i want to be able to draw whatever it is i'm interested in at the current moment, which doesn't really work when you're trying to achieve some sort of brand image within the current economic system (necessary note of i am talking about my experience as an american.) i mean, i would love to be a career artist, i really would, but financial stability is more important to me and even if i were an artist i wouldn't enjoy or thrive when trying to fit into an expected corporate standard.

i think that on a larger scale it ties into what society in general sees as 'important work'-- and art is just... not perceived as important. ultimately, it's hard to make art in a system that revolves around supply and demand as its core tenets! i think that's a HUGE part of why people make personal sites and participate in the web revival too-- big corporations demand that we conform in order to be part of their sell-able consumable product, but conformity sucks.  :tongue: 

i've been talking about capitalism this whole time, of course, but i really do think that capitalism is antithetical to art itself. art is wild and free and invaluable, and to stay afloat in a capitalist system we have to have some sort of sellable product or labour-- which art... isn't, really. sure, we can make it more profitable by fitting into an expected standard, but it always ends up with us chasing whatever's relevant or popular.

i guess i don't really have a solution? i think you pick whichever is more valuable to you-- stable finances (which do get harder to attain day-by-day) or doing the thing you love. and if it's within your capacity and your interest, we push for a better system-- one that doesn't screw us over.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2024 @513.70 »

the way i see the current state of art, it seems that in order to turn your art into a career, you have to...

1, use social media, which is gonna be something a lotta people will have to hold their nose while doing. one of the people i've talked to a lot wants to create and sell fursuits, and has complained about the requirement of making a social media account in order to do that. since you have to be on social media, you have to fight the algorithm, which is the driving factor in why artists only get big by chance, if the robot likes your "content" then you'll get there as an artist, which brings me to.....

2, make it so that your art is "appealing" enough, which in of itself is hard to do, since chances are you don't even know what the hell "appealing" is supposed to mean. maybe it has to do with whatever the algorithm wants, maybe it has to do with the criticisms the professor in art college gives, maybe you have to sanitize your art and make it consumable, who knows???? i personally see it as the art equivalent of needing to put on a professional facade when you go to work. funny thing is, i fell into the trap of trying to be more "professional" with my art back in 2022, and i'm happy to have realized that if i'm not happy with how my art is going, i don't need to do it

.....sadly that isn't rly the case when you wanna turn your art into a career, which shouldn't be the case, but when you live under a capitalistic dystopia, you have no choice

pretty much all of them can't be infamous from mass-nostalgia, like the newgrounds artists of the wild west internet era, because they're stuck on social media. they can get swallowed up and forgotten about just as easily as they got picked up. and yet, at the same time, self-produced indie animation of all things is on the rise and gaining real traction and getting their pilot's picked up by major publishers and studios

another thing i wanted to talk about is this quote, which i actually find really interesting. it seems your art will only be truly seen by chance, but most of the time it's just straws in the wind (had to throw in a king gizz ref lol), and it reminded me of an animated short, one of my favorites of the modern era, called rotten apples. it revolves around the dilemma artists are in when they wanna become big or start a career, but people in the comments of the short seem to only focus on things like the visuals and the tiny references to artists like joel g and aimkid, which is ironically one of the things the short pokes at, that being "browsing on the go" which is essentially the social media equivalent of not understanding the meaning behind an art piece

i could go on and on about the predicament artists are in, even being an artist who has lost all interest in creating art for an audience, but i'm just gonna leave it here. wld love to see people's thoughts on this speculation tho
« Last Edit: June 22, 2024 @520.46 by soapfriendo » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2024 @172.20 »

Offering my perspective as an art student at one of the high-up colleges who has gotten a peek into the industry side. Not a job-job yet, but a lot of the preparations for getting one. For extra context since I know some of yall on the other end are going to be scoffing about how I don't because "Art school doesn't teach you anything the internet wouldn't lmao" (Ill get to that): Nowadays, for the bigger schools in response to the changing industry with the internet the focus is moreso on prepping artists with skills for getting a job in their chosen major's options rather than just learning the skill itself. Smaller schools, the ones who haven't kept up with the times, are the ones you hear about when people say "They haven't kept up with the times and they just teach old mediums that aren't helpful for job-getting" or "They don't teach anything you can't learn online" (to the latter point in particular, they have a lot and I mean a LOT of tools you aren't able to get access to. Also, some methods are taught completely incorrectly online just from repeated parroting of incorrect things that got taught on and on and on).
the way i see the current state of art, it seems that in order to turn your art into a career, you have to...

1, use social media, which is gonna be something a lotta people will have to hold their nose while doing. one of the people i've talked to a lot wants to create and sell fursuits, and has complained about the requirement of making a social media account in order to do that. since you have to be on social media, you have to fight the algorithm, which is the driving factor in why artists only get big by chance, if the robot likes your "content" then you'll get there as an artist, which brings me to.....

2, make it so that your art is "appealing" enough, which in of itself is hard to do, since chances are you don't even know what the hell "appealing" is supposed to mean. maybe it has to do with whatever the algorithm wants, maybe it has to do with the criticisms the professor in art college gives, maybe you have to sanitize your art and make it consumable, who knows???? i personally see it as the art equivalent of needing to put on a professional facade when you go to work. funny thing is, i fell into the trap of trying to be more "professional" with my art back in 2022, and i'm happy to have realized that if i'm not happy with how my art is going, i don't need to do it

.....sadly that isn't rly the case when you wanna turn your art into a career, which shouldn't be the case, but when you live under a capitalistic dystopia, you have no choice
You probably knew this was coming from the introduction, but as someone in the secret third option, "Go Get an Industry Job", that one isn't particularly that great either. Art in those situations is less of an expression and more of a job like any blue collar labor. You clock in, you grind, you clock out. Just the issue with that is in the field you are expected to give it your all every single time. Just neutral effort and the person isn't getting their money's worth and therefore its a poor job, therefore bad rep, and rep is everything in the art industry because it is HEAVILY powered by you knowing a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. It is certainly possible to slide in based on skill alone but its very difficult to KEEP a job if you don't know a bestie somewhere else who can slide somethin over for you. Sounds like I'm bullshitting but I'm serious. Thats why a lot of people go to art school to begin with, getting connections with classmates and teachers and buisnesses coming to said colleges to present. It's not really a skillbased job like doctor where everyone needs a doctor somewhere. Especially in this day and age with the technological revolution we're in where everyone can not only learn skills that were unable to be learned except under some sort of apprenticeship before but can also apply to all of the jobs that would have required it, there are billions of artists and everyone wants to have the same spot.
Back on the topic though about art, it really is draining. You might THINK you'd be cool with it to which.. I mean you'd have to experience it first hand but I'll say just enjoying making art for others doesn't mean you'll like it because I was ALSO that guy. It's doing art rain or shine, day or night, 24/7, all effort too at all times. Can't have a single bad day or moment of burn out. And especially in a rush-rush world like this, you need to pump it out quick.
Now in saying all of this, I am not nessicerily saying the art industry is bad but.... You've ever noticed how there aren't really very many industry artists that make anything for themselves or really have that much time to hang around on social media and such? Tend to be rather distant? Maybe come online to say they made a thing and then disappear again? You can kinda draw your own ideas on that.

Another thing with the whole capitalism stuff you mention is just art in general is a very expensive thing. Artists only really charge cheaply because they know people won't pay otherwise. If they can charge more, they will. Thats why popular/famous artists do. Because it is a labor of a person in more that can really be objectively observed like how well they saudered two wires together or something. Which makes it annoying for people trying to ascribe value and especially in this current world (blah blah blah we don't make anything in the US anymore blah blah industralization blah blah blah). Honestly, I feel inheritly art isn't very good thing for value and capitalism, as someone here said. It cn mean different things to different people and therefore can have a completely different monatary value from person to person. We try to ascribe value basedon previouis pricing but you never know if anyone will be willing to actually PAY that price, or anyone else sees it as worth that much.
i think this is a double edged sword in a few ways... firstly, i can't see the starving artist archetype as a good thing, ever! not only does it trap us into even worse lives, having to go into non-art careers as artists at heart, there's no good reason for that struggle. being an artist is hard enough on it's own without having to worry about... well, starving :ohdear:
I'm going to be honest, a non-art career is probably preferable. The work enviorment really isn't the grande creative ideal that it used to be or that it is portrayed in media like. Art as a job is that, a job. And it feels exactly like one, including the jet-lag and the begging for freedom at the end. The whole "Do what you love and youll never work a day in your life" thing has never been true for any other job so why would it be true for art? Of course there are SOME cushey jobs who's perspectives you'll hear about that make you all excited but notice how its very, VERY few voices? In specific high positions? It's because all of the other ones like you and me are busy working and far too busy with working to talk, much lesso would they have anything nice to say. If you're not doing it as a job, you have the freedom to decide and most importantly, the freedom to stop.

There is also a bit of a tendancy for something to happen which I like to call an "Artist Stroke" (or just a stroke if thats too long) where people who used to make art like you or I just suddenly stop. They don't say anything, they just one day maybe disappear for a while and then when they come back they decide to sell off all of their characters and end their stories and maybe disappear again for a while. Sometimes they come back to art, but it's never the same. It's not as.... I don't know, real as it once was? Not that it's empty now or lacks soul but it's different in a sort of strange way. Emptier. And the person themselves doesn't act the same. More empty themselves in a way, at least when it comes to expression; much less happy. Everything else like interests and the like are fine/the same. But kinda like someone who had a stroke and survived/recovered (hence the titling): there but not really as they were and not in a good way. I always wondered what caused that when I saw it happen (and was deathly scared that somehow that would happen to me). Yall have probably seen it happen to someone too. Figured it out this year, at the end of this school year, when it just BARELY happened to me. It's a breaking point of some sort. I'm not sure how to describe it objectively, because it is VERY much a feelings-based experience that I don't think a non-artist would really understand if they don't know what it is like to create something truely. But it's almost like a growing despondancy. And if I was pushed far enough to the point where it snapped, I probably wouldn't be here for one thing because I wouldn't be engaging in the frivilous activities like web-dev, but I'd also probably would be just like those people and currently trying to sell off all my babies and scrapping the storyline I've worked on for the past 2-ish years now with them. And even then, I had to go through a sort of healing process to get my mojo back. I was for some reason, despite knowing even more art knowledge from before and having been drawing all that previous year for classes, completely incapable of drawing for myself. Like there wasn't something sparking in my brain to make it work. Eventually I got it again but thats how I was able to figure out what that was. Worried that next time I am not going to be that lucky but eheh we'll see
My point in saying this is you see this a lot with people who are currently at my art school. It happens a lot more with them than I've seen like, ever. And like I said, almost happened to me. And I think it happens to all of those industry artists too. At some point theres something that breaks when you do this thing as a job. Something different about it than just your average commission job. I think I know what it is (the constant grind, requiremenet to give it your all every time, in the shortest amount of time, the looming threat of failure, making things you dont even like like a machine), though I could be wrong and there could be more causes.
Now that the commercial art bubble of the 2010s has burst--at least for artists not willing to sell their soul.
Not to sound like a doomer, but at least in the US we're kinda sliding towards an economic collapse and that early artist boom was fuelled by the economy bounce-back from the Great Ressecion. I went into a whole doomer rant here about how things are getting messed up but I don't want to sound like a reddit conspiracy theorist so I'll cut it down. Despite what people say, the economy has not bounced back from COVID. The frivilous actions of the upper class do not help these matters. The thing with artist booms is they only really happen when things are good and money is plentiful so people can properly spend it on stupid stuff like pictures of their OCs kissing each other or whatever. As we can see from the rise of cheap Chinese plastic junk wholesale, things are not better. We wouldn't NEED to buy $3 airpods if people had the money to buy REAL airpods. I find a lot of people like to blame the people who buy said cheap chinese products and funding things rather than the people who put other people into this predicament to begin with. Knowing people who shop for those, a lot of them genuinly cannot afford anything better. They don't do it because they want to. Most people know the products are shit (the ones who don't are kids who grew up with only that in their lives or old people). They either do it out of nessecity or out of a high to make themselves feel like they're not broke as shit (ironically making them even more broke).
Again, look at any time in history when there has been a big artist boom. Rome, the Rennisonce, etc I can't think of because its 11pm where I am. Its always when the economy is good and prosperious currently. Definitely not now. It's very busted right now. So it will be a while before something like that happens again.
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2024 @105.31 »

Thank you all for the in depth responses. It helps a lot to chew on these issues, even if there's no simple answer.

What I meant by 'maybe returning to the starving artist conception is a good thing' is, when art isn't financially viable, people would only do it out of pure love of creating.

There's a spark you get when you're a kid that makes you want to do this for the rest of your life. Then you hear lots of people saying "You can be creative for a living! Just follow these steps!" and it's almost like Hansel&gretels gingerbread house; like Capitalism knows exactly how to turn your own passions against you to trick you into working for it rather than yourself.

There's an illusion out there that you can tie down the creative spirit with a successful career. But the creative spirit is a dynamic force, you kill it if you tie it down. Some are successful because they're creative, but no one is creative because they're successful.

look at any time in history when there has been a big artist boom. Rome, the Rennisonce, etc Its always when the economy is good and prosperious currently.

I don't entirely agree. The Romans mostly copied or imported Hellenistic art; and the Renaissance was one of the most turbulent eras in European history, everyone was fighting everyone else, especially in Italy.

I also don't agree that history is divided into good times and bad times. It's more like times of stagnation and times of change. Artists, ideally, are the ones who break up stagnation and try to make sense of change. No one would call early 20th century Europe prosperous, But it coincided with the biggest explosion of artistic experimentation in history. The turbulence called for lots of thinking outside the box in order to cope with it. 

I still hold on to the romantic idea of arts' ability to make the world a better place. Because of that, The business artist path I grew up on feels increasingly like a distracting gingerbread house. The pursuit of that little spark is worth more than money.
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2024 @389.41 »

What I meant by 'maybe returning to the starving artist conception is a good thing' is, when art isn't financially viable, people would only do it out of pure love of creating.

There's a spark you get when you're a kid that makes you want to do this for the rest of your life. Then you hear lots of people saying "You can be creative for a living! Just follow these steps!" and it's almost like Hansel&gretels gingerbread house; like Capitalism knows exactly how to turn your own passions against you to trick you into working for it rather than yourself.
Literally this. And if you're good then its like, expected that you'll end up in the industry (otherwise it's "wasted"). I'[ve seen tons of artists on social media who just stop creating entirely once the money stops coming in and its incredibly sad. Like, they got so consumed, lost in the sauce, that they don't even have the drive to do it just for themselves anymore. Not that "you like doing it lmao" should be an excuse to not pay them for their labor of course but still.
I don't entirely agree. The Romans mostly copied or imported Hellenistic art; and the Renaissance was one of the most turbulent eras in European history, everyone was fighting everyone else, especially in Italy.

I also don't agree that history is divided into good times and bad times. It's more like times of stagnation and times of change. Artists, ideally, are the ones who break up stagnation and try to make sense of change. No one would call early 20th century Europe prosperous, But it coincided with the biggest explosion of artistic experimentation in history. The turbulence called for lots of thinking outside the box in order to cope with it. 
Prosperity doesn't nessicerily mean peace. A lot of money was moving into art though (like for the Renissonce with all the commissions of leaders looking cool in battle for example) and just general other things. The weird dycotomy with this world where when times are really bad we rapidly evolve our technologies (ie, the internet, what we are communication on now, being invented back in the Cold War), art is sort of the same sometimes (sometimes people are also just so busy worrying about war-ness they don't have time to do much else).
Though yes, you are right, forgot to mention one extra thing, the motivation to change. Art reflects a lot about the world it was made in, whether intentional or not (like media for the longest time having a strange emphasis on fighting Nazis and Soviets even though the war had been long over by then)

I still hold on to the romantic idea of arts' ability to make the world a better place. Because of that, The business artist path I grew up on feels increasingly like a distracting gingerbread house. The pursuit of that little spark is worth more than money.
So true, man. Keep at it. :4u:
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