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Everybody’s an Artist. This is a GOOD Thing.


zentao trademark since 1997I have to laugh.  A lot.

Everybody’s an artist.  …Who decides they are.  In fact.

Whether they are successful doing it, whether they can feed themselves and their family on the profits, isn’t really the point.  What is the point is that they feel empowered to create “their art.”  I think that’s good.  And I think there is a lot of good art out there.  Just like there is a lot of good music out by very good indie bands that isn’t feeding Sony!  Great!

Of course, this gets some people very grumpy.  Very.  I’m amazed at how grumpy it gets them.

Sitting at a coffee shop where the lunch crowd of local graphic artists and designers, web monkeys and marketing people hang, I get to overhear a lot of rumblings into espresso mugs — black mugs, by the way.  Seems this do-it-yourself, make-your-own-identity movement is cutting into their bottom line.  Where they used to be the ones that Mr. and Ms. Budding Business Person went to for graphical presentations, now what they get are the print jobs — only.  Ahem.  Except they don’t make much on the print jobs — not the butter money, anyway.  Just enough to buy the bread.  Of course, what they don’t say is that they themselves went into biz by deciding to do-it-themselves, make-their-own-identity.  Ironic?  No.  It was their bright idea in a time — too short of time span — to provide service to the Mom and Pop shops that needed graphic services, but couldn’t afford “The Big Services.”  So all these little grahic design shops sprouted up when glued up ads were still the mainstay, when computers still required knowing DOS, and the first CAD programs were chugging and puffing to draw a curved line.  Of course with the advent of graphic programs — tough to learn, tough to use, expensive — they madly grabbed the wave.  Now they were “in the money.”  They learned them, wowed out the competition, and established themselves.  And all without a degree in commercial art and marketing.  These were the first do-it-yourselfers, make-your-own-identity people. 

They made money.  Butter money, as well as money for the bread to spread it on.  For a couple of years, anyway…until computers and the graphics programs got easier and easier to learn and use.  And, of course, the free graphics programs were there for the taking — still are.  And it’s a good thing, I say.

So now what do the graphic design and art entrepreneurs get?  The really tough projects.  The ones that really do require a degree in commercial art.  Spec sheets that require deep knowledge to even read…knowledge they don’t have, have to research, have to work on the cutting edge of panic in order to get the job done.

I sit there and I simply nod, listening with a dull ear.  I’m not interested in their whining.  I’m not whining.  I’m happy as a lark in summer.  It’s such a relief not to be inundated by projects that just don’t agree with me, it’s such a relief to have clients who come to me for MY STYLE, not some monopoly on the mechanics.  It’s absolutely WONDERFUL, in fact.

The majority of people in American society predictably like “cutesy,” “flowery,” “sexy,” “pastel,” “clear, bright colors,” “kiddy,” or “plastic patina.”  Or the commercial guy selling factory outlet stuff wants “brash, loud, and red-white-and-blue…with stars and spangles, please.”


I like muted colors, subtle, simple, abstract, startling, sometimes elegant and sometimes rude, edgy, twitchy, roiling and boiling, clean and lean…to name a few.  Standard “American” I am not.  So, for me, this do-it-yourself movement’s strength and stay-power is completely welcome and applauded.


Originally posted by DLKeur on her art blog on June 15, 2007. Copyright inheres.



Copyright 2007 D.L.Keur &/or F.W.Lineberry, http://www.zentao.com . All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.




Copyright 1997-2007 D. L. Keur, zentao.com