I am absolutely and totally overwhelmed that my post on selfies is almost at 3000 notes and still going! The response has been almost as therapeutic as making the art was.
Just a quick note, a few people have jumped in and said variations of “men too!” and I need to say something about that; this is artwork made by me, a woman, for other women (if you identify as a woman) and myself. I don’t deny there are problems with insecurities that men out there face and they are very valid. However this artwork is not about them. It’s about us and the issues we face in a media culture that is targeted specifically to women and their appearances. This is about us reclaiming that space.
Lately I’ve been questioning my sources of inspiration, because I can’t help but imagine things and become excited when I listen to this new range of music I’ve gotten into. I see so many artists that draw artwork that many would class as “original”; characters that are not specifically referencing any one thing, often surrealistic landscapes and fashion-esque elements. I personally adore artwork like this, the level of intricacy is astounding and downright beautiful.
And then it makes me wonder about my own artwork. Am I less valid for being inspired by music, by people that I admire and feel connections to? By imagery that’s already been created? Sometimes I think of say a band or a vocalist that does a cover of a song - 30 years ago this was common place, and in fact a natural progression in a band’s career. But when an illustrator does the artistic equivalent of a cover - “fan art” - they are frowned upon for perceived unoriginality.
There is a standard in the art community that I frankly don’t agree with. I see the same styles over and over lauded and praised, simply because they choose to draw certain things. It’s disheartening and it’s quite simply boring.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. There is nothing unoriginal about building upon established rules and opening up new worlds and new possibilities. There should be no boundaries. Norman Rockwell is often shunned by the art community for his work, and yet he is one of the world’s greatest technical illustrators. The sheer emotion and life in his work can’t be ignored - but it’s somehow regarded as invalid because many of his pieces were done for advertising. A drawing I create for a set purpose or for someone else is no different than I drawing I do for myself. I class it all as expression and art.
The art and illustration world needs a change. People’s perceptions need to broaden. I refuse to be ashamed of work that I enjoyed thoroughly creating and conceiving simply because of the subject matter.
If I want to draw a French robot in a 70s pantsuit I’m damn well gonna do it.