Although I’ve written about the subject of artistic jealousy before, I found myself in a situation where my usual techniques for dealing with it (eg: remembering that there is always someone better and someone worse at art then you, taking inspiration from better artists etc…) didn’t quite work. So, I shall begin with the woeful tale of how this all began, before I descibe how I was able to return to normal.
Basically, I happened to watch a documentary on TV about a better and more sucessful artist and then, shortly afterwards, I happened to see some amazing photo-based digital paintings online. And, somehow, all of this filled me with pointless artistic jealousy.
Needless to say, my artistic confidence was running low. My unique cartoonish art style seemed primitive and childish in comparison to the art in the documentary that I’d seen on TV. My imagination, of which I am so proud, felt second-rate in comparison to the better artist I’d found who was much more at ease with making art directly based on other things (likewise, the fact that a series of studies of out-of-copyright historical paintings I’ve prepared for some of next month’s art posts look better than my original art also made me feel that my imagination was inferior too).
Eventually, a while later, I prepared my next digitally-edited painting for one of next month’s daily art posts. On an ordinary day, I’d have considered it to be a good painting. But, on that night, I felt like it was a mediocre, second-rate painting that was only less worse than I’d originally feared it would have been. Here’s a preview of it:
Still, the next day, I’d got over all of these emotions. But, how did I do it?
I distracted myself from them, whilst also reminding myself why I’m an artist.
In my situation, this involved listening to Cradle Of Filth’s “From The Cradle To Enslave” EP. Not only is the music on this CD brilliantly intense and cathartic, but it is also a mixture of original and less original work. The first two tracks are new original songs from the band, the middle two tracks are covers of songs from other bands and the final two tracks (on the UK edition at least) are remixes/re-recordings of the band’s older stuff.
This reminded me of the fact that whilst making non-original stuff can be a good way to make things when you aren’t inspired, to show off your unique style and to pay tribute to things you think are cool – it’s also ok to focus on original stuff too. In fact, the two original tracks on the EP are – by far- the best two tracks. These songs open the EP with a passion and energy that the other songs lack slightly. So, it also reminded me that original stuff can be better.
At the same time, I also made a point of watching the notorious uncensored music video for “From The Cradle To Enslave” on Youtube too. This is a music video that shows a lot of creativity and skill. It is a music video that only Cradle Of Filth could have made. It is such a brilliant expression of everything that the band are – such as the gloomy gothic locations, the dark humour, the low budget horror movie-style scenes, the decadent debauchery etc… And it reminded me what art is truly about. It’s about self-expression and making things that both you and other people think are cool.
Ok, you probably aren’t a Cradle Of Filth fan. But, your own equivalent to this can be very useful if you are racked by strong feelings of artistic jealousy. Find an original creative work that you really like and remind yourself that it is so interesting because the people who made it did their own thing. That they took inspiration from the people they admired and produced great things that are also unique.
Or, if that doesn’t work, just distract yourself with the creative work in question until the feelings of artistic inadequacy/jealousy begin to subside. This can work too.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂