Brilliant, Unique Ideas? Or Trying Too Hard?

As an art student, I am faced with a constant issue. How can I create new, cool things and inspire great ideas to garner attention for my work? Sometimes, it’s just an inspiration away. It’s an afternoon with a good magazine full of eye-catching advertisements. It’s unintentional, it just happens. I like to think the best ideas and designs are thought up in someone’s basement. There they are, stoned as can be, laughing at the fly that keeps flying off the lamp because of its heat, yet consistently coming back to get its feet burnt. Suddenly, someone laughs about how it would make a hilarious cartoon. And thus “Fly Guy” was created. Someone finally has the clarity to scratch down these ideas, because we all know that stoners have, like no recollection. (A la Dude, Where’s My Car?)

Conversely, there are obtuse cubicle-dwellers that inhabit offices 63 hrs a week and come up with “new” terrible ideas that no one finds funny, that no one cares about. And they tell EVERYONE. They do dumb shit to get people to look at them and think, for some strange reason, they are the new Da Vinci. Ha. Ha. Ha. Sure.

I have a tshirt that I like to think was designed by the latter. It was meant to be a hipster shirt, by the Gap, so I should’ve known. It’s a black sketch of a man wearing a suit, riding a bike, which you rarely see, even in bike-centric cities like Columbus. Only instead of a head, he has A GIANT PANDA HEAD! hahahahahahahaha! Isn’t that hilarious? It’s just a RIOT! Hahahahaha! Ummm no. Now I know to look for funky designs elsewhere, like Etsy or Shaun White. What was I thinking that the Gap could pull off funky graphic tees? Too mainstream.

What about the people who invent new names for their kids, so they can be unique? Granted, my son’s name is Kaedence (a real, Gaelic name. It was unique and interesting and very unlike John or Matt or Ben. My son came before the Braden/Aiden/Kaden boom and its quite ridiculous all the little toddlers running around with rhyming names.)  There’s a girl in my history class named Kaytaquana. Really? Who is EVER gonna be able to spell that? Or Brooklyn/Madysyn and all the other slightly misspelled names? Cool? Or silly? Two I will refrain from commenting on are people I know: Chialla (Kuy-Luh) and Kateigh.

I love the annual art show. There are the most amazing works of art that you could ever imagine. Last year, a student named Greta had the most amazing large-format oil paintings. Next to misshapen figures and poorly executed work. Eyes would lay on a flat plane and lack depth or inflection. Colors would be applied directly from the tube, with bits of gesso exposed. Some work looked like it came from eighth-graders (no offense, kids!) If I were mean, I’d post examples, but I don’t want to discourage people.

Just like crazy people never know they are crazy, bad artists never seen to know they are terrible. But where is the demarcation between good art and bad? Interesting names and difficult spelling?





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