Look, let's just get this out of the way once and for all...
WE ALL LOVE PRINT!
I mean - we REALLY REALLY REALLY love print!
Nobody - NO-BO-DY! - wants to kill print. Not Madefire, not deviantART, not any other digital art, comic or literature provider. That isn't the point of digital at all! That conversation should be forced to stand in a corner with a dunce hat on, because it really is THAT dumb and isn't worth our time. Don't look at it. Don't talk to it. And definitely don't feel sorry for it! It's a trolling meme and doesn't have a worthy or generous thought in it's very small brainpan. It's an evil little turd with a mean spirit and no imagination.
And don't feed it either!
Let's rip open our skulls and publish directly into our brains shall we? Let's stream story-forms to our liminal cortex and mainline creativity! Let's unlearn everything we thought we knew about words, pictures, motion, sound, and the mediums we know so well, because the more we can forget the more open we can be - open to styles, innovation, invention, magic, and poetry carved out of light and pumped at our eye-receptacles as wave/particles.
I'm actually not joking!
Revolutions require us to wake up. We KNOW we are consumers. We KNOW that we are only very SLIGHTLY free. We KNOW that every little liberty is being stripped bit by bit from us by a constructed media narrative intent on making us paranoid and afraid to speak up. We know that we are watched, and studied, and judged, and that we are mostly revenue-generating engines for creatures that look, sound and seem just like us, but long ago stopped giving any kind of a damn.
I don't care if you are right-wing, left-wing, liberal, socialist, conservative, religious or a non-believer - you conform to the above. And it's NOT good.
The artistic revolution I refer to is about progress in a changing world, and we CAN make a difference.
These are your weapons:
Your imagination is entirely your own. It's like a muscle. You can grow it, exercise it, and make it more powerful.
Just as you may buy an album for one song, but after a few months your favorite song is the one you least liked - probably because it is the most difficult, most challenging track. The one with a tricky structure, complex rhythm changes, deep lyrical content - great art and great stories can take time to appreciate. You have to work hard to attain the rewards. This is also true of literature. The books I loved and enjoyed the most have generally not been the books that made me a better writer or reader. I love a by-the-numbers fantasy or sci-fi romp, but it's reading James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Herman Melville that pushed me towards new ways of thinking. They helped me grow.
Read smart, view and review smart, and don't carve your opinions in stone.
You do NOT need to be any kind of intellectual to grow as an artist or writer. I was a very average achiever academically, but I've chosen to spend a good portion of my life learning whatever I can. Indeed I have discovered a love of knowledge, a need to be as widely informed as I can be.
When I refer to history I mean it in the sense that people too readily seal themselves in a point in time. Generally some point between their early teens and mid-twenties I believe, a point during which most beliefs are set in stone - if you LET them be! (And I strongly advocate that you don't!) Allowing yourself to remain trapped in a point in time, a perceived 'perfect' spot, where nothing can be improved upon is a guaranteed way to kill creativity. 'If it ain't broke, yadda yadda...'
I cry bullshit.
History, and the knowledge of it, allows you to see progress, the steps that led to all the things you love - and maybe also hate. To some comic readers, artists and writers there was no time before print comics. There was no time before comics! They are perceived as perfection, and should be left alone - even if they were better in the 70s/80s/90s/etc. before the modern creators "raped my childhood"... Change, ever the villain!
Learn about ART, the birth of literature, drama, comedy, sequential storytelling, the strength of the political cartoon, the incredible, devastating power of a few well constructed words.
Don't believe anybody in assumed authority is automatically RIGHT. Grow your own mind.
And BE STRONG ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOUR VIEWS - and I mean that about EVERYTHING.
We need to look out for each other.
That sounds so simple, but it really isn't! It require dedication!
An example - some ten years ago myself and a few of my fellow creators realized that there was a meme perpetuated on comic journals, forums, news sites, etc. that meant that the same ten or twenty creators appeared on all the lists of top creators, almost without exception. They still do. We KNEW that many of the best of our peers NEVER MADE IT ONTO THOSE LISTS, even successful ones. We looked about, mutually appreciating the fact that for whatever reason we did not circulate in these hallowed groups. Some of us had come close, but our moment in the sun had quickly passed. Others had NEVER been truly appreciated, no matter how brilliant. It seemed wrong to us!
So we made a loose pact - that we would each mention the other, start NEW lists. Subvert the corporate system, the mainstream narrative, and inspire people to look at artists that truly deserved the respect of fandom, the critics, and the medium at large.
I have to say, almost to a man they never followed through. But I can hand on heart say that I did, and I can also say I've seen it make a real difference. I've made it part of my routine to plug those underdogs, to share their art, to sing the praises of those that have shared my journey and inspired me.
It is IMPERATIVE that we all do this, otherwise there is no shout. There is no new discovery of greatness outside of the monied and well-trodden systems already so long in place. We fail before we even begin.
Plug the artists you love! Share their work. Be a patron!
(Note: re. Patronage - I am happy to say I see some fantastic patronage on dA. It's one of the things I love about it.)
This week there will be a HUGE opportunity for all creators, if we play it right. I'm very excited to see what happens next...