Conservative Artists versus Liberal Artists

BUT FIRST, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS: Oops! Sorry about missing the comic on Friday. I’m gonna take care of it on Saturday and try to post it as soon as possible. I expect that Monday and Wednesday’s comics, the last two, should appear on the site on time. And just as a general reminder that I like repeating… once these last three pages of Chapter Six are posted, I’m not gonna work on any new pages (namely the start of Chapter Seven) until after The Alternative Press Expo, which is on November 1st and 2nd.

… And now, back to the show! …

Now I don’t mean liberal art as in “Liberal Arts“, the almost useless college major. My angle is more to describe a kind of artist. Now from my point of view there are two different kinds of artists. I mean, well, there are millions of kinds of artists out there, but you can organize those artists according to gender, race, and so forth. One of the ways I feel you can organize artists is into two extremes, Conservative Artists and Liberal Artists.

Conservative Artists use art as an ends to a mean. The end result of the artist’s efforts is to produce a piece of artwork for its own sake. Furthermore, Conservative Artists see art (be it design, cartooning, etc) as a job, a task, or something not to be taken beyond its face value.

Liberal Artists use art as a means to an end. The end result of the artist’s efforts is to invoke an emotion or share an idea through artwork. Furthermore, while I’m sure Liberal Artists wouldn’t mind making a living off their work, its purpose is meant to be beyond those kinds of concerns.

Of course, neither two ends are meant to be better than the other, they are just the opposite of each other (obviously). Most artists will end up seeing their work or themselves as anywhere between those two points. I see myself leaning heavily towards the Liberal side.

Categorizing artists into these two categories is the only way I can account for some of the observations I’ve made on that of my other artist friends and cohorts. On one hand, I have an artist like… well, myself (though not to toot my own horn here), where they are not afraid to try something different or new, partly for its own sake or for the sake of going against the grain, but also maybe to apply it to ones own artwork. On the other hand, I’ve noticed many artists creating art for its own sake, not for some deeper meaning or purpose, but just to show off a pretty picture… and maybe even because they are afraid to, or even refuse to, try something new or different, to go against the grain. Most of the artists I’ve seen on art sites like deviantART are more of the Conservative Artist type, as most of their work is pretty pictures or stuff that isn’t meant to be much beyond the surface. Then there are artists like many musicians who use their music as an outlet for their feelings or deeper emotions.

Like I said I tend to lean heavily towards the Liberal side. I’ve been using my artwork as an outlet for my own life experiences, and, to a considerable degree, I’ve been allowing myself to take on new experiences that I was at once afraid to do, for the sake of it and to also apply that knowledge to my artwork. In the past though I, in retrospect, was more of a Conservative artist, creating piece of artwork which was really pretty but nothing else past that. No deeper meaning, no application of experiences, I was just creating art to create art.

What d’you guys think? Do you see artists as being Conservative or Liberal like this? Is there maybe even a third type within this framework??

3 Responses to “Conservative Artists versus Liberal Artists”

  1. Tom Says:

    “Most of the artists I’ve seen on art sites like deviantART are more of the Conservative Artist type, as most of their work is pretty pictures or stuff that isn’t meant to be much beyond the surface.”

    Try telling THEM that. I’m sure you’d find yourself vigorously opposed.

    “Furthermore, Conservative Artists see art (be it design, cartooning, etc) as a job, a task, or something not to be taken beyond its face value.”

    Sez WHO?? Where on God’s grey earth is this coming from?

  2. mayor of moose river Says:

    TOM:
    Keep in mind that I’m not using “Conservative” or “Liberal” in the political sense. They were just the first most appropriate set of contrasting words that came to mind; I wanted to just separate two extremes of these kinds of artists: the ones who create art for its own sake, and those who create art for a reason that isn’t “for its own sake”. For all that matters, I could have easily called the two extremes “Alpha/Omega” or “Green/Orange”; again, the point was NOT to apply any political connotations to them.

    “Try telling THEM that. I’m sure you’d find yourself vigorously opposed.” – Opposed? Yes. Nor do they have to like what I’ve said. But it doesn’t mean my observations are any less valid. I’m not trying to paint with a wide brush here, as I’m sure there are plenty of dA’rtists who aren’t just surface artists. But I have observed that more dA’rists than not post artwork onto deviantART that was created JUST for its own sake.

    ….

    “Sez WHO?? Where on God’s grey earth is this coming from?”

    Sez me! :3 I think you’re misinterpreting the point of this post. Though it would help if I stated an important fact of my belief system in which this “Conservative/Liberal” artist theory was built upon.

    This is probably the most important observation I’ve made about the nature of the universe: there are no rules in the universe, other than the laws of physics and this rule itself. Nothing, other than this statement, is defined by the universe. And no force exists in the universe that will enforce anything other than the laws of physics.

    Now how anyone wishes to take this point about the universe is up to them; nothing’s gonna stop them from doing so anyway. *I*, however, tend to take this as meaning that we all are absolutely unrestricted in saying and doing whatever we wish. In turn, it means that I can and will do whatever the hell I want to, regardless of what people say I should or shouldn’t be doing, simply because nothing can stop me… unless someone happens to use the laws of physics against me. If you haven’t already noticed, I’ve been using this to my own advantage for some time now, particularly whenever I discuss my place in the world of (web)comics.

    Now concerning this whole post about “Conservative/Liberal Artists”, the point of this post was just to share a theory of mine based on an observation I made. Furthermore, I made this statement with the understanding that:
    * No force exists in the universe that can give my statements any sort of authority, or more authority than that of anyone else’s observations about the same issue
    * Conversely, because no force exists to defend or enforce one statement over another, nothing can stop me from making these statements! Mwahahahah!!!

    The point of the matter is… by you asking me “Sez WHO??”, I say “Sez me!” Just because no “authority” has been given to me to say what I have, it doesn’t mean I’m not “allowed” to! Nothing in the universe outside of the laws of physics is defined, so we’re left to make our own definitions. We are also free to accept or not accept whatever definitions other people have made because, remember, nothing exists to prevent anyone from doing anything.

  3. Tom Says:

    Hey, I KNEW the answer would be “sez me”. :) I just felt like asking the question…

    As someone who works at a place that essentially makes TV guides for cable companies, I know all about “art”-as-means-to-an-end…

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