The beauty of art is found in the way the artist expresses his/her thoughts or emotions through his/her work. Each artist develops their own style and is known for it. During the Renaissance period where science and art were blooming, great artists like Da Vinci, Degas, and Michelangelo developed their own unique way of doing their art. Apart from being beautiful in itself, their work somehow emulates the artist’s personality. It seems that a part of the artist is being left in the art itself. Let’s take Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa for example, you cannot look at the Mona Lisa without thinking of Da Vinci himself. His personality is embedded in his work so strong that one can easily identify his work. Edgar Degas the founder of impressionism, introduced us to the first concept of contemporary subject matter, in every brush of oil or etch of pastel you can you can feel their passion and emotion as if you were in the room watching a masterpiece unfold.

However, when digital technology took the world by storm, the way people approached art also changed. With the emergence of digital art and artistic apps and software. Today, paintings aren’t just drawn on walls, paper, or canvas, but are now created in artistic programs that enable everyone to find their inner artist.

While that idea sounds good since everyone now can express themselves through art, (I’m always advocating self-expression) a problem also arises with it – it creates a vast sea of “art”. The internet is now flooded with countless artworks, whether that be graphics, painting, music, or literature, they’re all over the internet. So, what’s the problem here? Just like any sea, it creates waves that go in specific directions you can’t control or fight against. Nowadays, art styles are dictated by trends, forcing artists to come up with works that go along that trend. Artists are forced to meet market demands rather than freely express themselves. This causes some artists to lose their identity and view their work more of a mainstream commodity rather than a passionate expression of themselves. The brilliant and creative minds of true artists are being overwhelmed by those that don’t value art but prefer to get the “free download” option and vectored into “what’s in demand”. (R.I.P Here lies a star that should have shone brightly. The light was taken too soon.)

“Through art, an artist speaks and creativity is their strength.”

For years, stock art has been the staple behind marketing campaigns. Because there’s a trend to follow, some creatives, just to go with that flow, tend to take ideas from what’s in demand and incorporate them in their work rather than letting their own imagination and personality resonate in their art. Artists are forced to be mechanical rather than being expressive. This results in a lot of work looking very much the same, with no real artist identifiers. This is the personification of cookie-cutter. Though it gives room for creativity, it quenches originality. It denies an artist to develop a style of his own. It limits those with brilliant ideas and creativity within a box of what’s in. Because it’s a vast sea, it’s difficult to create waves or trends. Following the wave seems to be the practical thing to do. Artists are being forced to be cutters when they themselves are cookies.

We said a while ago that when art started to bloom a few hundred years ago, artists simply expressed themselves and let their soul speak through their art. Unfortunately, we rarely see that today, or should I say it’s hard to find, much like the way light pollution limits our ability to see the beautiful stars that envelop our night sky. In order to truly see these stars, shine brightest, we need to go off-grid, to remote places, and go against the current. Or, maybe, we need to turn off the light of what’s in for us to see these bright stars shining in our midst. True art and artistic expression challenge us to think, it embodies life, feeling, emotion, experiences and takes us to a transcendent place. How can this happen if trends dictate what they should do?

It’s time for artists to redeem their artistic freedom. Remember, the stars belong to the night sky. Stars shine the brightest with their own light. Artists are like stars. They’re supposed to shine, inspire, and illuminate us. Let us not let their brilliance like stars sink in a sea of art.

David Nordlund

Author David Nordlund

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