I had the pleasure of speaking at a few panel discussions recently and it was alarming the number of students who were concerned with what the audience wants them to create. Several questions shot at me revolved around what the industry appreciates, how can their work be ‘liked’ by people and how could they be at par with industry standards. The last questions is one I have the least problem with, because, as a young professional one looks up to several existing artists and their work. However, the problem starts when kids who should be identifying what they like are more concerned about what they should like or who likes their work. Why as a generation are we susceptible to knowing what the people around us want, instead of thinking about what it is that we want to do and achieve, where we wish to take our craft or what creative milestones challenge us the most. As an individual and an independent mind.
In a lot of cases, public surveys and understanding needs, trends, the general trajectory of unanimous ‘likes’ have been proven to be successful, providing important insights. However, such knowledge seldom creates anything beyond repetitive content and unnecessary uniformity in art. Easily, one is swayed by what is popular, instead of what one personally gravitates towards naturally; which may very well be unseen, unheard of and unassuming. Isn’t the latter the much more exciting route to pursue? The possibility of creating something new, never seen before, something which originated from a place of honesty.
How are we growing and challenging our audience to grow with us, if we concentrate on reiterations instead of uniqueness? The unique thought, a phenomenon already, seemingly extinct; due to over-sharing and abundance of information; struggles to be used more often. The creation of something genuinely new, cannot have an audience yet, because it has, in fact, never been seen by an audience. However, it comes with the prospect of attracting a new type of people to your craft and also the invaluable opportunity of allowing your audience to grow with you.