The internet is truly an incredible blessing, can I just say? I’ve met some of my closest and best friends online. While friends in grade school came and went, often disappearing after graduation with little interaction other than a facebook like or two, the people I met online seem to truly last. Maybe its that distance that strengthened the bond, but looking back on it, there are some people online who I’ve known for over 10 years. We talk from time to time, and every time we do, it’s like the day we first met. We get to watch each other grow as artists and as individuals, and we seem to be more interested in one another’s lives despite months, even years of not talking in between.
I don’t get this feeling with some acquaintance friends from school. With facebook, it seems ‘too easy’ for them to just pop in and drop a like or two and disappear again without ever having to truly interact with me. But my friends I’ve met on Deviantart, Oekaki forms, and even good ol IRC Chats, have been lasting figures in my life.
Maybe I’m sounding like an old fart right about now, but it’s truly interesting to see how the internet has grown and shaped the social world for better or worse. With the EASE of things, comes a lack of value for that thing. Pen pals form tighter bonds than facebook friends, simply because there was value to that form of limited conversation. The few words that could be shared, were treasured; every one. Limitations strengthened value, and call me old fashioned, but I think I miss it.
Anonymous asked: so WHAT were the dogs doing to Heinrich and Johann?!??!?!?!
Same thing the girls were doing in their dreams… though XD WHY is the question. ohohoho XDD
Art as a Commodity- an exploration of the relationship between artist and buyer
I’ve worked in the commission world for a little over seven years now, and I’ve found the dynamics of the culture to be a psychologically intriguing one.
For those who don’t know me, I’m mostly known in the furry subculture as a fetish artist despite my personal projects being far more serious, and frankly lesser known. I’ve come to terms with this over time, as it’s the nature of art. People are far more likely to search for things related to their favorite fandoms, than searching the names of your original characters and stories that they’ve never heard about. Thus fanart & commissions will always excel in popularity over personal projects. But let’s get past that and dig deeper into why.
There is something to be said about the difference between personal art and commissioned art. Besides the obvious ones being passion vs commercialism, it has to do with the mentality of the viewer and the buyer. Now I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum as a commissioner and a commission artist, and I never used to understand the former until I began to buy pieces for myself. In the buyer’s world, art is a commodity, a fixation, and in the furry community more so than anywhere else, it becomes a sense of status.
In no other subculture have I found this phenomenon, but it’s like the buyers become popular depending on the artist they get their character to be drawn from, and and how many times they can pop up in other artists’ galleries. In a way, it’s like buying popularity. You get to live vicariously through these other artists, soaking in the comments people give about a character that is expressed through one artist’s vision.
From the artist’s perspective: Some simply treat the art like work. They aren’t attached to it personally, others are so much a part of the community as well, that the job becomes the perfect mesh of their hobby and career. At least it’s like that for me. Even still, the idea of ‘buying fame’ is odd. I have received so many comments on my artwork, with people complimenting the buyer and what great ideas they have. Though it is not the intention of the commenter, sometimes I can feel a bit used, like the art is just something that popped out of a machine, and behold: its great creator, the one with the money. But isn’t that always the way? The director & producers get more attention than the individual artists who made their movies happen. Still, we do the art because we enjoy it, and for many of us pursuing it as a career, we -need- it. It’s not a matter of just getting a job anywhere, but to the artist, a large part of fulfilling our dreams is to be using our talents to be self-sufficient. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but there’s few things more satisfying than being able to use my hobby in the ‘real world,’ to pay the bills, especially those of us who have invested in a life-time’s worth of debt from art school.
From the buyer’s perspective: There is something to be said about seeing your characters come to life in other artist’s styles, and even more so when the artist enjoys drawing your character. There’s something so fulfilling when the artist is excited to draw your character/idea, a sense of pride and a feeling of importance. Conversely, there are times where I’ve commissioned people and sent a note about how much I love and appreciate their unique style, and all I get is the default bot response: “that’ll be $__, and you can send it to ___________.” I feel dirty ._. Like I did something wrong, like I’m graveling at the feet of some art god I’m too unworthy to kiss the feet of.
Why is that? Surely that’s not the intention of the artist, because I have been that artist who has had so many notes & inquiries that I wind up repeating myself and come off as mechanical. But I think it’s because people are attached to these characters, and in the furry community even more so, as they often commission their “fursona,” who is an embodiment of everything they are and stand for. So to be welcomed by artists who are happy to work with this fursona, it’s like being appreciated and welcomed themselves. To just be drawn with no conversation feels like you just paid for a quickie from a back-alley whore. XDDD Woah. Maybe that’s a bit colorful of an illustration, but I truly believe many buyers feel this way.
I’m not saying the artist is presenting themselves as the back-alley-whore artist, simply because they’re curt and to the point, but this is something that the buyer internalizes completely on their own simply due to their connection with the ‘product.’ It is like the difference between finding true love, and paying for contrived attention. Strange, isn’t it?
Not sure where I’m going with these musings, but I guess I’ll end on some advice.
To commission artists (especially in the furry community): Treat your clients like you would your friends. Unlike the freelance world, part of the satisfaction of the job is working in a subculture which you can be a part of. Establish a relationship with your client while still maintaining professionalism. You’re more likely to get repeat customers if you build relationships with them. It’s not something that can be forced, but is something to consider next time you shoot out a response to a commission inquiry. Don’t be fake, but try to let them know when you enjoy working with their character or idea. It may mean the very world to them n.n
To the commissioner: Artists are people too. Even the ones who present themselves mechanically and professionally, are human on the other end. We like to know that our art is appreciated even though you slapping down dollar bills should already imply that. We’re connected to our craft as much as you are connected to the character. Engaging the artist as an individual will establish a relationship with them, and may make them feel more excited about drawing your product. A happy artist is a good artist. In my experiences, the best commissions I’ve done are ones for clients with whom I’ve established a relationship with, even as simple as a few hellos and kind responses on the finished works. It’s not intentional, but is subconscious.
I hope this has been insightful if not entertaining for those of you who want to know more about the incredibly unique world that is commissioned art.