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Creator and Creation

Banes at 12:00AM, Feb. 8, 2024

The Quackcast this week was about the idea of defining or understanding the artist by looking at the creation. It's a fascinating topic, and I had a few thoughts that were left on the cutting room floor.

The cutting room floor, in this case, is my emptyish brain wot has scattered thoughts rattling around that t'weren't said aloud.

First thing is to say definitively is that I do not believe it's possible for a piece of art to define the person who created it. A human being is just too multifaceted to be defined on that basis. For one thing, We are many things, each of us. Our desires and priorities are many, and they often contradict each other. Add to that the fact that we all change over time, so a piece of art created at a given time is released and the human creator moves forward, most likely changing in many ways over time.

This raises the second thought - that an ongoing work or series of works, like a long-running series of novels, or newspaper cartoons, or many songs or plays - or of course, webcomics released over an extended period of time - THAT might have a better chance of revealing something about who their creator really is.

But not necessarily!

Even in a webcomic, where there is often not a financial pressure to continue, there is still the fact that many of us are playing to an audience. I know I am - I mean, I'm making what I want to make, but there is the knowledge that I'm working in some kind of genre (or a combination of a couple of genres), and trying to make something that will give the readers a certain experience. That absolutely comes into play in books, or movies, or albums of music, or standup comedy.

They might be quite authentic to the creator, but we can't ignore the fact that the stuff is being made to be enjoyed, or understood, or to get some kind of reaction out of an audience. There is probably a proper name for this, and an academic way to define it - but I don't know what it is.

Having said that, even works of art that are created for an audience, or being cranked out in great quantities, or trying to make a certain point or be successful or whatever - even those things can be revealing about at least SOME aspects of their creators. I think it's the stuff that the creator isn't even thinking about - the accidental revelations along the way - that stuff can show some part of the person behind the curtain.

I heard some famous producer/showrunner say about TV Talk show hosts that over time, doing a show like that every night, that they can't help but reveal who they really are over time. I can see the analog for standup comics, or people who write TV shows, books or comics or YouTube videos over a long period of time - it would be impossible for real bits of those personalities and worldviews to leak out over the course of time.

I definitely see certain running themes in my own comics - and there's probably stuff that I have no idea is even in there!

How about you?


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JohnCelestri at 7:34AM, Feb. 8, 2024

I've created art for both hire and personal projects: commercials/advertisements, animated TV shows and feature films, crime fiction novels, and personal comic strip stories. All have been aimed at different audiences. But I know my successful works have been those through which I've been allowed to express myself. It's not about me sending "messages" with my work, but rather me inserting/revealing a part of me into those characters/stories in an attempt to connect with the audience.

bravo1102 at 4:38AM, Feb. 8, 2024

The comment about learning the personality of a TV talk show host from their show is interesting. One of the best known TV talk show hosts was a very private man and most were totally surprised by revelations about his life after he died. Some creators wear their heart on their sleeve and others are not reflected in their work at all and many more somewhere in the middle.

Tantz_Aerine at 4:16AM, Feb. 8, 2024

Absolutely, everyone leaves their imprint in their work. That's unavoidable. I often consider it as a prism through which the work is shone, but exactly because we see the projection it's not always easy or even possible to see the prism. What we definitely can see is what the creator wants us to take from their work, which says something about them. What that is varies.

marcorossi at 4:05AM, Feb. 8, 2024

I think that we should make a distinction between the conscious "message" of a story and the unconscious signals. It is common to assume that there are unconscious signals in our communications (especially in art but not limited to it) and that a reader might try to understand/guess them. This is very difficult and ambiguous even when we speak of people we know personally since a lot of time. This is something different from the more explicit/conscious themes or messages of a story, which include the "catering to the audience" things.

TheJagged at 2:31AM, Feb. 8, 2024

Probably wouldn't take a psychologist to figure out most of the running themes in my work, lmao. Also i think i do whatever the opposite of catering to an audience is, i love when i manage to unsettle and upset people with my work. I *want* people to feel the ugly side of their emotions. Comfy art is for normies. :U Catering is something i only do on a technical level, like using a readable font for my text and fixing spelling errors. And sometimes not even that.

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