Why I deleted most of my pictures on DeviantArt

I’ve just gone through my DeviantArt gallery…and deleted almost all of the images in it.

Because, frankly, they just weren’t that good.

It’s not that I dislike them all, or that I wasn’t happy with them after I’d done them; I just don’t think the rest of the planet needs, or wants, to see them.

This was sparked by watching the film Sound City, which is very good (available on iTunes) and well worth watching. During the film Trent Reznor says;

“Now that everyone is empowered with these tools to create stuff, has there been a lot more great shit coming out? Not really. You still have to have something to do with those tools. You should really try to have something to say.”
(I found the quote typed out here)

It’s hard to argue with this. For years we’ve been provided with more and better tools to use the computer to produce art, much of it either very reasonably priced if not actually free. Video, graphics or music: anyone can now put their hands on tools which offer opportunities not even imaginable not so long ago. Digital cameras are really cheap with no costs in film and processing, and loads of people are now carrying ‘phones’ which offer great photography and video capabilities. There has never been a better time to use digital technology to be creative. But access to tools doesn’t equate with ability, just because anybody can make and share their art and music doesn’t mean that it’s worth sharing. Note that I said ‘worth sharing’, art and music are always worth making because the process of being creative is just good for a human being. Years ago I said to somebody I knew that I was a fairly dire 3 chord guitarist to which he replied “there’s nothing wrong with that…so long as you know that”.  On and off I’ve strummed for fun, but I’ve never thought my playing was something anybody else might want to hear.

Desktop publishing has allowed everybody to produce their own flyers and posters without the cost and time involved in getting a designer to put them together and a printer to produce them: but look at any notice board and while you’ll see loads of adverts for clubs, societies, small businesses and events most of them are actually not that nice to look at. They do the job, but they don’t do it elegantly. Think I’m being judgemental and snotty? Okay, take a magazine and find a print advert in it you like. Then go and look at the notice board in your university, or village hall or whatever and see how many of the flyers and posters look as good as that advert from the magazine. OK, so if you wanted to know when the flower arranging club meet or you’re looking for a band to see this evening all those amateur flyers are going to tell you that, but they’re not of the same standard as the professional ones. Because the professional ones have been put together by people who spent a lot of time learning what looks good and mastering the tools to achieve that. Youtube has hundreds of hours of video uploaded to it every minute: thousands of amateur filmmakers (though the term is now accepted to be ‘Youtubers’) producing content on a whole range of subjects which may be of interest. But once you get past the content how many of them have weird lighting, or poor framing, or piles of undone ironing in the background? When did you last see a professional video, or one done by a film school graduate with pairs of knickers drying on the radiator in the background without them needing to be there? You don’t because serious filmmakers know how they want their film to look, have the skills to understand how to achieve that, and put in the time and effort to make it happen.

Which brings me, via my inabilities as a guitarist to why I deleted most of my DA content. See, the reason I’m still after all this time a dire 3 chord guitarist is simply because I don’t apply myself to the guitar, I don’t study the theory and above all I don’t practice seriously. If I did those things then I’d improve. I listen to good players and don’t want to be that good, though a bit of me wishes I was better. Music is something I don’t really want to be better at enough. Graphics on the other hand I love, I look at the work of professionals and wish I could work to that standard. I wish I could live up to Trent Reznor’s idea of having something to say. So I took a long hard look at my stuff on DA and realised that most of it was either dull, or derivative, or badly conceived so I took it down. It’s still on my hard drive and many of them represent a lot of work and learning new techniques, but none of it really showed any skill, or vision, or had anything to say.

Maybe it’s time for us all to remember that being able to produce stuff isn’t the goal: having something to say is