Being a true artist is a veritable obstacle course that only the seasoned and most inspired can tackle with grace; like
an all-pro linebacker chasing school children around a cobblestone playground. You see, there are so many variables,
options and stages that connect when creating true art.
There’s the conceptual stage; where you throw darts at a board overfilled with celebrity names, genres, and pictures of
Paul Ryan’s disembodied face. In truth, this is where you decide just what it is you are looking to create. Is it music? Film, perhaps?
Maybe you’d like to write a novel but give up halfway through because you’re a layabout with no motivation. Whatever
it is, you decide here just what medium best suits your future creation. I’ve heard the argument that video games aren’t
art, but that’s utter cowshit; video games employ many art forms at once to make something cohesive. The Super Mario
Brothers is one of the finest modern examples of surrealism. Journey gathers music, personal connection
and art direction to gain an emotional response from the player(s). I literally choked up and was physically forced to wipe
more than one flowing tear from my cheek at the conclusion. So let’s go ahead and end that argument right here: Visual
direction, story direction, music composition, and more are all a part of games. All of those things are art, therefore
games are indeed art.
This stage is relatively simplistic in execution and yet many people will find themselves lost here. The trick is to
know your limits and understand your abilities. Too often are we artistically dumbfounded by the likes of Lil’ Waynes,
Michael Bays and Dane Cooks. You see, these people create “art” that is better left in a compositional notebook; adorned
with bic-inked hearts and “DO NOT READ” in sharpie etched across the blank space on the cover. Where did they go wrong?
They decided to take the stage with their private journals and allow us all a one way ticket into their babbling brains.
I say a “one-way ticket” because after viewing, listening or reading such material, there’s no going back. Well, perhaps
there is, but I presume the cost of therapy would be astronomical.
The next stage is, at once, the most beautiful and disastrous. The most fulfilling and soul-crushing. This stage is
completely up to you. No guidelines, no rules, no plutocratic government telling you that you aren’t legally granted the
honor to marry the one person on this earth you most love. Since you both carry the same reproductive organs. This is it;
create something. Though you are free to will your ideas forcefully all over these metaphorical (or literal) pages of your
art, you are not immune to pretension, idiocy, or incoherence.
I see pretentious art everywhere. I attribute this to a clear lack of love or understanding regarding subject matter,
or art form in general. For example, you may see a Hollywood produced horror film and, upon reaching the conclusion, mutter
to yourself, “Well that was a load of elephant dicks.” You may see a “B”-horror film and think, “Aside from some poorly
executed acting and lack of budget, that was pretty good.” Finally, you may see an indie horror film and recall, “That
was such a pretentious pile of Republican political platforms, I feel like vomiting.” What inspires these reactions?
Well in Hollywood we have budgets, real actors (who still may or may not be able to act appropriately), yet we also have
a lack of artistic integrity, and a film produced merely on the hopes that it will earn lots of money. We also get to
enjoy that lack of love and understanding I mentioned earlier. Oft-times, the film’s creators are ill-equipped to
produce something of any real artistic value.
In indie horror, we experience a smaller budget, typically better (but less attractive) actors, and ideas that stem from
that lack of love and understanding regarding the genre. The film’s writer and director usually take a fairly convoluted
or incredibly trite plot, but throw their own personal ideologies in there to make some sort of point. Typically it’s hard
to follow and the point comes across as incoherent babbling. The same sort of babbling that Clint Eastwood did at the
recent Republican National Convention.
With B-horror, we’re more likely to witness artistic integrity, original concepts, and love, passion and understanding
regarding the material and genre. These films usually suffer, however, from a clear lack of budget, lack of proffesional
actors and an underqualified film crew.
We of course get exceptions all across the board here, but these are the results I most often see. Let me also make
the distinction between independent horror films and “indie” horror films. It’s much like the music industry here.
Independent film is something released free of obligation to a large movie studio. An indie film has a dark, black
aura surrounding it. Similar to the aura surrounding Mitt Romney’s tax record. “Indie” is essentially a genre itself.
It may be free from the constraints and demands of a large studio, but it carries with it a disease called pretension.
It is filmed to purvey the stylistic visions and ideology of its creators. With little attention given to the script or
story. It cries out to its viewers, “I AM ART! WITNESS ME FOR MY ARTISTIC SIGNIFICANCE! INTERPRET ME AS YOU WILL, BUT BE
FOREWARNED THAT YOUR INTERPRETATION IS PROBABLY WRONG!” The point was to be artsy, not to tell a story or make an engaging
piece of cinema.
This is a major problem in the world of art today. Art is emotion personified; painted, written, filmed, performed. Don’t
tarnish your creation with your own ego. There’s a reason The Running Man is my favorite film of all time and I’d rather
fist myself with brass knuckles than watch Lady in the Water one more goddamned time. Please keep this in mind for future
reference. Perhaps one day we can avoid pretentious horseshit and talentless art altogether.