Round two of RantingRedHead! A weekly post by fashion artist Ashley Garner! This weeks topic: ARTSY. I hope you all enjoy this humorous, intelligent, and fantastic piece as much as I did. <3
The question of “artsy”
What the hell is artsy? Is it a state of mind, a lifestyle, a moment, a photo, a painting, a celebration or an insult? I always considered artsy to be a good thing, a compliment of sorts. Whenever I was told that I was “artsy” to me it meant that I was creative and pushing boundaries; exactly what I wanted to be doing. I saw the label of artsy as the highest label to have below that of a fine artist. But then one fateful day I saw a friend on facebook post a photo that was in black and white and not very interesting outside of a random shadow crossing their face and they captioned it as “I don’t know what I was trying to do but I felt like it came out artsy and wanted to share it.” Immediately I was pissed. First of all to put your interesting/bad photo out there for all the world to see and then claim that you “thought it was artsy” is such an intense insult to the art world that I don’t even know where to begin with that argument objectively.
If you are taking a photo I would hope that you consider that tool to be an art and thus the frame of your photo to be a canvas for your art piece. To claim that your photo is “artsy” should be redundant because it’s supposed to be artsy in the first place. So to say that you think your photo is artsy comes off to me as an insult, like it’s too creative, too out of the norm and you are embarrassed by it and don’t want to take full ownership of your out-of-the-box thinking.
After this one artsy encounter and eventually getting over it I had yet another one with yet another photographer. This photographer posted a photo that I considered to be incredible compared to all of their previous work. It was visually challenging, interesting, multi-faceted, and unrealistic and seemed to have a depth to it that would keep me staring at it for hours. Their caption for the photo went a bit like this, “I’ve been in a weird artsy mood lately….My mind is weird. Deal with it.” Now I had no issue dealing with the fact that the photo was a bit out of the norm but it was like they were trying to demean their “artsy-ness” to a negative connotation as being weird and misunderstood and all in all bad. I was once again offended and retaliated stating that I thought this photo was one of the best photos I’ve ever seen them create. They responded saying that they were glad that I liked it but it was too “artsy” to be accepted in fashion photography but they “hope to make it more so in their future”. WTF. I don’t accept this answer because to me fashion is an art and to demean fashion photography to not being artsy is like a slap in the face to its true artistic quality. I mean fuck, if the photographers who are documenting fashion claim that they don’t think artsy and fashion belong in the same category what the fuck is going on with fashion photography today?
Obviously there are exceptions to this rule but I am very concerned about the future of fashion photography and the interpretation of the word “artsy” as being a negative, un-marketable thing. There is no market without art and there is no art without market. I say let’s get together and make artsy the future of normal. Who’s in?