CRAFT’s PATINA. – By @LagoonLynx


Today I’d like to share several little reflections/thoughts I had towards craft !

As I was listening to a podcast about creativity (from Ben Nevert’s channel, if you understand French, have a listen, I had a lovely time myself. The guests’ approach to creativity is quite different from the one thought at SCAs ! )

The raper Kikesa reflected on the fact that he had already been accused of copying others, but that he actually had never listened to the artist he was accused of copying ! He explained that by the fact they were using the same software as him to build their sound, and that it was inevitable that there would be similarities in their work. 

This really struck me, how the fact that because we all use the same softwares, artists and creative people’s works sometimes get a homogeneous feel or polish ! 

I also notice that when we’re so used to using a particular tool, when we can’t figure out how to get a certain effect with it, we might just give it up. Or even worse, our thought process and craft are influenced by what we think we can get from it or know to obtain !

To counter that effect, I find that combining different tools and trying to give our work a certain patina by using unusual combinations of softwares, really helps. I like to think of it as working with a piece of wood: you want to buff it a little, give it a nice coating, so that it’s surface feels a bit worn.

Mixing digital with more « manual » crafts, like painting or modeling, is also something that gives a really unique and emotional feeling to things. I personally find works that have been through a « by hand » process have more charm ! 

It also made me realize the importance of understanding how a software internally works. Also, that makes the happy incidents reproductible, and those can be refined later ! 

Going through all of this also gives the atmosphere of your work something that is not easily imitable ! 

For instance Nicholas Law’s abstract illustrations have a grain, a texture so peculiar, it really stand outs from other works made in Adobe Illustrator. 

I also find that using Pinterest too much, just makes me notice and get inspired by work that has been circulating and so that many other people have already seen. Even as great as the inspiration is, if every one uses it it just becomes ubiquitous and overseen. And also at some point I end up stumbling upon visuals, ideas, that resemble something that I had in mind and I end up not doing it. 

That echos the point I made above, and also kicks me into using that ressource less and making more.  

As a result I find myself searching for inspiration in old books more ! Old travel photography are my favorites, as well as illustrated children’s book from the 50s-60s. For instance Mary Blair, Alex Steinweiss, or Jim Flora ! It opens you up to old illustration styles, and they also are full of interesting graphic details that can be interesting to pick up on to give a piece of work more authenticity.

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