Art is a means of expression, art is a tool for communication, art is craftsmanship, but most importantly, good art must be effectively poignant to the beholder. This is, why when analyzing the effectiveness of an artwork, craftsmanship takes a backseat to the subjective emotionality of the onlooker. This is why an artist’s skill with a creative medium is merely a tool and not a metric for the quality of one’s work.
What is an Art-Leech?
The subjective nature of art, unfortunately, creates a climate wherein creative spheres can be endlessly exploited by what I call art-leeches: Misfits, outcasts and every shape of inadequate person who takes claim of creative domains like a cancer. Art-leeches are the self-deluding ego-driven people who inherently want nothing more than to be better than the society that rejected them (or in reality just doesn’t think of them at all).
These are the people who will never actually try to compete with their successful counterparts directly, whether it be in the job or dating market, because that would mean putting their egos on the line and facing reality. Instead these people will immerse themselves in creative spaces where, what is “good”, what is “skilled”, what is “right”, are all completely subjective and when questioned or threatened they can respond by simply rolling their eyes and saying something along the lines of “you just don’t understand art”.
It’s not a coincidence these people tend to be math and science avoidant, sport avoidant and virtually completely competition avoidant. I digress, this does not account for legitimate artists, whether they work in music, film, paints, etc… as it is not uncommon to see the people who are actually skilled in one field excel in many other fields as well. Conversely, art-leeches condemn all forms of mastery and challenge. It’s worth observing how they attempt to garner reverence and social standing through the manipulation of others and through self-deception. Let these people serve as an allegory for the dangers of cognitive dissonance manifested by cowardice and an unchecked ego.
Why it Matters
I recognize that I am creating a caricature here so I’d like to stipulate that from being a true artist to an art-leech is a spectrum. One may have some discipline and skill and still hold some art-leech characteristics. My goal is simply to clarify these unsavory and potentially damaging characteristics so as to arouse the consciousness of the reader that they may identify these toxic behaviors and address them head-on.
While we should all be entitled to a sense of community, it is to the detriment of everyone when art-leeches manipulate creative spheres, deluding themselves and others in an attempt to establish superiority. And while it’s true that “good” art should evoke thought or feeling (the more poignant the better), inevitably the factors of skill and craftsmanship do come into play and therefore can’t be precluded from discussion as the art-leeches would have it.
It would be nice to think we can just laugh at these pretentious losers and go our own way, but sadly it is these people that give the art world a bad name. It is these people that alienate well-adjusted and challenge-seeking individuals from undertaking creative pursuits. When art is reduced to self-indulgent, emotional expression that is somehow exempt from being criticized, compared or evaluated, it kills incentive, it kills originality and ultimately it strangles artistic-expression in its cradle, robbing the world of all that it could be.