“Oversaturation” of Creative Fields

By Jaylin Paschal

I hear and read regular complaints regarding the “oversaturation” of the art world: Everyone thinks they’re a(n) ________________ now.

Which is arguably true. The sheer number of people who identify as “photographers” or “stylists” or “make up artists,” etc. has had to have dramatically increased within the last ten years.

And most people today connect being artistic or having an artistic eye directly to meaning that they’re an artist. Everything from iPhone photography to Pinterest board curation counts. But is this a good or bad thing?

It would be understandble if trained, invested or “serious” artists were frustrated with the current culture in which everyone shares their title. It not only makes it more difficult to distinguish oneself, but also relegates their craft to mundanity and mediocrity.

But, of course, everyone has the right to create and share. And calling yourself an artist is one of the simple pleasures of life. Denying someone that joy is petty at best and pretentious at worst. Think of actually saying “You’re not an artist, I’m an artist” aloud. No one would like you. You wouldn’t even like you.

So when I feel annoyed about everyone who’s penned a Twitter thread putting “writer” in their bio, I remember what Troy Carter said on the subject (CEO of Atom Factory) said at Spotify’s Opening Act HBCU Conference: The cream rises.

An idiom. A metaphor. A cliche. However you identify the saying. We’ve heard it before, we’ll hear it again.

Essentially, the best will always be able to separate itself from the average. No matter what additives, the cream will always rise. It’s a fact of nature, and art.

Which ultimately means that you’re most likely insecure or feeling threatened; concerned that you’re not the cream. Otherwise, why would other “small time” artists bother you at all? Why would others expressing interest in your field be so vexing to you?

Being an artist means welcoming open expression of everyone’s vision, while maintaining confidence in your own.

Jaylin PaschalComment