The first thing I thought of as I was reading this was the quote, “Amateurs borrow, professionals steal”. If the world was really judged solely by if it were “First Word Art” then we’d all be screwed, not everyone is Haydn or the flip side Beethoven in the music world, or Da Vinci in fine arts, or the Beatles in pop music, or Steve Jobs for Apple.
For me, I don’t consider myself even close to a creative genius, which I believe contributes to creating either First Word Art, or Last Word Art, one offs basically. But I definitely consider myself creative because I’ve always enjoyed drawing and playing music ever since I could remember. It began with learning classical piano, then taking art classes, then loving to draw anime (seriously), then switching to the Trombone, then learning Jazz Trombone, then taking my first graphic design classes, and now today, where I express myself through design style drawing and most of all photography. My interests are obviously not about mastery and delving deep into one area, but learning across instruments and ways to draw. I find that whenever I start with a blank canvas, whether it’s the beginning to a jazz improvisation or a new illustrator document, my first thought is thinking about all the work that has already been produced, especially the masters. Then I think, what can I offer? How can I still be novel? And the answer is usually through developing and honing a voice as well as understanding one’s world values. The latter is still a work in progress, but now being a third year design student and having so much more experience seeing what others have already done, I find that I’m “borrowing” less and less from others.
Another quote that First Word Art and Last Wort Art reminds me of is original work. Paul Rand, a famous graphic design who designed the IBM logo once said, “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” I think this quote is more relevant than ever now that the internet and social media provide a platform to share content and see each other’s lives. It’s becoming harder and harder to stand out when everyone is learning from each other and sometimes knocking off from other people’s styles on platforms like Instagram and Tumblr. Aside from all the plagiarism and copyright problems the internet has caused, I personally think the internet has allowed for people to find new outlets of expression and do innovative work. It does constantly feel like there is a lot of First Word Art being produced because people are getting so good at their hobbies and using new technology.
Overall I think what I’m trying to say is that I think the internet and technological advancements have shaped our culture to become more creative and collaborative. I think it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to google Beethoven and also hear about how a new kid, like Joey Alexander is the “next big thing”, even a reincarnation of past legends. We can constantly get inspiration and feedback from each other to product our best work. Some people are just better at thinking and design and drawing and painting with more innovative techniques and naturally produce First or Last Word Art. I think a lot of people might get caught up between being the first or last because they want to be acknowledged or remember. In the end, the truly great artists are just focusing on their work, and it’s really up to how his or her work affects people on an emotional level that allows his or her work to transcend beyond eras.