Monday, January 6, 2020

"It is also the definition of practice"

From an interview with Beeple:
Do you read the comments or care about how the picture has been received by your followers?

No, I try very hard not to read the comments and look at how many likes my posts are getting. I feel like feedback on the internet is not super helpful. It’s very unfiltered. You don’t know where that feedback is coming from. It could be coming from some 12-year-old kid who you don’t know, and if you saw that person in the real world and saw that they know nothing about art, then it’s like, “Why the fuck would I listen to their comments on this?” That’s just noise.

On the other side of that, you know when you’ve got X amount of followers, undoubtedly, a bunch of people will like whatever you post. It’s not super helpful either to hear, “Oh man, this is fucking great” when I know it’s not amazing. I know I’ve totally phoned that in, and in my mind, it’s a total piece of shit. So when you hear all these people being like, “No, it’s fucking amazing,” it makes you think that your shit doesn’t stink in a way, and it fucks with your head and makes you not try as hard. I don’t want to get into that fucking mindset that anything I do is fucking amazing. Nah. I know when I’ve tried hard and there was some breakthrough or things clicked.

The thing that’s helped me is that I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and I can assure you, those followers accumulated very slowly over the years. For the first three years, nobody was fucking looking at this shit. Nobody. And before I started posting art on social media, I was just posting on my website, and I know damn well, only two people saw it there. So I think I got very lucky in that it was never, “Oh shit, all of a sudden, a million people are fucking looking at me.” It’s gone up gradually, so I’ve been able to mentally build some resilience throughout that.


Were you born with a really strong imagination, or is that a muscle you’ve been working?

In general, art is a numbers game. People don’t have a lack of ideas; they have a lack of deadlines. When you have a deadline every single day, you will have no choice but to come up with an idea. I think everybody has way more ideas inside them than they realize. Going up to bat every day, I feel you can game the system, in that when you put out a lot of work, X number of things are bound to click with people. I think it also helps you iterate and hone in on these ideas. These are ideas that I’ve slowly developed over the course of years.