I know I'm not the only person who's noticed this. The quality of the
furry art archives on the net has really been taking a nosedive. Oh,
sure, the quality artists still put things up at much the same rate they
always have... but now, their work is lost in a sea of hideousness.
Part of this can probably be attributed to my own growing skill - I
recently looked at a sketchbook from three years ago, and was absolutely
apalled at what I used to think was good. But even given that my own
personal standards have risen a few notches, the ratio of images I
actually care enough about to even glance at the thumbnail,
much less bother to really view, has declined sharply.
Why? The best theory I've come up is what seems to be best described as
'the refrigerator door syndrome'. Remember when you were a little kid?
You'd draw something that you thought was REALLY NEAT and show it to
your parents. And sometimes they'd agree, and it'd get stuck to the
fridge door with a magnet. Eventually, the whole fridge was probably
covered with your drawings. Or the parts of it that didn't have coupons,
cartoons clipped from the paper, or a wipe-off note board, at least.
More and more people uploading to Yerf or Velan seem to have the notion
that the archive is an extension of their refrigerator door, and that
everyone will have the same taste as their parents.
And a lot of these people also seem to be under the impression that
quantity equals quality. And that you have to upload something at least
This attitude is - and there's really no way to get around it - one that
seems to be exclusively the posession of completely untrained artists in
their early teens. I'm not saying they should all stop drawing; I
stank a lot more than most of them at that age! (and quantity does
ultimately equal quality, if you actually engage in any self-criticism -
but that's another rant, about people who somehow manage to draw frequently
for years on end and never get the slightest bit better) But even if the
Internet and cheap scanners had been available to me at that age, I
wouldn't have been clogging the archives with my scribblings, because I
knew enough to ask myself a few questions:
- Would anyone besides my parents and my friends really want to see this?
- Could I show this to my parents without being mortally embarassed?
- Am I even proud of this myself?
For much of what I see on the archives, I suspect the answer to all three
questions is possibly 'no'. I know that the third one is often
answered 'no'; I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I've
seen an image description that said something to the effect of 'I think
this kinda sucks, but I uploaded it anyway ^_^'. Usually in more eccentric
orthography. And every time I see that, I wonder what sort of reasons drive
someone to do that. If I think a drawing sucks, I don't let
anyone see it. If it's terrible, but a funny in-joke, I'll
e-mail it to the people who'll understand it.
I don't even want to really touch on 'art' that answers 'no' to the first
TWO questions. That's one thing Yerf has over Velar, at least. One
only has to slog through endless 'I was bored in maf. I hate maf.'
drawings to see something worth looking at, not through crudely-drawn
schitzoid images of seven-penised hermaphrodite Pokémon rape fantasies.
The net isn't your refrigerator door. Your own private homepage is, if
you really want it to be. But an archive isn't. Come on. If you think
enough of your art to put it out for anyone and everyone to see, don't
you have enough pride to ask yourself those three questions about it?
-aug 14 1999