The perils of being unique

A while back I was reading about an interesting study where people were subliminally exposed to a certain image, and then asked to choose their preferred image from a series of images. As you might suspect, they tended to choose the image they were subliminally exposed to. In academic terms, they were “primed” for the image. Generally speaking, we’re just saying people like what is familiar to them, even if they don’t know that it’s familiar.

This, of course, is a concern to anyone who wants to make non-derivative art, be it paintings, music, writing, movies etc. If you look at the marketplace, it’s easy to see that people prefer what they are familiar with. Musically speaking, you can separate Katy Perry from Lady Gaga or Ke$ha, but the difference between them isn’t equal to the distance between the Beatles and Beethoven. From a broad view, those pop artists basically sound the same. Similarly, you can buy three dozen different watercolor paintings of a sunset, and, while there will be some differences, generally speaking they’re all the same. Pop music, almost by definition, isn’t made to challenge the viewer. Neither are nature paintings designed to be consumed by rich middle-class housewives who want to feel like they understand “art.”

For someone such as myself, interested in creating unique and unusual artistic projects, this notion spells doom. People will always gravitate towards mediocre and predictable drivel, as opposed to my cutting-edge offerings. Thus I will live my life in the shadows of obscurity and probably die from syphilis.

I hate everybody.

1 Response to “The perils of being unique”


  1. John Saleeby

    The Amazon Library is a . . . Oh, I’m commenting in the wrong place! Ha ha ha! Boy, am I a mess or what? And I’m too lazy to start all over again in the comments for the Amazon Library post. Oh, well – Another great big waste of time for me! Hey, I read your first Honey Laurn interview from 2001 yesterday. It was pretty good until she started talking about how “cute” Ben Stiller is. GIRLS!