Art & Advertising

The School of Life

I stumbled upon this video this morning, and it blew my mind. The video so effortless identifies what advertising does to us as human beings, as opposed to art.

[Art] can reawaken us to the genuine merit of life as we’re forced to lead it. It’s advertising for the things we really need.

ADVERTISING

In our world full of advertising, we're subconsciously conditioned to buy into glamour. The glamour that is "rare, remote, costly, and youthful." It's unattainable, but we strive to achieve it because it's all we know.

But over time those of us who recognize how much we're being manipulated start to become more immune and jaded, and unhappy because we don't know what's good and pure anymore. We don't know how to heal ourselves from this "sickness in our souls."

ART TO THE RESCUE

Art is the antithesis of advertising. It captures the modest moments, honoring the "elusive but real value of ordinary life." We use art to dig deep into our emotions to express a feeling or a unique perspective. And then we consume art to see others' perspectives and empathize with their pain, conflict, and joy. We listen to music to find others who feel our sadness to heal our hearts. We take photos of loved ones to capture their essence at a certain stage in their lives. We read and write to understand and express our opinions freely and translate our stream of consciousness into words. We draw and paint to bring awareness to a subject, scene, or moment we find truly beautiful. And we share this art to connect with others in the deepest of ways, exchanging thoughts and ideas only the soul can understand. 

I feel like pure, genuine, good art can't ever be intended to sell or advertise. In our flawed world of advertising, the superficial "glamour" has gone to such extremes to uphold a facade of unattainable perfection used to encourage unhappiness that feeds capitalism. Industries like fashion, which was once so deeply rooted in art, is now completely commercialized to the point of no return.

 Nature and architecture, my two biggest sources of inspiration in New York City.

Nature and architecture, my two biggest sources of inspiration in New York City.

I'm so disappointed when artists transform into walking advertisements. Fashion was something so pure and beloved by my 10-year-old self. Over the years I'd draw clothes, read magazines, follow style bloggers, and learn to develop my personal taste. The days of Polyvore, lookbook.nu, and OG YouTuber tutorials have slowly turned into #sponsored Instagram posts, "lifestyle" blogging, and clickbait #ads. Photographers who did 365-day challenges on Flickr and Tumblr artists full of talent that was once admired and shared are now hidden among a world littered with ads and money-incentivized "art."

Less and less people are happy. We hardly know how to value and find the beauty in everyday life anymore. We're so drained by the constant urge to achieve commercialized perfection we forget what truly makes us human. 

NEW YORK DREAMS

I guess I should touch on my experience in New York City. More than three months ago, I hopped on a plane to the Big Apple to follow dreams, wide-eyed and naive. I dreamed of my internship with a famous celebrity photographer, meeting creative people, and getting my foot into the industry to pursue a career in commercial and editorial fashion photography. I knew from TV shows and movies that this city is where miracles happen, dreams come true, and a glamorous happily ever after awaits. 

- Disclaimer: This is just my own opinion. These observations certainly don't apply to everyone. It's just the way I interpret what I experienced. -

It wasn't until I got there that I saw right past this illusion. Talented people working overtime and underpaid, selling their souls to survive in a competitive industry that rejects weaklings with morals. The ones on top fight to stay on top, collaboratively belittling and shunning anyone who dares to uproot them from their positions of power, valuing social status and connections over anyone with real merit and skill. Everyone is only in it to help themselves, because that's all they can afford to do. The entertainment, fashion, and media industries are ultimately businesses, working hard to maintain their facade of popularity, extravagance, and elitism to continue making business, when in reality many people involved are poor, mistreated, and undervalued. To make it in these industries, you must be willing to sacrifice so much of yourself and conform into this established mold. And in my opinion, I don't think that's worth it.

I worked a three-month-long unpaid internship in New York City. I can say things like I got to rub elbows with TV personalities and powerful CEOs, be on set during a big magazine cover shoot, and hang out on a private island with a certain "highest-paid actress of the year."  

But truth be told, were those things worth the 50-hour work weeks, running around town shuttle packages daily, picking up lunches, buying groceries, updating spreadsheets, and "normal intern duties"? 

No.

I don't regret anything though. I didn't come to the New York because of this internship. I used this internship to come to New York to see and experience it in its reality. And this experience has taught me so much about self-worth, what I truly want in life, and my career goals. I'm so glad I chose to take the risk, push myself out of my comfort zone, and truly see the real world. 

BUT I DIVERGE

I still love fashion photography, but not in the way it's used in the (commercialized) world. I love clothes and its power to transform a subject into another person. It's fun, imaginative, playful, visual, and artistic. However, fashion photography is the real world is e-commerce. It's money, and it's selling. If I want to pursue it I'll be in a big warehouse, dressing mannequins in an assembly line and clicking remotes, dying inside. This art of photography is way too sacred for me to lose and sell out to. So I'm keeping it for myself, in its pure blissful state where the only intentions are to express my artistic visions and make myself happy. Because that's what ultimately feeds my soul. 

It's time to focus on the things I really need.