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Who to Create Art For


This was written in response to the idea of "don't create art for the public, create it for yourself":

There's a compromise between creating art for your own enjoyment and creating it with public enjoyment in mind that I use -- creating the kind of art you know your friends would enjoy. I think the reason the public approach doesn't work is that most people have very little respect for the public and assume they're too stupid to understand anything (which is true sometimes, but not true most of the time) so writing for someone you believe to be stupid produces stupid art. In writing for yourself, the problem with that is that there will be too many things only you understand, and any audience will come away bewildered and feeling their time has been wasted. If instead you write for the kind of people you value, the art tends to turn out the best, because you're writing for people you have a high opinion of.

Another tactic I sometimes use is "write for a younger version of myself" -- i.e. I imagine what kind of art a 10, 15, or 20 year-old version of myself would have enjoyed, and create that. This works because you still have something interesting to say to such a person, whereas you really don't have anything interesting to say to yourself because you know everything that you already know.