(And everyone else)
Recently I've been observing and watching popular artists, companies, and people, and I've noticed something rather unfortunate. Obviously, artists that are more popular have many more fans and followers, while those who are less popular usually only have a small fanbase. (No duh) However, I have noticed that there are upsides to being a less well-known artist. Since I, as a relatively unknown artist, have very few followers, I try to have some sort of friendship with all/most of them. Granted, for some of them it's harder, when they live in a different timezone or are usually busy, but I talk to most of my watchers in comments, on Skype, and I know at least a little about every one of them. I do my best to comment on their art or journals (though recently I've been pretty busy (I just got back from two weeks in Europe) so I haven't made a ton of comments) and talk to them about interesting things. I try to make the comments or notes I send at least somewhat meaningful, and more than just "nice" or "cool." I try to compliment on the art itself and its technique, as well as something about what's in the picture itself. This is a lot harder for more popular artists, as they would need to take out a lot of time to write notes and comments, which would cut into their drawing time.
To stop beating around the bush, I'm just going to say it outright. Most popular artists do NOT have friendships, relationships, or any true bond with their watchers. Now, I know this is NOT always the case. Some popular artists do a fantastic job of befriending their watchers, and all the people they watch. But this is, unfortunately, very rare. Most popular artists only have a very small circle of people they actually talk to and befriend, and these people are almost ALWAYS people they met before they became popular. They rarely take the time to make NEW friends and establish relationships with more people.
Now, again, I'm not saying that ALL popular artists do this. But a vast majority of them do. I watch
, two of the most popular artists that I actually follow. I can't help but notice that they rarely, if ever, reply to comments on journals, drawings, or their pages. Now granted, Splash does reply to her profile comments, but other than that, a reply or comment from either of them is very rare.
Now PLEASE, before you do anything, do not get mad at either me OR Rick OR Splash. (yay pen names XP) This is simply an observation, and neither of them are at fault. It's extremely difficult to reply to every comment when you have 7,000 or 16,000 watchers (which they do, respectively.) And it's hard to tell the difference between someone who actually cares about your artwork and wants to get to know you as a person, and someone who simply wants to take a quick look at some cool drawings, so unfortunately genuinely nice and friendly people get overlooked quite consistently.
Unfortunately, this disconnect between artist and watcher leads to some problems. Watchers can get mad if their comments aren't replied to, without ever considering that theirs is just a drop in a flood of inbox messages. Some people complain about how popular artists are popular, and how they're so "mean" and how they don't "deserve" their watchers. Let me just say it right now that this is NOT true. Most, not all, but most popular artists work extremely hard and deserve every bit of their fame, and often don't have enough time to necessarily bond with every person who passes by their page. Even so, this results in the artist receiving fewer comments and followers, as people begin to realize that their comments and input will almost never be considered.
Please note that I am not in any way trying to pick on Rick or Splash. They are both great artists and as I said above, they deserve every comment and watcher they get. Even so, I find it unfortunate that the disconnect between artist and watcher results in missed opportunities for friendships, bonds, and further popularity. It's a shame that the attitudes of many people results in these missed opportunities, and the frustration of so many people.
Like I said, it's not just artists. It's people and whole companies. I live in Washington State, very close to the first Starbucks Coffee. People used to love Starbucks, because when it was a small company, the people in the store were always friendly and talked to you, and it was that adorable small business that everyone wanted to be a part of. However, as Starbucks grew into an enormous corporation, people started to not only dislike, but despise it. Because it was no longer a nice small business, but a huge corperation. The people in the store are still nice and talk to you, but most of the public seems to think it's not genuine, because Starbucks is "too big" of a company, and whole companies can't have relationships with individual people. Though true, it's not a reason for them to dislike Starbucks, and not an excuse for Starbucks to not try to make those kinds of bonds with their customers.
Overall, I just feel bad for the artists who aren't respected by the public, and the genuine watchers who actually want to make friends (and not just to say "I'm friends with so-and-so") with the popular artists, but are rejected as they're swamped with every other fan who just comments "nice" on everything.
To Rick and Splash specifically, if either of you by some miracle happen to stumble upon and take the time to read this insanely long wall of text:
I apologize for using you as examples in this journal. I do not mean to offend or insult you in any way. It simply seemed to make the most sense to use people that I personally follow as examples.
I just realized that I wrote very nearly a thousand words about this. Wow.