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The Devil's in the Details

on October 9, 2010 - 11:25am


I don't know how I come across on the blog, but I generally feel fairly insignificant in my role as artist in the world. No, this isn't a "woe as me" statement. It's actually not even a classically Canadian self-deprecating statement. It's a simple fact. I mean, you folks know me, but it's not like I'm being stopped as I walk the streets of Toronto by people saying "Aren't you Ghoul Friday?". Halloween lovers and fellow haunters know my blog and my handle, but that's different. I'm part of an online community.

I'm talking about my presence amongst the masses, the folks I see in 3-D. The ones who can actually pick up my pieces, turning them in their hands, and not just rely on images I've uploaded.

And I always think I'll never see the people who buy from me ever again. Even if I did, I imagined it would be a passing "Hey, I know you. You're the eyeball lady".

I'm in my second year of attending shows with my creatures, and my assumptions of my anonymity aren't as adequate as I'd thought. I've been very surprised by observations made by people I don't know. For example, someone commented on how my mini pumpkins didn't have as much yellow in them as last year. I blinked a few times, surprised, and said "Yes...you're right. Every time I do a batch of pumpkins, the finish is slightly different".

Wow. Noticing that a simple highlight colour had changed. That's impressive.

The changes in the eyeball plants hadn't gone unnoticed either. One person commented they looked bigger, fuller. Yes, more of them were taller, and almost all of them have more foliage (which helps to secure the eyes to the stems).

I spoke with someone about how the plants now have a heavier base, and they made a cute comment, saying they were "Peek-a-boo Plants 2.0".

Of course, my mother was the funniest one who bluntly said "Hey...these ones have more colours than mine does. And the eyes are shiner. I want one of these".

The point of the story? People are way more observant - and thus not as indifferent - as I thought they were. This changes the game slightly for me. It raises the bar. I fully intend to do better work anyway, but now I am aware that if I start to cut corners or plateau, people - real life people I don't know - will notice. And would even be able to provide specifics as to where I went wrong.

I am especially reminded by this as I try to finish last minute pieces for tomorrow's show. Where I may have pushed through to make more (thinking no one would notice the difference), now I'll take the time to make less and ensure better quality.

So if any of you new artists out there assume no one is paying attention to the small details of your work, don't be so sure. And perhaps that knowledge will make you better at your craft.

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