crabby artist popularity rant

I found artist-confessions this morning, and it made me realize I hear a lot of the same complaints over and over again from people who are playing the internet popularity game:

- My original work isn’t as popular as lesser-quality [fandom] fanart

- People pay more attention to my funny quick sketches than things I put a million hours into!

- My realism isn’t as popular as <another artist>’s candy-coloured anime! Mine is real art!

etc.

and I know it might seem unfair when that happens, but it’s not. It’s completely fair, because nobody who looks at any artist’s drawings owes them the effort of commenting / favoriting / reposting their work to begin with.

Yeah, fanart automatically gets a lot more exposure than original art of the same quality, but that’s just how people work. It’s a fact that many, many artists have been able to reconcile and get over. They like what they recognize, and what’s popular in other media will be popular in art. People are more likely to connect with and repost funny things as well.

But when someone complains about certain pieces getting more exposure than others, there’s an implication that their audience should be doing charity work for them — that is, they should be working to expose or give recognition to work that the artist likes, and not what they as a viewer like. That’s unrealistic and it shows a whole lot of entitlement.

I’ll cop to the fact that there are tons of legitimately talented artists who don’t yet have the recognition they deserve, but the amount of views that a pony gijinka gets on deviantart or whether or not an individual feels the frontpage artworks are “worthy” of those slots is completely irrelevant. People are still going to like what they like and if being recognized is that important, persistence + skill is always a pretty solid formula. Just don’t expect anyone to owe you anything.