A Call to Remember Handmade Art

Instant gratification permeates every part of our culture — including the way we create art. But are we sacrificing authenticity in our quest to save time?

Not too long ago, movie-goers accepted digital shortcuts in the film industry. But today they are growing weary of green-screen-heavy superhero remakes. They long for the days when studios actually employed craftsmen to build beautiful sets.

This desire to return to handmade sets was evident in the latest Star Wars, which was praised for its use of practical effects. Yoda, who is a handmade creation, remains authentic and still loved today he is. Movie fans want Hollywood to dial things back a bit. I think I speak for all of us when I say no one wants another Jar Jar Binks. No one.

Sure, today’s digital tools are amazing. But for creative professionals, it’s too easy to get carried away with technology. The idea or concept is still what matters most. And using your hands —whether it’s with pen on paper or hands on clay — is still a great way to concept. There’s just something about how manually crafted art liberates the mind. The Japanese understood this long ago and it’s still visible in their tea ceremonies today. They call it “wabi-sabi” — seeing beauty in happenstance and viewing things made by man and nature as elegant and unique. The Japanese found beauty in the imperfection of the creative process.

Andy Warhol’s screen-print work from the early ‘60s was an attack on America’s impersonal throw-away culture. He removed the use of the human hand from the process as an artistic statement. Pop culture ate it up, most without understanding what his art actually meant.

I fully understand that crafting handmade pieces doesn’t make sense for every project or budget. But if it is possible, it should be considered. Handcrafted art still stands apart from digital art. Embracing it will get you closer to authentic work that will be admired for years to come.

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