How do I make my art deep without it being edgy? I hate the fact everyone thinks it’s edgy since edgy is so surface level and cringy. How do I make sure it’s deep but not edgy?
No artist can create anything except who they are.
That is what Jason and Steve’s excellent answers are saying to you.
Art is not like designing a coat and then taking that coat off and displaying it.
It’s more like opening your chest with a knife, pulling out your heart, affixing stretcher bars and displaying that.
And you will also have to resign yourself to the fact that no one will ever see in your art what you wish and hope they will see.
Why? Because for you, your art will be the way you work out your life and express it in an outward manner.
To viewers, you will provide a mirror of their lives.
And those two things will only mesh in a tangential way.
Your art will be successful to the precise extent that your humanity is broad enough and deep enough for the greatest number of people to use it for this mirroring process – of course, assuming that you can also develop skill in marketing it.
I have written this before in Quora answers, but one of the best artists I know says, “if you want to be a better artist, be a better human being”.
I would also add that if people are seeing your work as “edgy” right now, that is likely because it is, in some way, tense and perhaps even a bit angry.
Maybe there are some unexamined issues in you that are coming out in your work without your being consciously aware of them.
They will, you know.
There isn’t much you can do about that except – again – work on yourself.
And btw, if this is your current reality, there is nothing “surface” about it.
I would also add that people purchase edgy art all the time.
Some prefer it.
Good luck to you.
Go out and have experiences.
Really, that’s the only way.
Expand who you are as an artist, become deep as a person.
What thoughts or emotions are you trying to evoke? Do you have strong experiences with those emotions?
People who think things are “edgy” usually just mean that they feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter.
That’s why a lot of gore and undead or images of death and fire are considered “edgy.
” And why a lot of artists trying to be edgy tend to resort to those subject matters.
But, really, as a fine artist with over 25 years of experience, I can still only give you the surface answers.
To get deeper into this problem, I’d need to examine your art.
But that’s something you can do yourself.
You can’t get deep without introspection.
For example, if a picture you draw is supposed to evoke sorrow then it should make you cry.
If it doesn’t, it won’t make anyone else cry.
If it makes you think, it will make others think.
If you whip it out using a #2 pencil on lined paper in the 5 minutes between Biology and English, then it isn’t deep no matter how many lines you added or where you put them.
And in the end, you get deeper as an artist with time and practice.
You can either engineer your art, to fit expectations, or ignore everybody and go your way.
Most successful artists chose, wisely, a middle ground.
Others have a solid income from another field, and don’t give a crap about the critics, hipsters, wannabes, all the phony human misery.
Engineering means anything from having read a lot, tapping into current fashion, knowing basic psychology, having read and in part memorized the DSM, extracting patterns and learning about tropes, to good old cliches.
Can you be faithful to yourself if you engineer, if you work your art? It depends.
If you look carefully, Terminator 2 is a classic Greek epic story, with a little bit of Jesus story mixed in, the good guy being solid, hard, but with human flesh and somewhat vulnerable (see half breed), and the bad guy liquid, fully metallic, with no form at all, virtually impossible to kill.
You know you were looking at the clash of gods from: the camera angle, from the brute force applied, from the constant comparison of the only-a-child-his-voice-just-broke John to the grabs-knifes-by-their-blade-walks-through-walls Schwarzenegger.
The next films were pure action movies, without these Greek epic elements — it’s useful to study… you know… to actually read stuff.
Experience (or more like the lack of it) shines through, I’ll see you are bullshitting so don’t.
Ignoring everybody does not mean you stay stupid and don’t do all the above.
You just do it to satisfy your standard, and not imdb’s public or to be the best selling author of a publisher I have never heard of, and will never hear of.
The middle ground, perhaps, comes from realizing that we, humans, are very interesting creatures and it takes some effort to get each other, so any sane person trying to communicate with other people, needs to learn a bit of their language and mentality, and that’s not cheating, it’s just not being an arrogant asshole.
Art is not, nor can it be, “deep.
” Or, for that matter, “edgy.
” It cannot be any thing beyond the object itself.
Hnging on a wall, attempting, as best it can, to be entertaining, or a signifyer of wealth, or an indication of sophistication, or just something for an Architectural Digest shoot before the house goes on the market.
Your question supposes that you can, somehow, control the output of your artistic impulse (as opposed to a not-very-effective means of relieving the dum-dums of their currency—in other words, being a sign-painter).
Art will control you—and you will not like it.
Making this stuff is painful and frustrating—you’ll NEVER get it right…but sometimes you will be blessed if you look at a piece that you never really liked, in fact damn near threw away, and you suddenly realize what the picture wanted to be.
And, most amazing, you let that happen.
And it worked!
“Edgy” is a cheap and very temporary way of getting your artwork known
Edgy depends on current cultural trends and attitudes.
What was edgy in the 1970s is trite and corny now.
You're going to find that any edgy art work becomes instantly dated and a part of the era that formed it, if it wasn't a good example, hopefully popular of it's times us lost forever in the fossil layers of history.
Depth comes from communicated insight into a complex or difficult to resolve human situation or condition.
You can't fake that it comes with a lifetime of observation and involvement.
It comes with talent and application of talent
Look at pieces of art that you consider deep, asking yourself why you consider them this way.
I think a piece of art is deep if it makes me ask questions.
Why was it done this way instead of the usual way? Why was a certain color used? Why is something missing that is typical in art with this theme? All of these little things, I think, come from personal decisions made by the artist, so they allow you to glimpse the meaning through his vision.
It is like when I look up images for Gothic, and every image seems to include black roses and blood.
Throw in a skull and it’s classic.
It is also trite and childish.
What picture is more disturbing: the twisted body of a child in a pool of blood on a road, or a twisted bike in the weeds and a single tiny shoe abandoned in the middle of a road? The smallest things can change a piece of art.
Throw it down a deep, deep, well.
For a more serious answer, tell me what you think defines ‘deep’ first.
The way you phrase your question makes me think about the old, “How do I become cool?” question.
Coolness — or indeed artistic depth, is not so much a goal as it is a way to describe the result of a process.
If it was predictable and as easy as following a procedural checklist, we’d probably all be cool.
I mean, deep.
Or worse! Maybe we’d all become professional online ‘Influencers’.