Why is there so little good F/LOSS art?

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Why is there so little good F/LOSS art? That's a bit of a wrong question, but it's a common one. In any pool of artistic endeavour, there will be some wonderful work and, more than likely, there will be much more work that is significantly worse or, absent judgement of artistic merits, less successful. If we take all art the world over as a collectivity, doubtless we'll find that the work we can think of as excellent will make up a tiny proportion of the overall. It happens that we see more of the good work, maybe because it gets famous (or think of it as good because it is famous). We see the wonderful work held up as a positive example and we study it in art school. It gets put on display in big galleries and included in coffee table books. Much of the bad work, or even good work with worse publicity, we may never see at all.

Thousands of perfectly competent artists may languish on DeviantArt and Behance pages, not sufficiently motivated or provided with the time and skill necessary to become recognized. Thousands of others may spend their lives producing perfectly good work which serves a utilitarian purpose, but for a limited and unglamorous use. That's the stratification of artistic endeavour.

Is F/LOSS art, art with permissive licenses or produced with libre tools and ideas, any different from the larger art world? Most likely not. It is not inherently worse, less skilled or less accomplished. But there is less of it. Even if the same spread of skill, accomplishment and goodness applies, the pool of artists and works is much, much smaller. The pool of things we call "F/LOSS art" or "libre art" is by necessity smaller than the poll of things called "art."

If the global pool of art as we know it produces maybe a hundred names that can actually be recalled by the general public, is it any wonder that a genre so young and so small has produced so few big names? We are not worse, we are simply smaller and younger. We are growing, we are learning, we are developing. What's more, we are deciding whether or not we need to identify ourselves explicitly as Free, Libre or Open. Some of our big names may well belong to people who, not content with being big in F/LOSS art, have worked to become big in art. We should celebrate that. Those who transcend the bounds of our subculture do the rest of us a service. They allow us, when quizzed about the accomplishments of F/LOSS artists, to offer names which may mean something outside of our own sphere.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.adaptstudio.ca/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/721

Leave a comment