This article started with another idea that came from me discussing art related things with Kana. We always seem to look for new metaphors that would help us understand what exactly are we doing with our art careers. Also, we get excited each time we manage to find a parallel that is a particularly good fit for explaining difficult art concepts to people not immersed in the topic so much.
Let’s start from the beginning: if you are an artist online, you probably know the concept of a “creative bank account” – something that Jake Parker, amongst others, often uses to explain his inspiration gathering habits.
A bank account is a good metaphor, but Kana and I like to compare making art to cooking. It’s a surprisingly flexible parallel! Your ingredients are the inspirations and ideas, and the place you store and manage them is, obviously, the creative refrigerator (you have to keep your ideas fresh 😉 )
To create something that is only tasty and nutritious, you can use simple ingredients and follow well-established recipes. Just like a starting artist often follows well-treaded paths when learning. This approach is perfect for mastering the basics, building upon ideas that other artists (or chefs) tried before us.
One of the art problems that I discussed with Kana starts when an artist tries to respond to what the viewership wants. You give people fast-food art, and everyone likes you! You stock your fridge with cans of Coke, frozen pizzas, and other such things that are sure to turn into tasty snacks quick and effortlessly. Such an approach gives us a situation where many artists produce the equivalent of art fast-food trying to overdo each other on the amount of cheese they put in it. We think that something like this happened with the cute “moe” art in Japan, for example.
The other thing we have to be careful about is always using only the things that are already in the art fridge. Some people even get praised for this – making something tasty from the leftovers. Yes, using elements that you already have to make something edible is all well, but if one tries to achieve something more, a bit of exploration for new, exciting ingredients is necessary! There might be some trips to the sources for references, or studying great art of the past to be done.
Overall I think therefrigerator is an interesting and useful metaphor when thinking about our creative processes. And maybe the image of food stored in it is a bit more organic and closer to art and creative ideas than just a cold bank vault.
Kana and I are trying to use this parallel mostly to think about how to make good and well-balanced artworks that hopefully would make the world “better.”
I’m interested in what uses you can get from this idea!