Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This is where it comes from...

After yesterday's rant, 'Moleskiners.com' responded with:

"oh! and where does all that angst come from my friend? :)"

I'll tell you where it comes from, Mr. Moleskiner...

There's enough pretension and snobbery in the art world already without a bunch of clueless morons adding even more by acting like a particular brand of sketchbook has magical powers.

I looked at your profile and saw the blogs you follow. Why is '365 moleskine drawings' better than '365 sketchbook drawings' or even '365 drawings'? Why 'e-moleskine' or 'my online Moleskine, instead of 'e-sketchbook' or 'my online sketchbook'?

I'll tell you why. It's for exactly the same reason a nine year old girl wants a Hannah Montana notebook for school instead of a boring plain one.

I mean, look at your username. Why are you identfying yourself by the particular brand of sketchbook you use.

Imagine if I didn't call sketching sketching, I called it Staedler-ing because that was the brand of pencil I use. Maybe I don't call inking 'inking' either.

What? You wanna go to Starbucks and pretend to write on your laptop? I'm sorry, I can't go, I'm Faber-Castelling today. Maybe I'll come over tomorrow and show you my new Strathmore.

As I said yesterday, the only reason you mention the brand of sketchbook you use is because that brand is somehow 'cool'.

Now, here's the thing. I've had this argument before, and 'Moleskiners' all love to point out that famous artists such as Matisse and famous writers such as Hemingway have used Moleskines, and you know what? That's completely true.

The part you miss is that they just bought a sketchbook. Moleskines weren't fashion accessories in 1910...they were just another sketchbook...and the truth is, the only reason 99% of people who own Moleskines today is because people like Matisse and Hemingway owned them.

It's classic shiny-equipment syndrome:

"If Matisse owned a Moleskine...and I own a Moleskine...that must make me just like Matisse!"

Then, of course, once your friend has one, and your other friend buys one, you have to buy one so you're not left out.

...aaaaand we're back in the schoolyard. You buy a Moleskine for the same reason that the 9 year old girl I mentioned at the start of this post wants a Hannah Montana notebook and the same reason her 8 year old brother wants the Turtles one or the Yu-Gi-Oh one...but not the Pokemon one because no-one likes Pokemon any more

Now I'll be completely fair. Moleskines have two real things going for them. The internal pockets to store things are nice and the paper is usually decent quality. The downside is that pockets aren't worth an extra thirty-five dollars, and the last place you need high-quality paper is in a sketchbook.

In the end, if you call yourself a 'Moleskiner', you're just like a runner calling yourself a Nike-er.

So that's where all this angst comes from, Mr. Moleskiner. A bunch of people turning into zealots over a simple consumer product and slightly clever branding. A gang of morons who think what you draw or write with does more for your 'artistic credentials' that what you actually write or draw. The same kids who have a ton of potential, but don't improve because they've convinced themselves that anything their pencil deposits on the paper is pure gold and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot who doesn't understand their 'style'...people who ruin online communities that started out as cool places to share artwork and ideas but quickly devolved into mutual appreciation societies where talentless morons draw pictures of ten year old anime girls in lingerie and circle-jerk to how talented they are.

You wanna know how to spot a real artist? He's the guy drawing with whatever he has on whatever comes to hand.

The poser is the guy sitting in public, drawing in his fucking Moleskine with a custom 'sketching set' with thirty pencils in it.

Mr. Moleskiner, I believe I have answered your question.

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