“Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict the future?”

“Can you imagine how much power, fame, and wealth you could amass if you knew before everyone else what the key product would be?”

“Can’t you find comfort, safety, and reassurance in knowing what you create would be well-received?”

It’s all the talk of trends. I have not yet been exposed to photography trends, although I am sure if I were to read photography publications more devoutly my inner dialogue would be inundated with the jabber of the next best thing. I find it preposterous to pay X amount of dollars to whatever institution to tell me the direction of the market and how my work should follow *if* I want to be recognized, significant, or displayed in a gallery. I much prefer to blaze my own trail so to speak. I agree with Lois’ sentiment: “the fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof positive…that a new direction is the only direction.” To follow it one step further, I believe that if I am going to create artwork and photography that I market as original, Nate Metz work then it should come from my mind unadulterated by marketing savvy professionals. I have to maintain an integrity to my work, my point of view, and who I am as an artist. I believe in my work. My work sells. The first part of making great art is that I believe in the creation. I am not an artist who creates in line with the trend for the sake of selling art. Can you argue that it is harder this way? You may, but I think it is easier to please myself before trying to please the rest of the world. I am unable to kowtow and pay lip service to any trend if I first did not believe it myself. Here are some trends that I do embrace:

1) digital photography i/o film

2) the green movement

3) world peace

4) a global spiritual awakening

At one time, though, I paid money to learn how to forecast trends and in turn was paid to follow them. I flipped through hundreds of glossy magazines to stay aware of what was going on and where we were going. These experiences working with trends came while working in the fashion industry. Trends are a big part of the industry for the big conglomerates who want to appear as though they have their finger on the pulse of fashion. It is a lot like a popular high school click as they pick who or what’s in and out. During those 6 years, I found trends to be a lot of fluff. I read vague generalizations about how in two years, it’ll be all about comfort, chic style lines, femininity, and futuristic. And as different trend houses preached the coming days it is obvious that different designers followed the advice and amazingly in two years most everyone was right on point. Not. It was just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here are some images of a “future” collection I had created based on some trend research.

In retrospect, it is much easier to identify trends in a creative field. Just add up the number of people who did what over x amount of time. But, if you subscribe to the future-casting world of trends, then you are trapped because you have to go in the direction you bought into back then. Your world very easily becomes a convoluted Back to the Future mess. So follow the advice, follow your big ideas, make them reality, and everyone who follows in your footsteps will by default be on the trend they seek.

Damn Good Advice – FIVE

Oh yes, here we are again: the rebel. I remember having to take a stand with my work on a few occasions during my school years. I didn’t take art classes in high school and only a couple of electives in college. My primary foundation in creativity were my college fashion design courses. During my study abroad I visited Barcelona and caught inspiration off of Gaudi and the tile mosaics. After 9 months in the incubator upstairs I entered my senior year and began my senior collection. Of the 12-15 looks designed we were to construct 3 for the runway. My masterpiece design was a pair of pants with 2 optional panels (embroidered or chiffon) that converted to capris and again into bermudas, and with one final conversion it became a pencil skirt. Out of 1 pattern I got 5 looks! Here is were I took the stand. My professor only wanted to count this feat of engineering towards one of my final three, but I stood my ground: the pant/short combo for one and the skirt for another. [images below]

And again, I will reiterate: I think it is just dumb to rebel, take a stand, or be outside of the box for sake of being different. Outrageous ideas should still be grounded with a purpose or an intelligent point of view, elsewise the effects of pushing those boundaries will be lost. A wonderful contemporary example is Lady Gaga. I implore you to watch one of her hour-long interviews, listen to the ballad versions and see what an amazingly beautiful, articulate, educated, and talents woman she is. I guess my mentor would say it’s about “having the goods to back it all up!”

As for the excitement of an idea, let me say that upon inspiration and brainstorming new work I operate so well (organized, punctual, error free), adrenaline is coursing through my body (often denying me sleep), and when I have the goods to back it all up I find other people are excited about my work!