Toyogub, SallyFourth, Vulcan. These names have a couple of things in common. A: They're iconic artists in the SW community. B: They're either taking a break, or missing altogether. There are several iconic artists who have suffered similar fates. Maybe they've returned after a while, or maybe they haven't. Maybe their website and their work has vanished from the web without a trace, never to surface again.
Before I started collaging, the loss of a good artist used to anger me. It's hard enough to find content on the web, even when multiple artists are cranking out content every day. It seemed selfish that someone with that kind of talent might just disappear and let their work slip away into the void of the internet. Now that I've started generating content of my own, I have a somewhat different perspective.
It's hard to generate content regularly. You have to find the time to do it, a quiet place to work without being disturbed, the inspiration for original pieces, and the will to bring it all to fruition. Not to mention the fact that most of us aren't getting paid to do this, and the ones who are making some money off of their work aren't making nearly enough to justify the commitment. When you're balancing a personal life and a work life, it's hard to add a third life on top of that. And believe me, that personal life is a tough one for an SW artist to work around...
But we try as hard as we can for as long as we can until we're finally burned out. Soon, every request starts to sound like a demand. We start growing irritated with the watchers and the fans who check in on us. And I don't say this to insult any of you! Eventually, disappearing into the shadows can seem really appealing. No goodbyes, no archive of your work, because that might be even more time-consuming. Just fade away as mysteriously as we appeared. To tell the truth, I've done it once, and I was considering doing it again (but that was because DA suspended my account for a month).
I'd like to avoid letting these situations ever happen again. There are things we can all do to help and encourage our artists to stick around, and keep on fighting the good fight.
Maybe instead of requesting works, we can find content online that might provide inspiration for a collage. Maybe we can sketch a scene that we have in our heads, or write down a story and share it with an artist for enactment. Maybe we can offer to help our artists finish their work, or add some finishing touches, or at the very least some constructive criticism.
We don't have to let our artists slip into the void, never to return. We can support them, and show them how much we appreciate their work. Everyone has a role to play in this community. Let's all do our part for our artists.