Monday, December 17, 2012

The City's Lights; Yoshino and the Creative Process, Part 3: What the Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into???


One of the things I hear a lot as an art student is "try and be different and original". It's the most damning phrase I can think of, really, for quite a number of reasons that I'll get into at the end of the blog post.

So last time I ended my post with a question: is there a collective unconscious? The evidence I've seen gives off a resounding yes, we tap into something universal when we try to create. I mean, look at all the myths that have been made over all the course of history. There are patterns, there are themes, in evidence between cultures that never had a chance to meet, but somehow had stories that are very similar. The themes mix in and out of different characters and make for a... well.. universal approach. Now the psychologists and scientists aren't coming out and saying it, but the last time science was sure of something they had to change their minds pretty quickly (I mean, bleeding people was a scientific thing), so I'm going to ignore them while they bicker about procedure.

The fact of the matter is, somehow we tap into the same myths, over and over and over. George Lucas figured this out with the highly successful Star Wars. He made a myth that, love it or hate it, you can't forget it. Luke's journey, while "typical", was the best selling trilogy of it's time. We can all connect to it in some way, shape, or form, whether we wanted to admit it or not (yes, I know people foolish enough to dislike Star Wars. No, I do not take their opinion seriously, especially when they're avid fans of Clannad). The story resonates with us and sticks there, deep in our souls, and we can't forget the story because we all know it, all believe it, and all want  to emulate it somehow, even if we hate the execution!

Clannad does a lot of the same stuff, strangely enough. It's the classic coming-age tale for a particular person, and what it means for him to grow up and have a family. Tomoya goes through the typical hero's journey, it's true, but what seems to strike the vast majority of Clannad fans isn't it's originality, but it's absolute sincerity. Like Star Wars, none of us give a damn if it's original, because we find it to be true.

Now, don't get me wrong, originality isn't the bane of all existence in art. I just happen to hate that particular line, because I like originality. But only up to the point where you're not trying to snub the universal rules. Because, like it or not, humans are creatures constrained by laws (otherwise there wouldn't be a concept of evil and moral good). Breaking those rules only works if you're trying to assert a "higher" rule, something people assert by intuition is more important. Something that's true.

And it's this quality of truth that's really the most important thing about the process, isn't it? I mean, with the possible exception of fans of 300 (and Zach Snyder's other putrid crap we call work) people want something that's real. Something that, even if we know it's not factual and doesn't actually exist, reminds us of those things we all hold in common, and that there are more good things than bad things. I know that, whenever I look at a piece of art, I look to be reminded of those things. I mean, it's already hard enough to find it in the "real" world, so it's nice to relax back into the truth, even if it's not see-able all the time in the factual world.

I guess I'm just glad it's a shared dream-space, and not a solitary one. I mean, how badly would it suck if our myths weren't universal? We'd all be alone.