How Do You Label Yourself?

Everything these days feels like it needs a label. From types of movies to styles of music. Having that niche might make artists feel comfortable when asked that eternal question: What do you create?

Oh, I make reverse graffiti with a hopepunk feel.

But have we begun to over label things? Let’s take a look at what’s out there: In literature alone there are 144 fiction genres, ranging from Magical Realism to Time Travel Romance. And this list doesn’t even touch on the more specialized sub genres like punkpunk (you know the offshoots of the cyberpunk movement). In the punk genres alone, there are 22 stratifications (ever heard of dungeonpunk? Me neither, but it’s a thing).

Music is even more compartmentalizations with 337 different slots for the aspiring musician (complete with outlandish subdivisions for dance and electronic music). Of course there are the more obscure micro-genres like vaporwave and pirate metal (yes, you heard right).

Even the simple act to drawing can be broken up into 50 different styles, from doodle drawing to wall murals.

It seems outlandish that we need so many subsets of art. Life is complicated enough for the aspiring artist. Add to that the old cliché that there are no original ideas and it’s no wonder people shy away from the creative field. 

Sure, we all pull ideas from the past. Inspiration is what drives us to create in the first place. Seeing what others have done spurs us on. We, the writer or musician, are different from anyone else. Thus our take on a tired idea might look or sound a little different. More personal. 

So maybe there’s a reason for the plethora of artistic labels. An artist trying to make their mark in the world might aspire to create their own genre to which only they belong. Certainly this would move away from imitation and into the realm of self expression. 

Ultimately, if a genre or style of art speaks to you, then pursue it. But don’t let all those labels hold you back. Confused by the various styles? Ignore them and just make things. 

When creating your art, the most original thing you have is you.

Tim Kane

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