The Safe or the Untravelled

While I was in Atlanta I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark Weaver, an artist I’ve been fortunate enough to work with on a couple of occasions and an all around rad guy. We sat at a coffee shop chatting about our dreams and goals when an interesting topic came up, that of change. Mark was telling me that he was interested in changing his style because there were a lot of people emulating what he does, and well, he wanted something new. The problem was that clients wanted the “Mark Weaver” treatment, not the “new-and-improved Mark Weaver ” treatment. This was an interesting conundrum in my mind, but one that makes sense. People want a style that will be popular, not what could potentially be popular. The safe road that leads to a predictable location not the untravelled road that could potentially lead to greater success or flat out failure.

I was also thinking about the creative group of people I associate with, a group that could vaguely be clumped into “the people I associate with on Twitter.” This group of people are blossoming at an enormous rate, their work gracing the covers of magazines, being featured in the magazines themselves, finding their way in TV shows and generally influencing pop culture. That said it’s still a very young group of people with no defined name, only a sense that we’re united by our tastes and interests. It’ll be interesting when this group of people begins to change, when more of them get tired of their old style and begin to experiment and create work that’s unfamiliar to those who know it.

The only people I can think of who’s changed their focus over the last 10 years or so is Tim Biskup and Shepard Fairey. Both have had quite a deal of success early on in their career for one particular style but have then grown and had their work shift it’s focus and become even more successful because of it. I can’t think of many other people who’ve been able to do the same thing.

These are just some random thoughts I had. Any contributions or similar ideas left in the comments are warmly welcomed.


November 30, 2010