“Better To Suck And Be Seen Than Not Be Seen At All”

This little nugget of a thought (one I do not agree with as you’ll no doubt see through the rest of these sentences) came from someone who is lauded as a voice for designers, but now I can’t help but associate him with the likes of Kim Kardashian, William Hung, and Tila Tequila.

Why? They’re people who are living the dream of “Who cares if I suck?? I’m being SEEN!”

For the sake of the argument, I’ll focus on William Hung (who’s actually worth $500,000!). He was birthed into our consciousness 10 years ago when he “auditioned” for American Idol. Here he is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TS5tvbYJsc

Yep we’ve all seen him, and I’ll never forget his moves or his song, but nobody’s laughing with him. We’re all laughing AT him, while I’m still too embarrassed for him to sit through his performance. Even Paula Abdul can’t keep her support from edging into condescending town. Is it still good that he went on national television?

How about our favorite nothing-celebrity: Kim Kardashian. Or even better, the entire Kardashian Klan which is now famous because of Kim’s “celebrity”.

Or how about Lindsey Lohan and how she no longer acts (save for that made for tv movie she did about Liz Taylor & Richard Burton) but is known for her various addictions, on-going family drama, and let’s just say all around bad life choices. Is it still worthwhile to be infamous for what you do in/with your life as opposed to being recognized for your work/ life?

Reading “Better to suck and be seen than not to be seen at all”, I hear what millions of children must think when they act out for negative attention because that’s the only attention they get. While working at Olive Garden (or just being a person around other people with children) you become instantly aware of the parent/child relationships where the parent doesn’t give the child a) enough attention or b) the RIGHT type of attention. The child acts out, the parent chastises, but the child gets what they want: a response.

Why again is this the right mindset to tell other designers or anyone trying to succeed as an adult in a profession?

The opposite of this might be wrongfully assumed to be “the pursuit of perfectionism”, but that’s not where I’m headed. You’re only perfect when you’re dead– there’s no more to grow. You’ve done it all and now you’re on to something else.

What I’m after is the pursuit of bettering yourself. Share your work, put it out there, but do so with the mindset of process, learning, or exploring. Trust me, the internet already has oodles of people regurgitating crap just to put crap out. Why continue to make crappy work just to be seen as someone who can make crappy work?

Before the internet and everyone’s instant access to show off world, unnoticed or rejected artists just continued doing what they loved– regardless of the attention (or lack of it). Sometimes it paid off in their life time, sometimes it didn’t– but the point is the person and their love and dedication to their work, NOT the attention garnered from it.

What is more important: to be seen or to do something worth seeing?

One thought on ““Better To Suck And Be Seen Than Not Be Seen At All”

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