To begin, its worth mentioning that I frequent the very websites I am complaining about, I have served as a blog editor, but I still believe in the romance of personal discovery. I like finding things for myself, sifting through used books, discovering music, trolling antique shops. I love the idea of vernacular, naiveté, and context – I love knowing there are people and crafts and reasons and wonderful mistakes behind the art we’ve the pleasure to experience.

As the internet has continued to (cough) mature, we find ourselves inundated with imagery, music, tweets, kitteh videos, good news, bad news, opinion parading as news, and an absolutely endless, dizzying, spell-binding array of mental traffic. As my good buddy Ben Pieratt recently put it, “endless scrolls make me feel agoraphobic.”

This sense of limitless imagery and information can make one feel daunted, if not paranoid – as if we’re missing out if we don’t see everything that’s made available to see. I take particular issue with image bookmarking services, which have devalued content in favor of this static. I frequently click images I like to find myself on another blog, another page with more blind reference imagery, or a tumblr with some serialized image title and a date – I simply cannot find the artist responsible for the work. The internet is rather fleeting as it stands, and we’re walking through a fog of stylized imagery devoid of artists, explanations, and history.

We no longer seek out the portfolios of incredibly talented illustrators and designers, writers or filmmakers, but the convenience of aggregated, often dodgy, mass sourcing. We rarely discover inspirations for ourselves because we’re busy letting others do it for us. To what degree do the tastes of the masses dictate what content editors choose, and inversely, will designers/illustrators create imagery to appease these editors? Will artists avoid experimentation at the risk of popular scrutiny?

Its a bit dramatic, sure, but as our industry continues giving itself to the masses – popular polling, crowd sourcing, design-by-committee, don’t-worry-my-cousin-knows-photoshop – I don’t want to have to think about the further homogenization of imaginations and the commercial systematization of our media. Instead of telling new visual stories, or codifying new ways of seeing or representing things, we’ll be commercially relegated to the fastest most efficient way of saying something as dictated by visual metrics combed from popular image pools that never credited the right person in the first place.

Anyway, the internet is equal parts pro and con, but there are certainly times where it feels like a big booby-trap. Would love to hear what our peers felt about the issue. Back to my tabbed browsing sesh!


Mario Hugo is a New York based artist, designer, and one half of the creative management agency Hugo & Marie. Though he spends an inordinate amount of time in front of his computer, he still feels most honest with a pencil and two or more sheets of paper. www.mariohugo.com

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