Art as Identity – a musing

by dantewilde

You may have noticed already, and if you haven’t, then you will soon, that I have no profile picture. This may not seem like a big deal, though if you were to argue that it eliminates some form of personal touch, then I would agree. The profile picture can add a lot of personality to a blog, a feel for who the writer is, a taste of their personality. It is for this reason that it is just as important for me not to have one.

My art is my identity. If someone says ‘what do you do?’ the answer is always ‘I’m a writer’ but writing isn’t only what I do, it is who I am. In many ways, as I’m sure most writers will agree, our personalities come through in our fiction. Everything from sifting through the characters and telling their stories, to feeling an idea grow within you until it is more than you can imagine.

Photographs of any kind tell more about the person than that person intends, whether their eyes don’t sparkle when they should, or if they are grinning like Cheshire. This applies to profile pictures (even ones you choose from Google) they are a representation of our pleasures. In this way it is important for me to protect my art by not attaching my face to the work I produce. As a living thing it deserves a life of its own, much in the same way a surgeon doesn’t have their face tattooed into a patients skin because the patient deserves a life of their own. Or a photographer doesn’t photo bomb their own photographs so the audience remembers their face.

My choice of profile picture (at the time of writing) is a stack of books. A representation of my pleasures, books and old books. Complicated creatures have the most exquisite taste, don’t you feel? And for me this is enough. My art should stand or fall on its own merits and aside from the touches of personality that come with writing it shouldn’t be subject to my personality. For both your sake and my own this non-subjectiveness is beneficial (imagine missing out on a life changing piece because the artists personality is objectionable).

Much like music, image is not everything, and it should in fact be nothing. If you consume art based on someone’s image, you simply consume art for the wrong reason. Image