“Style is the stuff you get wrong.” — Neil Gaiman
In The Name of Art — A quote worthy of being posted.
“Style is the stuff you get wrong.” — Neil Gaiman.
Style is a double-edged sword, but you will have to make some fundamental choices to understand it integrally. Do you deny what comes before in the name of style or honor what comes before in the name of truth?
Neil Gaiman credited Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead for coming up with the quote; Jerry Garcia doesn’t remember when or how he said it. But it’s something that has been said in passing for years by many artists in different contexts and using different words. Neil could have taken credit for it and sound enlightened to his fans, yet he preferred to quote the original and shed light on his own revelation about style. Hence, he honors the artist’s voice that inspired him without distorting the message for his own personal agenda.
This is important for all of you, artists. Are you contributing to the erasure of the source, or are you graceful participants in the cultural dialogue?
Twisting the stories to benefit your narrative will only contribute to the erasure of our deep values as a community and culture.
What is essential is that although you corrupted the form on the way to establishing your style or voice, you must equally return to the source and teach about where you went off course and were wrong. It doesn’t take away from “your style,” but it helps the foundation of our art forms to remain authentic and keep their core.
Houses are not built from the second floor up, no one can stop you from taking shortcuts, but when your house crumbles, you can rebuild if you correct your errors.
The moral of the story is, when you get stuff wrong, you know what is right.