Dominguez: Independent art is the answer


Austin Shaw

A crowd gathers at Ellis Street Moto during Final Friday before local acts performed at the gallery.

The film industry is stuck in a horrible loop of remake, prequel, sequel, spin-off. “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Top Gun,” “Men in Black” — all classics, but that doesn’t mean we need to see them again, and again, and again.

When modern success is based on the financial gross a project makes rather than its artistic integrity, I can’t blame the film industry for falling into this trend. According to CNN, The Lion King brought in $185 million in its opening weekend, blowing smaller and more independent films out of the water.

What’s the point of going into a film if you already know the ending? What’s the fun of stepping into a theater and experiencing something familiar, safe, and predictable? Why are we turning on the radio just to hear the same songs that have been playing on an endless loop for years?

Is that why we consume art — to stay fixed, never changing? Or do we consume art to learn something, to change, to grow, to be mesmerized and entertained by something surprising? As consumers, we have to ask ourselves; what are our intentions? What do we hope to gain from this — something to pass the time or something to make the time worth experiencing?

Audiences and consumers deserve original stories. We deserve something fresh, new, and inspiring. The internet has made the world smaller and more close-knit than ever before. We have access to millions of creators sharing their art on free platforms. Why do we keep falling for the same Cinderella story? Is the fear of consuming something “bad” really worth being complacent in our artistic consumption?

In a search for something to quench my craving for originality, I began digging. By spending my time digging through the depths of Youtube, Spotify, and Soundcloud rabbit holes, I found diamonds.

I found up-and-coming artists who aren’t influenced by the sway of Billboard charts or box office results. I’ve found artists who are creating simply for the sake of creation with little to no regard to the financial result, and in an artistic climate that seems more and more focused on bringing in money, this seems like a rare find, but I promise you it’s not. It’s a conscious choice and dedication to finding something burning and bright.

Independent art is just as good, if not better, than the things we are gifted through the mainstream. Just because it’s created on a smaller scale doesn’t mean it’s not as valid as something churned out in a fame factory.

Support your friends’ art. Help them grow and you might grow yourself.

Go to open mic nights, poetry readings, a concert featuring a band you’ve never heard of. Go to a small bookstore and see if they have anything by local authors. Spend some time intentionally searching for something fulfilling. Watch obscure short films or long documentaries or something in a different language. Consume it, create it yourself, embrace it. Explore. There’s so much out there waiting for you, all you need to do is look.