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Elf M. Sternberg - Dark Artists
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Dark Artists
We have an phrase in the programming world, the Dark Programmer. The term comes from the analogy with dark matter: we know it exists because it exert gravitational force on our galaxy, but other than that we have no idea what it is. A dark programmer is like dark matter: we know they exist because someone keeps writing Java-based actuarial software for insurance companies, banks, hospitals, and other large institutions, but these aren't the sort of people who post to GitHub or Bitbucket, don't contribute to Stack Overflow, and generally aren't interested in advancing, or even learning much about, the state of the art. They just want to do their job for the day, go home, and not think too much about what they do.

It occurred to me, while watching the credits roll by for the movie Frozen, that there seem to be Dark Artists as well. Looking through the list of all the various artists, digital CGI, and ink-and-paint animators listed on the film, I proceeded to go through all of them to find out how many had some sort of presence on the web related to their love of their art.

About half. Almost all of them had some presence: they have LinkedIn accounts, IMDB entries, and the like. But only about half the artists had Deviant Art, Tumblr, Blogspot, or some other account where they shared process drawnings and discussed their work with other people. (Mostly Blogspot. Which I think is weird. Is there something in the TOS of Blogspot that makes it more desirable for arists than the others?) Which means that half the artists on the biggest animated film of the year just want to do the work, take their paycheck, go home, and not think too much about what they do for a living.

The programming world needs dark programmers; I wonder if the same mindset is in play for animation departments. After all, not every who went to art school came out as passionate as when they entered.

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Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Frozen OST, For The First Time

Comments
matrixmann From: matrixmann Date: February 9th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm, seems like not everyone in cultural products can be "the great artist".
By the way, as producing a cultural product works in these times, it doesn't look like this ability is something you want to call your own. It stands in your way.
Time for producing is low, as well as great art is not desired. Better produce another product, and another and another. Maximization of profit is the agenda.
Putting lots of creative effort into one product makes another dozen worthless, as it seems.
lordjulius From: lordjulius Date: February 9th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I worked in visual effects for twenty years. I personally did not want to think more about visual effects after working 8-14 hours a day at it. So for me it was mostly a job. I'm now a full time programmer, and I feel the same way. I would be happy to contribute back to the open source projects I use at work if I weren't just sick of programming by the end of the day.

It takes extraordinary dedication to do something as a full time job and then enjoy it off duty as well. Most people have more than one passion or obligation (e.g. kids) so their time is split amongst many interests.
houseboatonstyx From: houseboatonstyx Date: February 9th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
not think too much about what they do for a living

Or not share their thinking on social media? Or not share it at all?

Maybe they already have all the jobs they need, and would rather think about the details of the current job than about setting up and tending to such websites.

Ever try to websearch the phone number or address of your tax accountant (or lawyer or doctor) whom you met by word of mouth and has a waiting list of clients already? Lucky if they've listed themselves anywhere, much less set up a website of their own.
mikstera From: mikstera Date: February 9th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ever since I first laid hands on a computer I could program (TRS-80 Model I), I've been programming for fun at home, and at school and later work. I can't imagine *not* doing that.

I'm still somewhat surprised by friends who do a lot of programming for their jobs, but don't even own a smartphone.
frankvw From: frankvw Date: April 8th, 2014 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that both with dark programmers and dark artists the signing of non-disclosure agreements may play a large role in their reticence to talk about their work at all.

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