Art vs Craft

I’ve spent most of my years, so far, focusing on expression and not so much on craft. I think it’s because I personally see more value when creatives make things based on their feelings, rather than making something because they can do it to high quality standards. That isn’t to say I take technique and method lightly, and I am quickly learning the importance of craftsmanship because of where I see my work living.

When I was shooting 35mm, I used to obsess about expression. I just couldn’t stand when my pictures looked like images from other photographers. If there is one thing that bothers me as an artist, or probably even as a person, it’s being similar to others. Maybe that comes from insecurities about being comparable. With photography, I care very little about how great something is lit, or how sharp and crisp images come out. That probably sounds odd to photographers these days, but it just brings little excitement to me. Over time I found my niche, and am happy identifying with my body of work.

But with such a focus on that one side of creation, I hurt my own quality of work, and in turn sort of hurt my expression. I don’t think I could have learned to create any other way though. I think that it might go hand-in-hand with thinking styles and other factors that make up a person’s mind.

I am painting more than anything else these days, and my focus is on craftsmanship. I suppose the decade of expression through photography makes this an easy transition, since I feel like I know who I am as a person. Now I can focus on exploring different mediums with little regret in with what I am trying to communicate in my work. Hopefully ,one day, I’ll need to search my expressions again. I don’t want to stay the same person I am today. Thanks for reading.

Rizaldy Celi Jr.

American Artist

Oakland, CA


Photo of me by PJ Lee.