I was thinking the other day about tapes (that’s right, I said tapes!) that I got in high school and I still enjoy listening to. In particular I was listening to Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden. I thought about how sometimes we really enjoy listening to an album or a band for a short period of time, but then we either get sick of it or just forget about them. I thought about what albums I still bring out on a regular basis and will probably continue listening to far into the future.
For many bands, the 90s grunge scene’s popularity let them rise to fame and then quickly fall out of favor when it ebbed. Then there’s Pearl Jam. They’ve managed to stay together and continue to make great music, even if it’s not played on the radio. That’s because they were a good band to begin with. It wasn’t about making music to fit a particular style, it was about making the music that meant something to them. It just happened to coincide with what the world was primed for at the time.
Now you’re probably thinking, “This is a jewelry blog, what’s the deal with the whole music thing?” (Or maybe, “Boy, she sure is stuck in the 90s.”) My point is that if you remain true to yourself and make work that’s of high quality and craftsmanship, then it can last the test of time even if styles change. If you tie yourself to trends just because they are popular, not because it fits with your design focus, then you’re doomed to always be chasing the trends to keep up. As the trend is forgotten, so is your work.
I’m not saying that an artist can be ignorant of trends, or that trends can only cheapen your work. Just take the time to create great work and make sure that while following the trend you are also working your voice into the piece. It’s going to be a lot of work, but anything that’s worth something usually is.