Leave it to the mouths of babes to bring up a subject that makes me blog. My daughter wondered whether or not the use of magazine images and the "pretty stuff" she seems to like when we go to Michaels makes her journal something other than an art journal. This seems to be echoed theme and topic lately in forum threads, twitter feeds, Facebook updates and Flickr accounts.
For the sake of my daughter and anyone else who reads this blog, here is what I think and what I wish for you to take away from here:
Art journaling is about finding a satisfying , personal creative outlet. How you choose to express it is up to you. Whether you use commercial papers, stencils, embellishments or you create them yourself the only thing that matters is what you think of your own work. I never want my children to feel that their way of expressing themselves is "less" than another person because of the presence or lack thereof of any element or style in their journal.
While there is nothing wrong with being part of a community and finding encouragement in a groups feedback, remember that most of the time true fulfillment creatively comes from taking what is inside of us and finding a way express it visually. At times this means that you're going to do things that are not current or trendy. It may mean that people won't get it or like it. The question is: Do you like what you do? Would you still do it even if the only person who ever saw it was you? Are you creating for yourself or for an audience?
Understand that while there is nothing wrong with a creative person profiting from their ideas or style, the motivation behind what one puts out for a commercial endeavor is different than what we create for our own personal enjoyment.. Personal expression is just that - personal. Don't allow anyone to make you feel as though your version of expression is less authentic but in that same vein, refrain from judging or labeling another person's choices. Their path and evolution is their own. Encourage and appreciate the diversity but feel comfortable with the differences. I think if you can find that level of comfort in yourself it won't matter if it's pretty or ugly, process or product. All that will matter is that it is real and that it is all You.