Tuesday, April 12, 2016

_News: It's happened guys, I am Undertale trash. Full blown, AU trolling Undertale garbage._

It's been said before but it is a golden age for the independent artist. With real practical means to market and distribute product, consumer art is no longer defined by what is the most popular or what pleases the most amount of people. Not only that, but new ways of supporting one's self through thoughts are being explored, breaking down a long standing barrier between art and those who would admire it, the price tag. Yes, artists are freer then they've been in decades and it is all thanks to that lovely all-encompassing monster we call the internet.

And I gotta tell ya, as someone who on the best of days has no money, I'm loving this trend.

I'm talking about indie games, youtube channels, online comics, blogs, all of it! Things that are made by independent creators out of love. Is all of it professional quality? No, far from it. But it's worth a look anyway, for so many different reasons. One, it promotes the growth of new ideas. Right now the status quo when it comes to art and media of any kind is signing with a big company and answering to the public before answering to yourself (which isn't so much bad as it is dangerous), just because that's how you make a living off of art. Notice, making a living off of art is not the same as making money off of art. No artist wants to admit that they need to sell to eat to live but we do. But that's a balance that's starting to change, thanks to the internet, thanks to crowdfunding and thanks a more accessible line to artistic sponsorship. The result of all of this is a more intimate relationship not only between creator and creation but between creator and audience. And this relationship has created some pretty awesome weird and gross stuff.  And so, with all that rambling out of the way, I want to share some of the best places to get free content and shine a light on some of the best independent creations out there. (This'll probably turn into a series of posts, seeing I'm constantly discovering new things to fall in love with.)

This site is a hub for independent comic creators to showcase their work, much like youtube is for video creators. You don't need to jump through hoops or sign any contracts to get your work out there, just upload and go. The rest is up to you. I personally love this place because of the variety of stuff people put out there. You can find anything from 4-Panel funnies to full blown Manga epics. Plus, their staff is pretty dedicated to shining a light on work with potential. If they see something with an interesting plot, even if the art isn't necessarily up to snuff, they'll still put a feature on it. I browse their features nearly everyday and, speaking from personal experience, they have pretty good taste. I will go ahead and warn you that if you go far enough down the rabbit hole you will find some sub-par stuff, but you have to look for it. Front and center is usually the goods, the veteran creators that really have a love for what they do and excel at it. Couple of comics on there worth checking out are King's Folly by Whispwill and Owlturd Comix by Shenanigansen (Excuse the icky name but that dude is hilarious).

Night Vale Presents
Excuse little old me if you've already heard of this gem (it's gained quiet the following over it's lifespan), but shame on me if I didn't bring up Welcome To Night Vale because GOSH DIGGITY DERN THIS IS GOOD STUFF WANT SOME GOOD STUFF HERE'S SOME. Originally just a passion project with Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor (with the soothing sounds of Cecil Baldwin on vocals),  Night Vale presents started out as a bimonthly podcast serial, a community radio station in the middle of the desert where every government conspiracy theory is true. Quirky is putting it lightly. Since then these guys have started going on tour with live shows, have put out a novel that's made the New York Times Best Sellers list, and have started another serial podcast called Alice Isn't Dead. This is an indie project that you can expect outstanding quality from, there is little difference between this and studio work when it comes to production. Give them a look and you'll be in for a fun, weird time.

OverCloccked Remix
Fans make the best stuff, they really do. From parodies to music to merch, when fans get invested they redefine what a passion project is. OverClocked Remix is where you can find such projects. It's a huge hub strictly for remixes and melodies of video game soundtracks and guys, the things these people do with source material is mmmmmm so tasty. In it's time (which it's my understanding that this site is a relic from 1999 if you can believe it) has even garnered attention and praise from the original creators that created the material they were remixing. It's an especially great resource for other independent creators because (don't quote me on this) as long as you give credit where credit is due you can use this music for anything. Almost all of it is available for free download and it's great as background music for videos or podcasts or even as trance music for focusing on work. I will say, although through all the time I've used it I've never encountered it, seeing as it's a hub and not just one over all company working together there's bound to be some lousy stuff on the site somewhere. But, much like tapastic, you have to really look to find it, the amount of stuff on this site is mind boggling. They have a remix for almost every video game soundtrack I can think of off the top of my head. (Expect for Animal Crossing tracks. Come on OC, get on that.) But, seriously, give it a looksie.

That's all I got. 'Til next time nerds.