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How Pinterest Became the Internet’s Booming Factory of Creativity


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The most interesting thing about this article might be the mainstreaming of "stylist" culture through Pinterest. Not that long ago, being a food stylist or a set dresser or a makeup artist or an accessories designer was a very specialized job that a few anonymous creatives in New York and LA might have for a few years before they moved on to better-paying work. Consumers could see this kind of work in magazine layouts but it was usually presented in a deliberately artsy, upscale, unattainable-fantasy way.

Now when we have the dream factory that is Pinterest on the smartphone 24/7, millions of suburban housewives and gay teenagers apparently think it's completely normal to aspire to garnish their hand-ground porkburgers with Thai basil, or to perk up their jeans with appliqued bandana patches, or to paint their nails with different designs every day. The way that design professionals work -- their inspirational pinboards, the photos of similar products they take to show their manufacturers what they want, the beauty shots they proudly keep in their portfolios, and crucially the idea that what the finished product LOOKS LIKE IN THE PHOTO rather than whether it's edible, durable, or realistic -- is apparently becoming the norm.

I don't begrudge anyone who wants to garnish their cocktail with a mint sprig... but should we be cheering that all the women in America want to be the stylists of their own lives?

Is it that they're stylists, or is this just taking recipe books and aspirational magazines up a notch?

Maybe this just lets them express their aspirations in a way they couldn't before.

i use pinterest for inspiration for many of my art projects.  it is an amazing resource.  and i think it's okay to aspire to high creative heights, even for the many people who can't do it.  i mean, what's the worst that can happen?  your cupcakes don't look just like they do in the photo?  well, good, you just learned an important lesson: it's not always as easy as it looks!  and art takes time.  but i'd rather see our nation spending 5 hours a day trying to be artsy than 5 hours a day watching tv!

When you use Pinterest, is it mostly looking at pictures that others have pinned?

Or is it organizing the things you've already pinned yourself?

both, actually.  but i start by gathering new pins and then check out my whole board to see how i feel about it.  if i'm looking for an idea for a painting, i might start with my boards first to see if i need to be reminded of a painting i want to make and then, if nothing strikes my fancy, i seek new inspiration.

That's interesting. I guess there's nowhere else on the Internet like that.

How do you find other peoples' boards to follow? Just friends or strangers with similar interests.

i just go down the pinterest rabbit hole and follow one pin to another from pinterest's suggestions. it goes on and on and on...

So it's really like getting into a trance where you just click click click and end up someplace wonderful?

yes!  but i often pin, pin, pin all along the way!

Sounds very relaxing actually. Do you ever look back and wonder why you pinned something?

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