PewDiePie is a great artist. Of course I'm not talking about his YouTube videos (lol). I'm talking about his video thumbnails. I'm pretty sure the majority of you will disagree, but hear me out.
"Expressionism refers to art in which the image of reality is distorted in order to make it expressive of the artist’s inner feelings or ideas." - tate.org.uk
PewDiePie expresses his feelings by distorting images of his own face, reminiscent of Munch's The Scream. In this example, PewDiePie is accurately representing what he experienced when he sampled a lot of different whiskeys. He is simultaneously conveying to the audience that he felt lucky to be in possession of those bottles, and the feeling of drinking too much alcohol.
As you can see, PewDiePie also employs geometric shapes - like the ones found in Kandinsky works - to depict the severity of his emotions. In this thumbnail, he is expressing the frustration we all feel when we play a level on a game that is far too difficult.
Not only does he express his emotions, but he also creates visual representations of the pressures that he feels his fame have caused him. In the above example he displays his resistance to shaving off his beard, despite increasing calls for him to shave it off (poor Marzia).
The social commentary of the German Expressionist movement is also present in his thumbnails. In two of the thumbnails I have featured at the start of this post, PewDiePie takes shots at influential people who he regards as hypocrites, JK Rowling and Jennifer Lawrence. My favourite is the one featuring Jennifer Lawrence. By extending her neck to create a phallic shape, in addition to a stormy Earth as a background, it's clear what PewDiePie thinks of her views about climate change.
|Works by Kandinsky and Munch|
Okay, so now we've established that PewDiePie is in fact an Expressionist artist, let me explain how he's arguably the greatest Expressionist artist around right now. In my opinion, he checks off every single box that most other great artists check off.
He has a background in art and has developed his style over time: PewDiePie entered Photoshop contests from an early age and started to develop his digital art skills at high school.
He has competence and skill in his chosen medium: PewDiePie has posted a thumbnail-making tutorial where he shows his aptitude in Photoshop. He also has examples of his other fantastic digital art around the Internet (Google it).
His artwork is consumed and enjoyed by a lot of people: PewDiePie is the most subscribed to channel on YouTube. People click on his videos. His thumbnails are powerful.
He is financially successful: PewDiePie is rich AF. One of the actions he attributes to his channel becoming so successful is that he started making quality thumbnails for his videos when no one else did.
Fans of PewDiePie might be moaning about Pewds not creating any original content, but he is: His thumbnails.
Do you agree or disagree with me? What do you think makes a great artist? Leave a comment below :)