I am certainly impressed by this piece and although I feel the background does help the design stand out somewhat, I'm still not overly keen on it.
There was also one other thing, the blue stroke that has been used for each individual part, I might be wrong but as you get towards the center of the design for example around the axes, that it is the same weight as what has been used on the outside? This, to me makes it seem a little bit cluttered. I have noticed for the banner the inside part is slightly thinner and you have also used a thinner stroke to make the details on certain elements as well. It just to me seems to sort of make the center part blend together a lot more and I'm really having to look to see some of the elements.
Overall, I do really like this piece and I'm a big fan of your artwork in general, I just thought I'd mention the little things rather than a simple one line "I really like it" anyway, keep up the amazing work!
I suppose it might be a language issue also; english isn't my native tongue so I tend to take the messages on your work (as well as on other people's work) literally which in many cases isn't the same thing as understanding them. "Pretend it's okay" is a perfect example since to me it doesn't say "try to let go the crap in your life you can't do nothing about" but [Nelson Muntz voice]"hey, remember all that crap in your life? Haha!"[/Nelson Muntz voice]
Thank for taking the time to explain your side of it. From now on I'll ask questions first and shoot later.
I'm personally a huge fan of uplighting art since I do think our lives (yes, yours and mine also even if I'm generally a pretty happy camper) are filled with hidden tragedies and that most of us have enough to cope with without anyone putting them down. Stuff like a simple sticker on a street saying "It'll turn out alright" will make a difference in how my day is and I believe I'm not the only one. That's why I feel so strongly about this issue.
Another good example of a "positive" artwork is [link] which was made to inspire and was created for a charity project for young kids/teenagers without a home. You choose to see the negative in some of my work... which in the end is up to the viewer (you), not me
Well I do appreciate the detailed feedback, you seem to be dwelling on the negative. Just before this artwork, I'd posted this piece [link] which is in no way cynical or negative.
Also you'll notice the colors of this piece, not very negative or dark colors. Also the term "Pretend it's Okay" was actually a term I use to use when I had issues or problems that were out of my control. Just like a way to tell myself that even though life is rough sometimes, "pretend it's okay" because worrying about it at 5 in the morning wont do you any good. So in your case, you see the negative in this design, so you either might have negative thoughts right now, or the short daylight this time of year (Winter) might be effecting you and causing you to see a negative side to this.
People can take what they want from my artwork, but in the end I make my artwork for myself, and just happen to share it with the public. People can take negative or positive ideas from it, that is completely up to them.
Also as a sidenote, reusing smaller quotes/elements is all part of branding. You'll notice I do it with a few select characters over the years. Characters I've grown fond of, or that mean something to me... I mean after all it's my artwork
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry you gather a negative message from this design.
While I really like your work I thought I'd actually try to say something worth saying rather than showering you with comments like "awesomeness!", "Jared's shit is the new black" and other stuff like that since you get enough of it anyway.
"Pretend it's okay" and many other slogans you use have been overused already. When I saw them for the first time I thought they were kinda cool and clever but repetition is hell and it's especially tormenting since the slogans you use aren't uplifting but stuff that puts people down. Being cynical and sarcastic is way too often seen as being real and clever but how clever is it after all if it makes you feel like shit? It might be the finnish winter with 5 hours of daylight speaking but I'd really like to see a design from you that gives people hope and makes them feel good instead of doing just the opposite.