Mixel is no longer an collage-art remixing iPad tool, but a photo grid composition iPhone app. A casualty of its own excellence.
Years ago, a good buddy of mine started a drawing-related webapp that was meant to be a community-focused game and just good fun and appeal to everyone, but I had worried it wouldn’t take off.
As an undergrad art-school survivor, I’d observed two things with great confidence:
- People usually do not take criticism easily.
- People always think their art could be better.
This is what you are taught in an undergraduate art school setting: how to listen and use criticism, and how to keep creating in order to improve your skills. Ignoring the naturally (over-)confident, and the naturally gifted, these things must be learned.
So when this startup was launched, I was concerned that it would only resonate with people who “knew they could draw” and if talented artists came on board, it would only make the average user more self-conscious of their skill level and less likely to participate.
I get the sense that Mixel ran into this too, and a core set of users became the active community and it didn’t grow much from there. They’ve taken a step back and become much more like the successful art apps of the iOS world like Instagram, et al: A simple scope of creation, a lot of hand holding (that you can skip if you’d like), and features of the app itself that make looking good easy. This can be photo filters, or pen effects and smoothing like Paper for iPad provides. These apps have the ability to make anything you drop in it look better, and that’s the point.
I had high hopes that Mixel would be the thing that crossed that psychological barrier and succeed at a large scale, but I guess some things never change.