8/9/2011

On the Attitudes of Artists…

 During a stay in Brooklyn recently, the topic of “tortured artistic genius” came up after a 5 hour theater festival with friends from graduate school.

Talking about Picasso and his disgusting treatment of his family and just people in general, my response to one of the producers of the theater festival’s comment “Don’t artists have to be tortured in some way to create great art?” – Sure, I think some emotional immaturity or trauma, some kind of hyperbolic emotional response to something can manifest itself into some amazing art work, but you can still be a DECENT HUMAN BEING and simultaneously make ground breaking art.

Artists should challenge the status quo of society, but being a complete dick about it won’t get you too far anymore. America seems to demand humility from those in the public eye and artists shouldn’t be treated any differently. And in my experience, there are a handful of artists (in all mediums) that could truly benefit from being knocked down a peg or two.

We are a very self-analytical crowd, and we should continue to be.

If you are no longer your own worst critic, something has gone very, very wrong.

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8/9/2011

On Artistic Compensation…

after having a very heated discussion with fellow art friends, this message submitted anonymously, by, let’s call them “Pay Me, Jerks!”

Artists Have Bills to Pay, Too!

What is it about artists that make people think we don’t want or deserve compensation for our work?

Is it because you think us bohemian vagrants with no home and no reason to keep up any form of personal hygiene? That we wear the same paint/clay/soiled clothes everyday without the desire to ever clean ourselves? Newsflash: We have homes, and rent to pay, along with the electric, gas, phone and internet bills just like any other schmo off the street. And GUESS WHAT: We kind of want to be able to buy toilet paper and laundry detergent and hand soap, too! Do you know what it’s like when you only have about three bathroom sessions left on your current toilet paper roll and you have no idea where the money is going to come from to buy more when you run out? It’s FUCKING SCARY man. (a 1st world horror, I know)

 Do you think we eat out of dumpsters? Or do you think we all just eat out of the community garden, or the garden we have in our back yards? Well GUESS WHAT: some of us don’t have community gardens, and others of us HATE gardening because we are AWFUL at it. Some of us actually like strolling the isles of a proper grocery store in search of a good, hearty meal to make when we get back home (we haven’t paid the rent on it yet, of course). WHY DON’T YOU WANT US TO EAT? What have we ever done (other than everything you ask us to do without pay) to deserve your cold shoulder when it comes to a little chunk of change? Hell, we might even start settling for just the cost of materials so we can feel semi-appreciated (Christ, I’m starting to feel like Barack Obama in the middle of a debt crisis). And IT IS a crisis, mind you.

 From now on, can we just pretend to look through our budgets and try to find some scraps of money to give the artists who give their EVERYTHING to the artwork that they produce? We’re not asking you to break the bank for us (they’re already broken, and it wasn’t an artist’s fault!) We’re asking only for a basic right: that if you like our work and need to borrow our talents, that we could exchange a bit of mutual respect (whoa whoa, not too much, our egos might inflate enormously) in the form of dollar dollar bills, the universal way of saying “thank you, job well done.”

 So here’s some advice to all those wanting to use an artist’s ideas and skills but not wanting to fork over the cash: Put together SOMETHING to offer in exchange for a talent that many would LOVE to have, because if you keep asking for free shit, your organization is going to start LOOKING like you always ask for free shit. (Meaning: Artists are not above expressing their frustrations in the free art they hand over to you, and then you’ve wasted both your time, and theirs.)

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