Things That Make Me Not Want to be an Artist

Well, for one there is the version of the art world as most symbolically represented by Damien Hirst.  It’s the I’m Rich application for the iPhone, only on more of a “screw private islands, I’ve got a private archipelago” scale.

(yay populism!)

There’s also the particular breed of New Ager that feeels everything and believes that if you think about something hard enough, deep deep down in your soul, that it will come true.  While I’m glad the art community is quite pluralistic and widely embracing, we didn’t necessarily decide to be that way so that we could become the last place in America willing to put up with those people.

Then, there is this:  The Art Crowd Goes In-Crowd, in the Washington Post, an article about DC’s art party scene.

I guess the thing about the rest of us is that when we finished college and started caring more about what we do than about reveling in what other people think about what we do, we ended our socialite pretenses.

But in the Washington Post?

It’s all just so not me.

When I was a young’n back in Chicago, oh, what was it, eight years ago? — sure, I had some connections with a scene full of posing, impostering, and hipsterism that propelled itself forward on the name of art.  I was even listed as the curator for this event.  I wasn’t.  There’s no way I would have included some of the art you can see in the video.  I’m flattered, sort of, that the people who put that all together thought I was important enough to try and glom some mileage off my name.  I wasn’t.  Although, if you know what to look for, you can catch a few glimpses of my paintings from back in the day.

So, if you watch that video, you’ll probably say something like, “I can see there’s some art on the walls, and some stuff that might be performance art, but I’m not sure how you could see them in the middle of a rave.  Kinda looks like it’s just a party, except maybe it’s using art to define the type of scenester that that scene is for.”  You’d be right.

It wasn’t new then either.

I do know that I’d be more materially successful if I were a part of such a scene.  Even if my spirit is too old for it, my body really isn’t.  Plenty of people remain soulless well beyond my age.  I could use a little more material success.  It’s just that I can’t imagine anyone going into art so they can do things they don’t want to do.  How else could a young person make it past all the pressure to not become an artist?  And parties were not the reason I went into art.  Art is art.  Parties are parties.  I love one.  The other is fine, even if I’m far less adept at it.  It’s important to remember the difference.