I’ve been spending time with working artists and reading about art all week.
First, I put up one of Wil’s paintings that he loaned me, and hung out with Justin Stephens last night. Donald Browne, a friend and gallery owner, lent me the great book 7 Days in the Art World too.
So I’m feeling kind of immersed and, as a result, I think I’m figuring a few things out. Probably all wrong but whatever.
1. Art is extremely meta– it’s about so much more than the work itself. It’s about the context around which something has been created. So when I think of a painting and what it means, I have to consider all the time that went into it and the suffering that the artist went through to create it, not to mention what he’s inspired by and thinking about at the time. We lose so much if we just look at it and don’t think of what it’s (metaphysically) surrounded by, the lineage it comes from, etc.
2. Everything I do is commerce right now. It’s pretty disgusting. I need to start doing things which are about something else than business– it was never the person I intended to be. I dropped out of art school in 2000 or so (who knows what would have come of me then), and I need to start working on that side of me more. Very important.
3. All this stuff is so political. It’s all about networking and meeting/being seen with the right people, just like it is with us at TED and SXSW. I think many artists probably renounce it officially but are masters at it behind closed doors. (Like content producers on the web, they have to be in order to survive.)
4. As a result of #3, artists need to become good at the web very badly. Hugh Macleod has become pretty famous as a result of the work he’s done online, as have a few other artists (1000 paintings comes to mind) but man, there are so many people that need these skills that so many people on social web takes for granted. It’s amazing what would happen if we all decided to do something useful with our lives instead of being social media experts.
About point #4: We’ve said this so many times in the past but it bears repeating. Dilbert creator Scott Adams said “Cross two things together that you’re good at, and you’ll have a great career.” We need to take the skills we’ve learned here in this space and bring them elsewhere. Only then can we be remarkable.
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