Since it’s entirely subjective, virtually anything can be considered art. I could go to the bathroom inside of a top hat and put it on display, assuming that’s not been done several times already. While this might sound like a weakness, it’s also a strength. Since it is subjective, it doesn’t impose limits and provides endless opportunities. However this also lets a lot of garbage slip by. Plenty of artists make a name for themselves and people want to buy every piece of paper they once sneezed into for some grotesquely obscene amount of money. This works literally and as a metaphor for bad art. It may just be that some art is worth more money than most people will ever amass in several lifetimes, or it may be that some people just have entirely too much wealth. But suggesting to a rich person that they might have too much money is like suggesting to a dangerously fat person that they might eat too much food. It isn’t likely to change anything.
I guess the same goes for artists. What are they really worth? After doing a little research, I found that the average annual salary for an artist is supposed to be around $47,500 each year. I don’t know if that figure takes into account all of the suicides and mental breakdowns that occur just trying to establish yourself creatively, but I sort of doubt it. I bet we’ve lost a lot of wonderful artists to a lack of fortitude, inability to feed themselves, tragic failure and random misfortune. Of course, I currently live in Michigan where we thrive on such things.
There is actually several thriving creative communities in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. A few nights ago, I had done some light galavanting with friends. What began as a few drinks, turned into a few more drinks at a local music festival and evolved slowly into a full night of aggressive positive social interaction. The scene was maybe a little too hip and I made habitual verbal contact with assorted acquaintances and friends that I had not seen in some time. Women were winked at, men were hugged and ideas were exchanged until my close friends and I felt satisfied. The music had shifted from enjoyable to ear-destroyingly heinous. It was like a crime was being committed on stage but nobody was brave enough to stop it. Still, it’s nice to be in a place where something like that is available six nights of the week.
I have unique access to poets, photographers, filmmakers, actors, writers, musicians, sculptors, painters and illustrators all around me. Sometimes I wish we were all a bit more cohesive, though. Artists often possess poor social skills or are at the mercy of maintaining their image. Being a host to multiple forms of creativity myself, I tend to get overly excited planning collaborative projects with others.
I’m not sure what accounts for this unease in the creative community. Maybe it’s just the element of competition, but I don’t see how offering a helping hand could hurt. I love collaborating and would really like to see everyone make it to the top together. Besides, it’s not like only the good art is profitable. Some of the best comics only ever made money after they became repetitive and stale. When I get sick, I have a tendency to watch really old films and read comics. Recently, I had such a day. I started by listening to some old Daniel Johnston recordings and reading King Cat. Then I moved onto some of the more mainstream titles and found myself spending more time analyzing them than enjoying, so I tried to condense years of content into a single comic and tried to explain why they are supposed to be funny.
I’ve worked in an office, it’s actually pretty close to that. I still don’t feel like I could quite explain what makes these comics so funny to everyone. This must be an off couple of days for me….