7 Jul 2011

PAY ME WHAT YOU OWE!

The Mona Lisa
Parents born 45-60 years ago in Africa may not know this but art is very lucrative. It's funny how some parents say, "When you graduate and get a real job you can pay for an art course," like art is a silly hobby. No-matter what form you take it in, art forms the foundation of almost everything we know. Art is like that stalker who you seem to see everywhere and cant get away from. It's in the buildings, its in the cars, its in the spoons, the cups, the medicine boxes, the capsules, the tablets and the bottles. We wear it, sleep on it, sit on it, knock a thief upside his head with it... Come to think of it I should try and think of what isn't art.
So basically art cannot be ignored. Well now that I've gotten to the point of my post, what next? Ill tell you what! Most artists have a problem quantifying the worth of their work. The major difference between sciences and arts is application versus creation. (No, duh!) So while your lawyers will read books to try to find wiggle-room in a case and your scientists/professors will try to apply formulae that they didn't "discover" to solve issues, the artist will lay down and conceptualise. Sound's lazy doesn't it? So why don't we watch a show created and scripted by a calculus professor? I imagine hours of rib-cracking fun or immersion into entertainment like no other. (NOT!)
Mr Mark Millar
The problem with artists is that we are smarter than scientists and non-artsy career people but the world doesn't really know it yet. You may not believe me because I'd never be able to make an iPhone or a space shuttle if you gave me a century and a factory full of manuals & steps. Well, in my defence, Steve Jobs would never be able to create the Mona Lisa with his hands if given two centuries and a painter's guide. So we are at some-what of an impasse aren't we? Well not really. Think about this; most "real jobs" are either labour intensive or require a large amount of concentration and experience. Sucks to be you "real job" people. Mark Millar on the other hand (Writer: Civil War, Old Man Logan, Wanted, Kick Ass, Nemesis, Superior, bla bla bla) just needs a pen, a pad and a breakfast mug to make millions of dollars. Is Mark lazy? He will be if Oxford Dictionary announces a reboot of the word but for now, he is just smarter.
We have now arrived at the problem. Art comes easy to the artists due to their superior intellect in their field and thus the rest of the world finds it hard to financially quantify their work.
I like this old story told to me by a friend. A guy is approached by a leading car dealer to do some art to promote the vehicle company. When he asked for payment he was told that his art would be seen by a massive number of people and it would be good for exposure. He then asked them to give him a car and he would drive it around and a massive number of people will see it as he moves around. Isn't it the same thing though? People assume that because art comes so easily to the artist, it shouldn't be worth much. After-all, I created a code for months that can allow me to build a search engine when all he did was sit at the breakfast table for one day and sketch.
All Ill say is, don't victimise artists for their genius. Pay them what you owe!

10 comments:

  1. I'm all for balance, so imho, we need to definitely appreciate the creatives in our world more, but also learn how to work *together* with the practical technical people and do things to improve the state of the world.

    It shouldn't be about money alone - there's enough people running around after that and the imbalance between the poor and rich classes is beyond sinful.

    Creatives need to sit down and think about how to inspire people to become pro-active and close that gap. Technies then need to appreciate those ideas and put them into practical use. The world needs both kinds of people. (And all the others inbetween.)

    It's a bit like men & women...but I guess that aspect of teamwork isn't really going too well for humanity either :/

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  2. True about the financial imbalance and the collaboration. The interesting thing in this post is that Steve Jobs is very well aware of the role of artists in his profession. Otherwise Apple products wouldn't be so sleek. Those waaaay up there like the billion dollar car companies, real-estate agents and the like all know how important artists are to their car designs, fashion etc
    Those who don't know, however are the mid-level corporates who want art for free because it isn't as important as accounting or PR. In Kenya especially its a big problem. Everyone wants to low-ball an artist or writer or photographer. Kenyans need to realize the importance of art.

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  3. Also, if avenues are created for artistic expression like they do in America, self employment would rise and people would climb out of poverty. Americans make a lucrative sport out of EVERYTHING!!! Poker, lumberjacks, bowling, opportunities to empower people are endless.

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  4. Kenyan's do need to realize the importance of art and develop an eye for quality of work as well.

    But that's just it though: making art lucrative incurs a high risk of diluting it. The struggle between materialism and spirit of true creativity has been an age-old battle.

    I'm not sure how truly 'empowering' the opportunites the Americans give to their people are...

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  5. That's true, diluting it may be a problem but sometimes you have to wonder whether the pros will outweigh the cons. Right now the art being seen is very minimal. Those in the newspapers aren't really worth reading I'm sorry to say. But if the commodity becomes marketable I guess the buyers will pick what they want out of the bunch and those that aren't that good will fade to oblivion.

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  6. lol. A lot of what is in the papers is unfortunately not worth reading. I think the overall quality of even the writing is taken for granted (because there's hard any competition like you said). So if the words - which are the main medium - are often below-average, what can we expect from the art, which is consider secondary?

    Perhaps the real issue is that there is more supply than demand? We have a lot of people drawing and producing comics for example, but how many readers do we have who also appreciate and would demand a certain quality in what they read?

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  7. Maybe we should produce for the audiences abroad then those here will take notice if we succeed. That's sadly how it works isn't it?

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  8. Then I guess we are here to change that :)

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