The Capitalist Game vs. The Art Game
I'm an artist. You're an artist.
So how are you approaching this whole thing?
As a capitalistic artist?
Or as an artist living under capitalism?
This question seems critical to the success of any artist.
From my observation, the correct answer is to play The Capitalist Game.
In both scenarios, you retain your Artist-ness.
But when you play The Capitalist Game, you create art under market-specific conditions with the purpose of accumulating and expanding key performance indicators (money / attention / subscribers / etc). Which is fine.
Actually, that sounds quite boring. But that's why it's a game (the artist makes it a game).
If you play according to the rules of The Art Game, then you may find the current economic system run counter to your aesthetic. Because of this, a variety of new standards are applied by the artist (how to support oneself / scale of ambition / etc). This effect begins to alter the art work as well, as new values are applied to the quality of one's work. This happens because the marketplace is not seen by the artist as a legitimate source of information.
In other words you determine what is art with little to no outside influence.
I've always been an artist, as far back as I can remember. But for the first 20+ years of my life, I've been doing this thing according to the rules of The Art Game. I existed, begrudgingly, under a capitalist society. Art could not be critiqued with money. The future would remember me. These sort of thoughts. Naively, I focused on the art of the thing. I spent my days reading, and writing, and making movies. But I didn't care about networking or distribution.
At some point I realized this model was not sustainable. Nor did it make me any happier.
Once I started shifting things toward The Capitalist Game, things started to change for the better. The reason is obvious: much like good art, life finds a harmony. You get paid to do the thing you love, and so that feeds back into itself - theoretically - forever. Satisfaction.
Some argue money corrupts the art. Of course it can. Poverty corrupts art too. It's down to the ethics of the artist to prevent that (truly, the aesthetic).
So now I think: The better the art, the more money it makes.
If you think about it, practically every artist you know about or admire made its way to you attention through the marketplace.
For me it's: William Shakespeare, John Lennon, Stanley Kubrick. Capitalists.
However! I feel lucky for my experience indulging in the raw aesthetic of cinema. And I continue to do so - as a hobby. It's just what I love to do in my spare time.
Because of this experience, and my current mindset, I believe it's possible to achieve a balance.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the message of my favorite artists: it's possible to be relevant, make a living solely as an artist, and be fulfilled creatively while pushing the medium forward.
I encourage any artist just starting out to re-think art.
This can be your job & your expressive ecstasy.
It's all about understanding the economic function of the artist, and the transcendental function of art ... accomplishing both, and giving yourself a reason to hop out of bed everyday.
The question often gets tossed around: Art vs. Commerce.
Well, like the Ancient Latin phrase goes -