02 March, 2013

What's so Great About Art, Anyway?

Last summer I got paid entirely too much money to be an extra on a Hollywood movie. The movie, "21 and Over" just released to terrible reviews. I didn't see the movie and might wait until it's out on DVD to see if I can spot myself and my friends, but the crew were very nice, had a fun time making the movie and did everything in a smart and efficient manner(as efficiently as a Hollywood movie can be). They knew they were making a commercial product but had fun doing it.

There exists a strange sort of split in our society between high art and fun. It's fashionable to say your(sic) an artist. To pretend that what you're doing matters. To suffer nobly for the greater good. It's not very fashionable to say that you're doing something for the money or just to have fun. You have to suffer. You have to be important and tell other people how important you are.

I've put on a few art shows and used to tell people I was an artist. Then I got tired of the responses. Often there was the look of awe when I told them I was an artist. Then I would say I usually just draw dogs and book covers and it's oftentimes pretty mundane. 

For some reason I have found there is often the assumption that great artists or great athletes have some magical ability. That they do something beyond their simple craft. Something magical and mysterious that noone else can touch. There seems to be the thought that mechanics and janitors can't know this too. That artists don't simply learn their craft in school or by trade little by little the same way that teachers and politicians do. It is a great disrespect and disservice to worship and praise great artists if you are not also praising great teachers, great plumbers, great mailmen, great bus drivers and great bridge builders.

I have no idea why we worship artists(especially actors) and sports figures. They are two of the most worthless professions. Even though they do what they do well, they are just entertainers. They are just having fun. What's so great about art, anyway? I like to draw, but is it growing food for me or fixing my toilet or making me a better person? No!

Fuck art!


Janeczka said...

I understand your point of view. Nonetheless, I think we make art because we have to. There is this need in us to express something and get it out of our system in order to move on in life, or understand things better... Not for money or recognition. To communicate something, to share it with others (when you can).
Art exists for the sake of itself, I feel, sometimes.

Andrea Rouda said...

This is all so true and very well said. In fact, often I wish I were a plumber, or something else that's "real."