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Art Opinion

Popularity Orgy?

Maybe you’re old enough to remember this song by Nada Surf or maybe you’re not. But the song isn’t the point of the blog. So what is?

Well, the popularity orgy verses our own set of ethical standards.*

My career as an artist has had its ups and downs, as I’m sure that rings true for the majority. I’ve paid out thousands (yes, thousands) to attend workshops, seminars, and lectures on various ways to build my career, only to hear the same recycled information: be visible, be active and be contemporary (aka popular.) This is not my style, but I tried it anyway. Afterall, I did just pay an “industry expert” to lecture me on how to fit in.

For a few years, I followed the pattern of being visible – active – contemporary. It exhausted me, almost immediately. I was on constant display from posting incessantly on social media, to attending as many openings as possible, to pumping out as much work as I could (didn’t matter if it was good) and applying and soliciting every gallery I could think of because, well, you never know! While I did have some very good successes, I hated the rhythm and the total control popularity had on my day to day.

Life had become so dramatic in this pursuit, that I was literally turning off my natural instincts. I buried the aspects of my personality for the sake of fitting in and attaining (some sort) of recognition. I was caught in a rat race and becoming more and more conflicted and tired and sick. However, I kept up my act because I was trained to believe this was the life of an artist.

Horse. Shit.   

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “What a loser, can’t hack it.” And maybe you’re right about that, but that’s not my business. What I did learn, is that the path of popularity is not a path that fits in with my natural set of standards, the ones that I practiced so hard to keep dormant. I am, by nature, an introverted person. I thrive in being alone or with a very tiny few individuals. I’ve never liked “scenes” or being LOUD. I like doing my own things the way I like to do them, even if that means going against the status quo. I have absolutely given up on trying to please everyone all of the time because it’s good for my “career”. What’s not good for ME is dishonesty.

So what if I’m not active on Social Media (because the facts show that these platforms are damaging to the human brain.) So what if I don’t like to hang out at galleries and pretend to like drinking wine from plastic glasses. So what if I don’t want to eat, breathe, and live only art. I still create. I still make art. And I participate in a life without dramatic pursuit.

If the price I have to pay to “make it” means that I have to constantly “fake it”, then guess what I say, “fuck it!”



* If popularity orgies are your standard, then great! Disregard this post.