Artists are the new gladiators.
In a wealthy world, they are paraded around the internet “stadium” to get thumbs up on Facebook and YouTube if they are worthy, pinned to Pinterest if they make you look smart, or retweeted so you have something beautiful on your timeline.
But only the few. The loudest. The most fierce.
Only the ones who learn to be marketing agencies and artists at the same time. Only the artists who are willing to spend every waking minute fighting for your attention.
In the end, most die poor and forgotten in a world that likes to focus on no more than 5 people at a time. Just like gladiators.
— John Rivett (@johnrivett) November 18, 2014
Artists fighting to the death, are you not entertained?
I am not.
I am sad.
As a manager of musicians, husband to an artist, and filmmaker, I watch with horror as so much talent is wasted and people with gifts are slowly exiting their arena, ending the fight to make the world more beautiful and interesting.
Others strengthen their resolve and give up hopes of having a family, buying a home, or retiring. Instead they live with parents, pack into group apartments and live off Ramen noodles. All so that you can enjoy free music, cheap art, and pretty photos to look at.
This is reality.
We are losing something. We are turning the world into an ignorant land of McDonald’s and Ikea.
“That looks handmade, I’m sure I can do it myself. Will you make a tutorial? Can I get the recipe? Are there free tickets? Do you ever have sales? Will you price match that artist over there? They are cheaper.”
Yes, we have made the world cheaper. Instead of paying our talented neighbors, we mass produce billions of one designer’s product, overseas, as we turn our eyes away from our neighbors and back to our Netflix, top 40 radio, and microwave dinners. The taste makers tell us how things should taste.
This will make us sick. It has made us sick.
Then what shall we do?
Don’t take pride in your cheapness, take pride in what you’re buying. Rediscover craft and the craftsmen. Yes, it costs more, but it is an investment in our culture, a shared sacrifice for a richer world.
Turn off the radio and TV. Listen to something new. Discover an amazing short film on Vimeo. Never buy your jewelry at Target. Stop eating at Subway or Chipotle. Limit the number of times you feed your kids chicken nuggets or Mac n Cheese. Buy something meaningful for Christmas, not just the easy choice from the Top 10 list you saw on the plane.
Know the name of who makes your food, music, art, and photos. Get to know them.
They are dying for your attention. Honor them tonight.
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