Art · Finished Art

Death to the Starving Artist and Fine Art World

The fine art world is an elitist, capitalist hellscape that rewards the privileged and forces the rest to struggle needlessly. Many fine artists that do it as a full time profession, typically come from some background of wealthy family. And not to say that there aren’t exceptions. But most of those “successful” fine artist probably have several safety nets in case of failure. Those who aren’t “successful” are probably only able to do it as a side-gig to a regular job. Chances are they’re living “paycheck-to-paycheck” just to keep a roof over their heads.

A fine artist is not the same as a professional one. A professional artist is one who does their work with the goal of making money in mind. A fine artist does their work for “art’s sake”. Whatever the hell that means. Fine art as a concept has perpetuated this harmful idea that art made for money “isn’t real art”. And yet, the wealthy elite buy and sell fine art among themselves, in some twisted circle-jerk game of money-tag. Meanwhile, sneering at those who struggle to make art as a career just to make ends meet.

These fools take what they have for granted

I find the fine art world personally offensive

When I’m not pouring time into these Mage Punk Archives, I work as an assistant manager at Blick Art Materials. Working in customer service, I can say with uncomfortable certainty that fine art customers are generally the worst. Many of them are privileged enough to be able to make art without worry of financial hardship. Now, one might naively think that being so unburdened should give way to a certain kindness. Especially when meeting with those struggling in a field like the retail industry. And yet, in actuality, it’s many of these unburdened peoples who happen to be among the cruelest of customers. They’re some of most entitled and self-centered people I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet.

Somehow, this has been a particularly difficult year in dealing with this ilk. Despite my many years employed at this store, this year of 2018 really tested the limits of my patience. Not to say that I wish I was a fine artist. But I can only wish I had the opportunity to work on my craft, unhindered by financial worries. Imagine having to endure and smile through the cruelty of those fortunate enough to live a life you want.

It’s so dreadfully painful. My heart crumbles to pieces reliving each terrible interaction.

And so naturally, I drew a violent, satirical cartoon about it.

Thumb-Noggins #1: Money and Happiness and Fine Art

Panel 1: A hexagon shaped caricature of a "fine artist" stands in front of a canvas with the portrait of a fingerprint painted on it and huge pile of money behind it. 

It's saying "money might not buy you happiness, but it definitely makes it easier to pursue."

Panel 2: A head with arms and legs wearing an army helmet, points a golden bazooka at the "artist" It shouts "money can also get you a sick BAZOOKA!"

Let it all burn to the ground

May the current fine art world go down in flames

I didn’t spend very long on it and I missed a few key points. But this just about sums up my feelings regarding the fine art world. I’m not gonna delve too deeply into whatever the hell these “Thumb-Noggins” are. In fact, I hope I never see them again. For now however, they’re getting my point across. I will say this: as of this very instant writing this sentence, I’ve decided that the bazooka itself is sentient. Yes, it is Boomhilda, the Bazooka that’s talking there in that second panel. Yes. Anyway, this only took a few hours to crank out so I’ll at least revisit this technique again some day.

I can’t let this year end on such a negative note..

If I did that, it would mean that the fine art jerks win.

We can’t have that! Nope! I have one more post queued to go up before year’s end. It’s not nearly as negative as this or the last one was, I promise. I just couldn’t help but want to get this off my chest a bit. There’s more that I could probably say about it, but I don’t wanna give it that much energy right now.

Currently, we wait in that liminal space of time betwixt the years. It’s a mystifying period of time that feels like it belongs to neither year, despite being in the current month. The seconds feel like pouring rice but the hours feel like a thick jello. The days seem long and short all at once. I’d like to spend my share of this time doing something a little more productive than complaining about entitled snobs.

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