I find myself reading things about artists. Mostly comments from my Editor, but weird texts in general. I don’t hang much on message boards, but sometimes I wander into the depths of the Internet just to see what it holds for me. Usually I come back with a hangover and red eyes.
I don’t pan artists or their field. Every work has their place in society, and artists hang in the cultural department quite a lot. As an entity, an artist is meant to do art and I do not mean this in any art is in the eye of the beholder way. No, I mean actual art that is sculptures, paintings, and all that high end art. A video game developer is not an artist, neither is a businessman or a blogger.
The reason people call people who are not artists as such can be found in the Industrial Revolution. Before that artisans and artists were a closer entity. The game changer was industrialisation, which allowed mass production of goods that werepreviously made by craftsmen, who also at this point were very close to artists we think nowadays. Prior to the Revolution an artisan made a cup and painted it to look pretty. This person was both a craftsman and an artist. During the Revolution when these cups saw mass production, these craftsmen found that their cups weren’t selling enough, and that other bunch of people began to paint these mass produced cups. They could either join the factories or attack the factories, which mostly ended up in a bloody fight.
Artisans have a certain degree of license of being artistic, as do most craftsmen. However, this does not make them artists of any kind. I bring harsh words on people who act like artists, not to artists themselves.
Artists have a freedom that I envy, but this freedom also brings a rather heavy burden that I really don’t mind not having. While I wake up in the morning and curse that I need to weld some pipes and straighten what I screwed up yesterday, an artist can just change the canvas or slap some new paint on and be done with it. I can’t do that, I need to find why things went like they went so that it won’t happen again. It’s hard, it takes time and most of the time it’s frustrating, especially in projects that are only about prototypes and proof of concepts.
Artists do not live in the real world, they live in the artscape. The population of the world allows this, and it’s good for them. Here and there artists find something to feed on, and continue living there and bringing us some great works of art. The rest of us live in the real world, where success matters. A lot of us would like to live in the artscape and some people invade this space, only to find out that what they’re doing is a long way from art and artists. It’s true that anyone can enter the artscape if they have enough money to support their visions, like some film directors and musicians, but the rest of us just watch their goings and discuss why these people put millions into projects that nobody wants.
To a large extent, artists do need to serve the public. They have a position held high, and because of this unique position in culture we expect them to give us culture back. Actual artists, the people who really do know their field, know that they have very little leeway to screw things up. They need to bring us something we need and want. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves starving and even worse; forgotten. Even artists need to follow the line of public service. Vast amount of people working as designers or whatnot follow the image of romanticised artist, and this is nothing short of sad and pathetic.
After the Industrial Revolution the traditional role of artists was shattered. Designers’ position was born in its wake. What had traditionally been a part of artists’ work was now taken to a more serving purpose. However, the general populace, either because of theirignorance or simply because they do not understand the division, still regards bulk of industries standing on art and creativity.
I’ve used the term creative industries to represent films, musics etc. This is a misnomer and I apologise. They are about creation, but only artists create. This is their blessing and a curse. I intend to produce, but unlike in creation there are levels of quality and demand I need to meet in order to stay in the business. So does everybody else who is not an artist.