Wednesday, July 20, 2005
To Sever Man
I've been stuck in a quagmire lately. Whether to politicize and socially engage myself, or whether to take a more distanced stance toward society.
As an artist, I am forced to question the relevance of the work I do. If only a small cadre of likeminded individuals are exposed to my work, is it of great enough value? Furthermore, my focus is sort of a fringe of a fringe. My opinions are iconoclastic, my aesthetic not shared by the masses.
And in order to do this work that is seen by few and scorned by many, I must work in a soul-sucking ad agency forty hours a week as a freelancer. If this is the life of the artist, I am not sure I want it. I can struggle forward for the next couple of decades, and slowly establish myself, and maybe, maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to squeeze by on income from my art.
Do I love my art? Yes. The question is whether I love it enough to sacrifice giant slabs of my life to supporting it while not actually doing it. If I'm too drained for art by the time I get home, why not just sell out and get it over with already? I'm slowly becoming the average drone I've always dreaded becoming.
It's clear. It's time to leave my day job. The sad fact is that I've accrued plenty of debt on artistic missions of various sorts. And the money here is good. It's hard to turn down the money. But I must. I will...in a few months for sure.
Add to my day job dissatisfaction my nagging feeling that I could be doing more every day to make a difference. When I was growing up, I always thought I was going to be someone who would make a difference, but I'm currently on a path to becoming increasingly shallow and self-reflective. An easy thing to do in this image-insane city. And with a blog.
The problem with engaging politically is you have to deal with assholes like Tucker Carlson. People who have no interest in logic and reasoning except as a tool to serve their party masters. People who take positions and then muster their rhetorical skills to back them up. And of course, there is the great mass of people who just don't give a crap. The hate, contempt, and stupidity that courses through every public discussion is so revolting that I want to sneak off to the woods and smear portraits of the Virgin Mary with dung.
But I'm not willing to give in. It's time for a change. So I find myself contemplating the opposite of artistry: law school. Why? Because at least I would have a shot of going to work every day to do something I really cared about and believed in. I don't know how much longer I can stand waking up and hating to get out of bed.