Monday, July 26, 2010


I came upon this rather interesting find about average Americans' attitude toward artists. It states that 96% Americans value art but only 27% of them think that artist contribute "a lot to the good of society." I'm shocked but then I'm also is the reality of my and most of my friends' world.

Consumers love products ---packaged, marketed, ready to put into fancy coffee-table books and art mausoleums (i.e museums)---but don't really value what goes into making those "products." That is part of the reason why I prefer galleries and don't like most of museums...because something about them makes me feel like I'm in a tomb: art works, like archeological artifacts, are celebrated once their maker are long dead. It is culture with a capital 'C' packaged with a seal of approval for those very people who value products over the whole deal-yes, that includes the artists who put their heart & soul into making those "products." Average people are reluctant to pay artists because they think that our work is "frivolous or recreational pursuit", unless of course it's marketing another product (which is why a lot of visual artist become graphic designers), or the work is worthy of investment and trade. Take a minute to visualize a world without the arts...I mean all form of art, beginning from the patterns on your shirt or the poems you were taught in school....

Thankfully, true artist do art because they cannot not do it, because that what makes them feel alive and true to who they are regardless of whether they are valued by the average consumers. It takes a lot of commitment though, because doing art is anything but frivolous...(unless you're a trustfund baby or come from wealth, though even then you still have to face a lot of the same issues) the ups and downs of the life of an artist take a lot of sacrifice and endurance, and most of all faith in oneself. What kept me going even in the most desperate moments is the love for the creative process. What I get in exchange is a freer life, a freedom to express who I am without being determined how to live, dress, behave, eat, love or think by the common denominator, i.e society. I am not a brick in the wall. At the end of the day, I don't give a shit about what average consumers think about artists. I give thanks to my artist fam out there who keep on inspiring me and keeping the flame alive. one love

Here is the article:

"A country that loves art, not artists
In a survey of attitudes toward artists in the U.S. a vast majority of Americans, 96%, said they were greatly inspired by various kinds of art and highly value art in their lives and communities. But the data suggests a strange paradox.

While Americans value art, the end product, they do not value what artists do. Only 27% of respondents believe that artists contribute "a lot" to the good of society. Further interview data from the study reflects a strong sentiment in the cultural community that society does not value art making as legitimate work worthy of compensation. Many perceive the making of art as a frivolous or recreational pursuit.

USA hopes to help close the gap between the love of art and the ambivalence toward artists in society. [...] As author Daniel Pink posits in his book A Whole New Mind—Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, we have moved beyond the Information Age and into the Conceptual Age. "In short, we've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of knowledge workers. And now to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers. . . . We've moved from an economy based on people's backs to an economy built on people's left brains to what is emerging today: an economy and society built more and more on people's right brains. . . . aptitudes so often disdained and dismissed—artistry, empathy, taking the long view, pursuing the transcendent—will increasingly determine who soars and who stumbles. It's a dizzying—but ultimately inspiring—change." [source:


Admin said...

Very interesting. There's a whole lot more to be discussed as there are various reasons that artists and the audience are disconnected.


Anonymous said...

nice write up! -Cortes NYC