Anxiety Buddha, a mid-sized oil painting on stretched canvas - DETAIL view

Selling the Work: The Dirty Business of Creative Interruption

For visual artists and musicians selling the work comes with the territory of making. We are well aware now that our privileged status has been stripped from us, that the arts are no longer a celebration of culture, and that we have been financialized and reduced to units along with every other bit of cultural production that can be broken into units.

The disenfranchisement is more economic than political and the process is thanks to economic and legal principles. Thanks to a lack of representation, the Amazon was stolen by Amazon. Thanks to economies of scale, Alibaba was stolen from Alibaba. Thanks to Uber, taxis were replaced with your car and no benefits.

Artists growing up in this era of shameless self-promotion swim in these waters because it is the paradigm they’ve always known, but for me, a Gen-Xer who resisted the future of the internet when it was only just a premonition, every aspect of this world makes my skin crawl. Selling the work was never a walk in the park, but now we are expected to prop up these hollow shell tech bro companies with our cultural production just to get a chance to be seen by somebody. Even our eyes have been replaced with their screens.

I’m writing this, I have no views on this website, and I’m still thinking about how I might sell a painting off this post. Do I have a relavant painting for this post? Sure I do.

Anxiety Buddha, 2023

Everywhere, the presence of our mediated existence is present, it surrounds us like electrified water. Even monks have to contend with it. For them, they either attempt to use it with the utmost grace and conscientiousness and in some cases hand the dirty mind-scattering work off to their support team, or on the other hand they must look at this era much like a war or some other type of pervasive strife, simply returning to the fundamentals feeling like a Siberian bear in deep hibernation, waiting for the dawn of spring when the fog of this cultural war may have lifted. I don’t know, but I imagine.

The time I’ve spent seeking how to navigate this cowardly new world where everyone exists from behind the screen has been a massive waste of time and energy for the most part. The liars, grifters, talkers have taken over my headspace. When I was a kid, it was television that served this opiating role. You couldn’t interact with it, but its content filled the heads of the masses. It’s part of the self-medicating buzz everybody’s on.

I guess it causes us to do less harm, to do less in general, to disengage with the world unseen by the screens. We are learning from our outputs, like psycho-criminals digging through their own excrement, but that’s how it is, and at some point, this process is realized, and that is the point to step out of the cycle with physical production, art making. So there it is.

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