Thursday, December 18, 2014

This one goes out to my fellow artists

Okay, after reading this post just dook out a sketch, a crappy sketch just make sure it isn't your best work. Make rookie mistakes, don't use reference, don't bother to render and fuck up your lighting values.

Now, sit down and dedicate a couple of hours to drawing a decent piece, when you can, to the best of your abilities. All it needs to be is significantly better than your crappy sketch.

Now take bothand secret them somewhere. But seperately, like if you have a desk with unused drawers put them in two different drawers. Or if you have some old shoeboxes or something put them in seperate boxes and tuck both under your bed.

Now! How much would you bet that people open up the drawer with the good drawing way more often than the one with the crappy sketch? $20, $50, $100? Would you stake your entire career on it?

What the fuck am I talking about?

I doubt anybody would speculate that an awesome picture will draw a steady migration of people in to open up a particular drawer or shoe box to gaze upon it's awesomeness. Which is to say controlling for all other factors the quality of a piece has no real intrinsic pulling power for an audience.

Yet many artists effectively do stake their career on the notion that quality will be recognised, that it will somehow magically sell itself. That somebody with a career entirely unlike an artist eg. somebody who has spent years gaining both social and physical capital will see the piece and then provide it with an audience.

There's much truth to this scenario, but there's a whole heap of risk aversion, and when I write a book the book will be on risk. This is a classic misnomer understanding of risk. Something that is unlikely to occur is not high risk, but low risk.

So studying hard in high school and getting into medicine is a low risk profession, because due to the pressing need people have to not die, and not be throwing up, and not have a splitting headache etc. it's highly likely that doctors will always make a good living. When something is highly likely to occur it is low risk, but equally an artist being discovered by an extremely wealthy benefactor and being showered with a fortune being highly unlikely to occur makes it also a low risk strategy.

High risk means high levels of uncertainty. NNT is a billionaire thanks to his black swan investment strategy because it is actually a low risk strategy he had the insight to exploit. Which is while impossible to predict 'black swan' events are almost certain to occur.

Anyway, I digress. What I hope my thought experiment (or who knows, actual experiment) may persuade you is that you need to take risks and actually show your pieces, promote them even when you are unsure of their execution.

Simply wanting to succeed based on perfect execution has many counterarguments out there in the market. Perhaps most prominently Michael Bay, an inspiration for all artists.

For me, the pursuit of execution is something I do for personal satisfaction, but I have too many ideas to ever execute perfectly, as a result I want to be prolific, not good.

As Larry David said 'without the idea there is nothing to execute, so I'll go with idea.'

No comments: