14 June 2009

Why was I wired for art?

This is one of those rant/vent kind of posts so if you don’t like that sort of thing then steer clear.
Cristiano Ronaldo

I have beaten myself up about that question many times before, but in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo netting a ₤80 million transfer in the midst of a crap economy and me driving past a man on the freeway waving a red flag to caution traffic, I found myself again asking the same old question.

Why art? Why not football, or office work or agriculture or waving red flags to caution traffic?

Because when I looked at that guy waving the red flag, I asked myself, is that guy happy with what he is doing? Maybe not, but there’s also the possibility that man is delirious with joy, that he finds happiness and joy not by being in any specific profession, but by just having a job. His happy just to be working, whatever job it may be. That may seem like a pearl of wisdom kind of statement, but I’m just not getting it.

Bro with red flag

I can’t just be doing any kind of job. I’ve done that before and I felt a kind of misery that was a few shades away from suicide. I vowed not to do something I’m not completely into, which is why I quit that job and launched myself completely into my graphic novel passion project, hoping that this may be the beginning of something new, a rebirth, a revitalisation!

But alas, now I’m realising maybe that’s all a myth, those mantras of ‘live for what you believe’ or ‘follow your bliss’ or any one of those gurufic platitudes. Except maybe if you’re Mark Zuckerberg and you’re on the verge of creating a social networking phenomenon, or if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo. Because it seems that stuff only really matters if it has to do with something that people care about, like Facebook or football.

But if it comes to something like art, nobody cares much for that, not your regular, everyday folks anyway. Doesn’t do anything for them, they’ll kinda pat you on the back for doing it but they’re indifferent to it, rather focussing on the more relevant stuff that everyone else around them is focussing on.

Unless of course they suddenly hear of a sensation that came out of nowhere that everybody is talking about (Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, The Dark Knight, Paris Hilton, etc), then of course they’ll pay attention. Why? Not necessarily because it’s the best thing since bubble wrap, but because everyone else is paying attention. Only THEN do they stop and listen, not perhaps try and investigate the truth within themselves about whether something is good or not and championing something that’s worthwhile instead of jumping on the bandwagon.

But I digress, because this has all to do about what’s relevant, and whether you’re fortunate enough to dig and be passionate about working in an industry that is relevant in the world today, something that truly matters to people and which consumers have absolutely no choice but to pay for because it’s a tangible object or it’s a service and you can’t steal it off the internet, or else they would have.

It makes me wonder what my life would be like if I was big on something other than art. *sigh!*

Soon, a post on my first Cape Town Book Fair (my first book fair EVER, actually!)

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