Sep 26, 2012 | News

I was interviewed for the Art:21 Guest Blog by Brendan Carroll, touching on the always tricky topic of art and commerce:

Sept 26, 2012: Bare Knuckle Reflections about art and commerce from a digital nomad

BC: When I asked you to participate in this guest blog series, you replied: “As an ex-designer it took me a long time to understand just how fucked up the art economy is, mostly because I was having a hard time letting go of my rational beliefs that surely no one would agree to do skilled work under such conditions. My go-to crass joke about art and money is that at least I’m not a painter. Digital artists may not get much respect from the commercial art world but they have plenty of skills with which to pay the bills.” Your anecdote is funny, and painful, because, in my case, it’s true. In your experience, why do many skilled artists work under such poor conditions?

MW: First off, let me apologize about the painter joke, it sounds offensive out of context. Hell, it sounds offensive even in context, but then that’s the point.

The joke serves two purposes: A: To shock anyone not aware of the difficulties of being an artist. B: To put artists working with digital media (aka media artists aka “my people”) on notice that they shouldn’t feel too sorry for themselves. Digital art might not be respected in the art world proper, but digital artists do enjoy the privilege of being able to feed themselves using the same skills they use to create their art. Perhaps not always without compromise, but you know what they say: A successful artist is any artist who pays her bills.

I also follow up by saying that I didn’t choose what I do. Like most artists, I fell into my practice, an accident of my interests more than conscious speculation. If my obsessions tended towards ceramics I would be a ceramicist, regardless of the relative market realities.

Read the full interview over on Art:21.