So there has been a lot of high talk lately about the idea of lads trying to make a living from making art. Some artists do be giving out about being asked to work for free. They do be saying - 'sher, you wouldn’t ask a carpenter or a doctor or a lawyer or a whoever else to work for free…or you wouldn’t be trying to seduce them with the pseudo promise of future paid work or media exposure or whatever.'
And I’m not so sure that that is entirely true. I know a very good local carpenter who will build an extension on your house for a tin of soup, and I am also in knowledge of a beoir who is training to be a doctor, so she pays course fees and gets to do all kinds of important jobs with real patients so that she can develop her expertise. So, yes, I know there are people who do great things for little or no…or ‘minus’ financial returns.
What I think this issue boils down to when you boil it down in a boiler is one word - SUSTAINABILITY. My medical man-beoir knows for fairly sure that if she keeps heading along in the direction she has trajectorised (new word meaning ‘moved in’) so far, she will eventually make a fairly nice living for herself, and her daughter, who doesn’t exactly exist yet, but whom I believe will be named Downa and will be amazing.
Anyway, this ‘sustainability’ business is very important because…hold on a second…right…because, the anti-money for art argument is often something like this – the art maker makes what they make, not for financial gain, but because the art that they make is like a need inside them made manifest. The art grows out of them like a tree branch or a baby. It is motivated by its own wish to explode into being. It’s like when Clive Dawkins wrote that Jesus didn’t build the universe for money. It’s not like the book of Genesis starts with, 'On the first day the holy powers of God said – let there be light and there was light. On the second day, he said, I’m not lifting a finger again till I gets paid for the sunshine.' No, creators create because they want to and need to…and if they do get handed a few pound at the end of it all…well…if anything that is a bit of a shame because it sort of syphons like a cypher the purity out from it. It dirtifies and disimpurifies and attaches a sticky bomb of soon to explode evil onto the proceedings.
Sorry…I need to calm down for a second, because I want to define what I mean about the relationship between sustainability and actual human cash.
An arty man or woman makes a bit of art and then a person sees or hears or experiences the art and says, 'I was very moved by that now. If you give me a bit of this to keep I’ll give you a few pound so that you can afford a bit of food and shelter and a some crayola crayons and thereby continue to create more of these experiences for myself and other like minded individuals whose lives would be made a little somewhat better by such things.'
Then the artist could say, 'no, give me nothing. I was born with the will to make these things all quite pre-packed inside me. My talent was a gift from he or she who maketh men and beoirs upon this earth. I can accept no…not retribution…I’m trying to think of a version of that word that has no negative connotations…but not compensation…mmmm…it won’t come to me…recompence…yes, that’s better. I can accept no recompense as doing so might just offend my maker…in the same way that my mother was offended when she found out that a Spanish student that we once took in was selling the packet of crisps that she put into his packed lunch every morning. If he didn’t want them he should just have said so. But you shouldn’t take a gift and then sell it. It is not good form to profit from a treat.
So, yes, the artist could say that. Or they could say instead - 'yes, you may give me a few pound for the bit of art and that way I won’t end up either dying on the street or finding another more reliable and secure a way to make a living. I will pay a bit of rent and buy the ingredients for a few nice meals and I’ll make more things. I’m not looking to gather a ridiculous fortune, but I am a person on the earth now, so although I may feel as though I was born with the gift of wanting and being able to make, I was given other bonus prizes too, such as hunger – which is my natural state unless I keep it regularly in check, and hypothermia – which my body would opt for in a flash if I were not constantly vigilant. So, yes. I’ll take a few pound from you, give you some artwork, and hopefully we’ll both be a bit more happy and comfortable for a while.'