We step over flyers for the local art house film festival and only go to museums on the free days. We paint over graffiti and we throw five cents from our lush wallets into the hats of subway musicians. We treat art as a luxury, but treat our self-indulgences as a necessity. I once wrote extensively in my phone about the nature of outsider artists and how they form the interior structure of our culture. Perhaps it's for the better that I sold that phone for some pocket cash. It makes this all so much more poignant to discuss.
We talk about artists, and what they do, as entertainment. We can barely discern the most recent Hollywood blockbuster from the most recent indie films, perhaps only by the fact that one of these we will most definitely avoid seeing. We don't go to see Banksy paintings in real life, but instead we buy the book at Urban Outfitters.
We can't dance around the subject. The creative community is barely limping along, while we pour our cash into outlets so farcically shallow and valueless that, should they ever cease to exist, we would never, culturally speaking, ever even notice. We don't see the value in the raw toil of artists who slave away, 'round the clock at their minimum wage jobs, just to make something they believe in. We give them nothing. No assistance, no support. But we will feed our money into the great churning machine of consumerism, supporting companies and celebrities who are set for life.
And that is because, as a culture, we have become conditioned to believe that those individuals do what they do without expecting any reward. Maybe that's true. Maybe we don't. Maybe for us, creation isn't about the money or security. But is that any reason to choke off our livelihood in service of much more shallow outlets?
Society steps on the artists on its climb to the Coachella stage. And we wonder why our culture is fucked.