SELLING OUT or GETTING PAID – The Artistic Dilemma

I loved this post by Libby Rosuf of The Art Blog and it so made me think about the life of an artist. Specifically she quoted blogger Annette Monnier :

I am reminded of being a young artist and saying something to a friend about this or that person “selling out” to which my wiser friend replied “you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have done that had it been offered to you.”

An Underrated True 2 The Game Artist

This is such a dilemma for artists, be they musical or visual. Me being both – I completely understand. As a Hip-Hop/R&B writer/ producer when R&B was transitioning to more urban/ghetto messages – the mantra in my ear from A&R folks was less message, more sex (What are you, some kinda’ message band)! In art, going to Black galleries I thought would understand me, the message was we like more overtly BLACK images (read: not the muti-colored folks you are presenting – our audience will not understand).

For me, I ALWAYS reference Spike Lee. To paraphrase, as you enter the business, that’s what you are.

Think about it. If an artists makes big money for a gallery painting little green, three breasted men riding Shetland ponies, why would a gallery or his agent all of a sudden want him being true and painting like Renoir? Conversely, if a singer makes it big on the Lady Gaga vibe, the label surely doesn’t want the next CD to be lyrically deep like Dylan. Ca-CHING!

Being authentic, of course, could lead to delayed gratification or none at all if folks don’t get you (and, I do have friends like this). On the flip side, can you blame someone for taking the bucks to get some publicity & support themselves and their family.

At the end of the day, whatever choice we as artists make, we have to live with it and look ourselves in the mirror each and every morning. Are you happy with what you see? That’s ALL that matters.

Peace,

Art of Todd, the Funky Long Island Artist

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p.s. – I am now a singer/songwriter (YouTube.com/artoftodd) so I can express my thoughts as I choose, being true to myself and my soul. The art still comes from my heart.

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