Art is a state of being. Like a vagina, you cannot get rid of it, unless you are up for highly invasive surgery. Thus the idea of asking an artist to withhold their art unless they are being paid for it is like asking the sky not to pour because the villagers aren’t grateful for the bounteous feast. That is to say, it is idiotic.
We can’t stop creating. We’d rather stop breathing. But we will stop breathing if we don’t get paid. And therein lies the catch.
So, how do you pay an artist?
It doesn’t always have to be in cold, hard cash. You can pay them in opportunities, space, materials, food, alcohol, smokes and a lot more if you think about it. The point is artists are going to use the money for these things any way. So cut out the middle step. And for those clever ones in the audience who are piping up to ask, “But doesn’t giving artists things instead of money take away their freedom to choose?”. Seriously bub? Choice is an illusion. Consumerism is an industry. You’re beating them at their own game and being innovatively generous to boot.
And in the same vein, accept art as payment. The ol’ notion of singing for one’s supper, as it were. If one can collaborate with artists, give them space in return for some workshops conducted or art pieces installed or simply buy them a drink when you their work makes you hapy . Think about it. If you sit with artists and talk about this, there’ll be dozens of mutually beneficial schemes we’ll come up with eventually – to make art sustainable and community-oriented. And what I’m saying of course, is nothing new. This is the way artists existed for centuries before the creation of the television-endorsed superstar. And this is the way thousands are working and thriving even today.
We all need art to survive. All you have to do is reach out your hand.