Re: [-empyre-] nice and not nice...

i have been (& still am) immersed in a writing job & haven't been able to closely follow the list for the last week or so which perhaps means that i've missed something, but i'm not sure what point TPA is trying to make in the post below.

i'm a practising artist & my role is to create my work. i have no academic inclinations (having only a BA, 'By Accident', & a low tolerance of jargon & internal institutional politics) but i'm very glad there are academics in this world & i know many practising artists who have found academia a good, if not totally perfect, way to survive & make their work - or a frustrating but temporary & in some ways useful phase in their career. me, i moonlight as a corporate whore, spending hours writing about stuff that i would not normally be interested in, in order to maintain my addiction to food, coffee, wine & life's other necessities. i've sometimes had the opportunity to give guest lectures & workshops for my acadmic friends which has also helped me to get by financially. usually the experience reminds me that i'm not destined for academia myself, but also i find there are interesting people amongst the students are there are some who i have ongoing artistic relationships with.

the grants come & sometimes they don't come; mostly the renumeration i get for my practical artistic work is travel, accommodation, the opportunity to experiencing others' art & an ever-expanding network of great colleagues & friends. my lifestyle isn't lavish by any stretch of the imagination but it's usually comfortable & satisfying. & yes, if you looked at my life you would say it's middle-class & yes, i am surviving & i am questioning.

this isn't a specifically new zealand scenario. there aren't many practising artists who can survive solely on their art work. one of my favourite mentors says "people pay us to do the things they want us to do, & we pay to do the things we want to do."

ok, back to the biographies of senior executives ...
h ; )

Dear Soft-Skinned Peeples

There are (at least) two groups that seems very very under-represented here on
this discussion.

One group is the indigenous Aoteraoan, however that might be defined.
This is only an issue because we are supposedly discussing the new
media from the perspective of the Aotearoan, indigenous and otherwise
if it is possible (or rather: sensible) to make that distinction.

The other group that seems to me to be under-represented is the
practising artist (full stop).  The practising artist (full stop)
being a person (or other sentient entity) who doesn't have a job at
what is known in NZ as a tertiary institution.  The distinction that I
am making is not that teaching is evil, but rather that the artist,
who doesn't have a job 'teaching' students (most of whom have
absolutely no talent and in any other non-middle-class reality would
have to get a job), this artist, I suggest, has a rather different
perspective and is operating in a rather different realm.

For myself I can say that I have had a number of grants and have
taught in a few workshops but for many years now I have not had a
comfortable middle-class existence and looking at the results of
middle-class art: a huge explosion of galleries and of middle-class
buyers and a extraordinary implosion of completely puke-worthy 'art'
leads in the same direction
as the rest of the bloated society is heading, to wit, down the
non-composting toilet.

The practising artist's role, be he Aotearoan or not, be she online or
offline, is to push the limits, to go where no sentient being has gone
before.  OR, perhaps, is the practising artist's role to work the
room, shoot the breeze with the people who will further their careers
and generally be, at least on the surface, fawning and disgustingly
appreciative of the favours that might be dripped upon them?

In 1982 I had an exhibition of my paintings.  One of them was a
colourful matrix, a labyrinth of uncertain meaning to the uninitiated.
The gallery dealer took me too firmly by the arm with his alcoholic
hand, whispered hoarsely at me that the people he was about to
introduce me to were going to buy the painting and that they would
like to meet the artist before they did.

These people who reminded me very much of my Uncle Brian and Aunty Jean
(who at that very moment were watching The Sound of Music for the 29th
time with their three plump children) wanted to ask me a question.
Fire away, I said, with a euphoric sinking feeling.

They liked the colours the size of it and it would go very nicely on a
certain wall in some room or the other, but what was the painting

I explained that it interested me that young people liked to dress
up...and go out and get covered in blood...and be mutilated...and die
horrible deaths...the red they admired was blood.

It is not the job of the artist to be provocative, mildly or
otherwise.  But it is the job of the artist to question everything, to
stand outside everything, and how can someone who is questioning
everything survive in a
middle-class environment?

I suppose the answer might be: by being wonderfully brilliant.

Voyeuristically yours,

The Paul Annears
The Paul Annears
empyre forum


helen varley jamieson: creative catalyst

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