(video via Bradley Spitzer, from our conversation during my time in Nashville, TN)
We’re in the middle of the destruction of multiple industries. Not overnight, not tomorrow, but things are crumbling. And I truley think it’s a wonderful thing because I think those who make honest, raw, wonderful art – they’ll continue to make it regardless of pay. It breaks my heart that media outlets are closing, that budgets are shrinking, that making a living at the thing I did for years is gone… it’s horrible. But I can’t leave.
I had this conversation with my friend Erin. She loves music with all her heart. She’s had offers to work in other industries. Lucrative industries. But when what you love is in your bones it’s difficult to leave it.
We can’t erase that love in our heart for a paycheck. We’re willing to endure for the art we love. This is a good problem to have, considering the state of the world; the violence, war, corruption and injustice.
But to turn our back on the art we love simply for a paycheck just makes room for the darkness. To turn our back on that art lets the enemy win. It lets injustice gain ground. The world needs music. It needs photography. The world needs street art.
I tell friends this all the time; years ago I didn’t get street art. The murals, wheat paste pieces, stickers, zines. I would see this and ask why? There’s no “buy it now” button. There’s no URL to find more info. How does that effort result in anything positive?
Over the last few years street art became important for me. It gives me permission to make what I want, and not have to answer to anybody.
If someone wants to spend hours creating art in an alley, or on the back of a stop sign, then I should be happy that we live in a world where that’s even a choice. I can research and write nerdy metal trivia and post it on Twitter every week and a handful of people from around the world enjoy it.
Art exists because without art we lose.
Skull Toaster exists because the world doesn’t need another metal blog.
People make noise rock because there’s enough pop songs out there.
My friends take photos of interesting people because it inspires others to become interesting people.
Those forms of creation, with no clear path to profit, are needed. If there’s even a chance that art can bring hope and inspiration to people, then we need it more than profits.