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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art Life

Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 3:00 PM

I've heard this a lot lately as justification for NSCAD's recent troubles: why do people keep saying all artists are pretentious? They are people. Individual people. I've met prententious assholes from all walks of life. Why artists in particular? I don't get it. I'm not an artist, but I know lots of them, and most of them are just people, with no pretentions. And it seems they're actually at the other end of the spectrum, harbouring low self-confidence because the work that they produce and the community they relate to is called, for instance, pretentious, when it's instead essential to their identity, understanding of the world, what they love more than anything else in life, and create for others. Most artists I know are extremely grateful and surprised when someone takes an interest in their work, and generally have no "pretenses" of recognition. If artists give off the air of pretention, it's probably compensation for feeling so shitty about how little art is respected in this city. I know I'd be pretty bummed to be an artist in this town these days, since so many seem to think we'd be better off without an art school (what the fuck, btw). I'd probably try to give off an attitude of importance if that to which I dedicated my whole life was called worthless, not only by my community but by my government.

If you're calling an artist pretentious, chances are you're more pretentious than they are. People are people, and art is a hard BUT BRAVE business, so open your mind a bit. Art is for you. And me. And that guy. Be receptive and welcoming to it. Support it. Get to know an artist, and expose your own pretenses. It takes courage to share art with the world, much more courage than it takes to be small-minded and judgemental. Live a little. —Young-Gunz

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