The Artist and the Suit

So I was reading an article on Yahoo! today about the punk movement and how it has become so corporatized that it’s no longer punk. It’s quite true and I’ve been saying that for a long time now. But it’s kind of the same thing with rock music, country music, Gospel music, and on and on. Really pop is the only one staying true to its roots: make music to make money… PS: you can read the article here.

I think about this a lot. Whenever something underground gains any momentum, someone in a suit sees it as an opportunity to capitalize. Take vampires for example. There was a time when the vampire craze was limited to a selective pool of undergrounders (I just made up a word) who dedicated their souls to Anne Rice and attended vampire parties in the basements of L.A. Now, thanks to the sissy vampires of Stephenie Meyer and the wonder of capitalism, you can’t shake a stick without hitting some sort of vampire paraphernalia: a TV show, a movie, a t-shirt, a lunch box…
Having worked in the corporate world, I know a thing or two about how these people think. It’s called the bottom line. And as long as the pockets of the big wigs are lined, they don’t care what they’re pushing next. The art of the original concept disappears, replaced with generic, run-of-the-mill cut-outs. To quote Christian Bale in Little Women: “Mediocre copies of another man’s genius.”
And it begs a question. Where does this leave us, the artists, who just want to get our art out to the world? Where do we strike the happy medium? It’s the age old battle between the “man” and the rest of us. As an independent artist, I find myself in a conundrum of being both the punk and the suit. The artist and the man. The dollars and the sense. It’s a fine line to walk… If I do what my husband always tells me and “stick it to the man,” I’ll be sticking it to myself…
But personally, I enjoy the challenge. I like having to figure out how to maneuver both sides of the battle. And I like the idea of paving a path that’s rarely been walked, for the very reason that it’s both difficult and at times, a conflict of interests.
Thus is the challenge of living in America, land of the free and home of the capitalist. And seeing as how I am a full believer in capitalism, I suppose my greatest challenge and my greatest achievement will be to reconcile the capitalism I love with the artist I will always be…
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