The Industry Is Dead

To open this post I first want to say that I think every single person should take an hour and a half out of their day to watch this incredible and inspiring documentary Press Pause Play on the effect of the digital revolution on the art world. Even if you're not an artist is a very intriguing insight on what is happening today in every industry. 

Now to get down to the nitty gritty stuff. What do I mean when I say the industry is dead? By working on a blog format I am creating work that exists solely on the internet and that is a radical thing that no other generation has gotten a chance to experience. The internet and blogs and increase in reasonably priced technology has democratized the industries by allowing anyone with something to say the opportunity to say it. Now this can be an incredible thing. No longer do you have to have money or know the right people or live in the right city to be successful in the art world or fashion world or music world or what have you, as long as you have access to a computer or a cell phone with a camera and a wi-fi connection you can be creating work just as impressive and inspiring as someone with all the right connections and all the best equipment. For better or worse this is revolutionary. 

This is a pivotal moment in history. This. Right now. The fact that anyone can be anything they want to. The fact that you don't just have to be the film maker or the photographer. You can also be the model or the editor or the writer or stylist or musician or all of them. We are not marginalized into one thing anymore, there is a blended model happening where anyone can do anything and be anything and that's not to say its better or worse but that it's different. A different perspective. A more alchemic process is happening with a grassroots mentality. A do-it-yourself philosophy. That you can make it happen if you want to. But here's the thing: there are talented people and there are not talented people and that's the hard truth because most people aren't talented. 

The democratization downside is that not everyone is an artist and the serious minded artists get lost in the ocean of mediocrity that is being produced. We can not become comfortable with mediocrity. We may be on the verge of cacophony because there is a crisis of democratized culture. Right now we are experiencing a back lash to the elitists that run the industries. That make it so exclusive that it's almost impossible for someone that may have the talent but without the right connections to be successful. But we must make sure that by destroying the old world, the industry that we have been following and believing in for the past +50 years is not replaced with an ocean of garbage. We must move beyond "I am the modern person using modern technology" and creating sub par and sterile work. You can not say "Oh, I don't have to get this perfectly right now because I can fix it in photo shop or alter the sound later". This mentality leads us into an end result of bullshit and nothing-ness. We must maintain that vulnerability, beauty and humanity that you see in a film photograph or hear in a Billie Holiday song because that is where the true art lies. Not in it's perfection but in it's imperfection. 

Right now the artistic industry is very diverse and difficult to define and it may stay that way forever and that may be exactly what we need. We are not sound bytes. You need to take the time to listen and understand otherwise it will all just sound strange and confusing. We can not be categorized and that makes people uncomfortable. That flips the industry on its head. The artist today doesn't need representation because they can represent themselves. The industry can not exist without the artist and that gives us all the power. Nothing can be sold or marketed or created without the artist and with the advent and radical use of the world wide web we can be our own managers if we want to be. 

The industry doesn't have to exist anymore, at least not in the way that it has. We don't have to marginalize ourselves because everything is at our fingertips. We are artists in more than just one medium and we don't have to put a label on it if we don't want to. We can embrace this democratization and escape within the experience, discover within the experience, be within the experience. 10 years from now I don't want to look back and be disappointed with what we did with this incredible opportunity. I want to look back and be over joyed that we embraced it and allowed new, different, vulnerable and beautiful work be created by people that before may have never had the opportunity to create it without this technology. I want to look back and see how we cultivated a new idea of the artist that is not pigeonholed into one category. Now is going to be a wistful nostalgia so let's make it worth looking back on. The old industry is dead and we as the artists have the power to redefine it.