Sunday, January 31, 2010
  • Thoughts and Rants on Seth Godin's Linchpin: "You do Art when you make Change"

    Let me suggest you tweet this:

    Parts and pieces from a recent discussion on Twitter on a question by Clint Watson whether Seth Godin is demeaning or enhancing the word artist in his recent book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

    Quotes from Seth Godin --

    Acting like an artist. Being personal, making change, communicating a vision.

    You do art when you make change that matters, and do it via a connection with an individual.

    Artists take it farther than that, much farther. That's our assignment.

    Other relevant quotes --

    Art is a liaison between some sort of deranged mentality and others who are not going through it. --John Chamberlain

    Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. --Andy Warhol

    It's not so much where it's made than why it is made. Also, for whom something is made might be significant. Why, when, and for whom, are all relevant, as opposed to where.

    On the "artist" label --

    Once artists are or feel offended, they have some work to do. I'm with Seth that art is the expression of any kind of mastery. Many contemporary "artists" are kinda far away from classical fine art, yet they're "artists." Seems that Seth Godin targeted just the right word and people. Fighting for a label is fighting for some misunderstood ego.

    I try to express my vision and that's about it. Could care less if I or the pizza guy is labeled artist or not. It's genius how Seth manages to divide artists, it's about time for some trouble. The irony being that those defending their "artist" label lose authenticity and thus face.

    Replies from John T. Unger --

    I've always tried to make my art be about ideas and meaning larger than myself, sort of channeling bigger voices if I can.

    I'm not sure where I fall on the "art for art's sake" thing but I consider myself to be in service to the art, not vice versa...

    The artist's job is communicating/convincing the world that "there is more."

    John T. Unger on the artist's role --

    No one is more responsible for the society's valuation of art than artists themselves. If art is not valued it's our fault.

    I see a lot of things no one else sees. Some of them are even real!

    On editing --

    Lately, I'm finding myself editing not just for clarity but to polarize. It clarifies positions. I see editing as removing the unnecessary, with whatever technique. The distinction between editing and composing is often artificial anyway, I'm faster this way.

    On exclusivity --

    You don't you have to be an artist to value art. That's the worst outcome: Creating art exclusively for fellow artists. Artists are rare. It's HOW you do it that defines what it is. Why should the term "artist" be reserved only for people who think they are? What about creative, elegant, and graceful self-expression ...

    When objection against using the term artist comes from artists trying to preserve exclusivity -- it's time to shake things up. Which brings "therapy" into play. What about artists for whom art is therapy?

    You're an artist through expression of some sort, combined with excellence in something. Or so. Where to draw the line, if any?

    A great metaphor for art itself --

    I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things. --Henri Matisse

    P.S.: I didn't receive the book yet, and I think the artist discussion is only marginal to the book itself. Fron the many reviews, the "emotional labor" part seems to be a more important part of the changing landscape.

    P.P.S.: Following and especially threading a Twitter-discussion depends on the angle of perspective. Mine in this case. Whoever read or participated and contributed might have a different view and perception of the exchanged ideas.

    Here is the backstory --

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