A Brief “Arts” Rant
A friend recently e-mailed this copy of a cartoon by “Mr. Fish,” originally published in Spy magazine. As you can tell by the worn and stained edges, the clipping is one he’s held on to for many years. My friend, himself a successful artist, failed to mention what it was about the image that attracted such devotion, and I didn’t ask because such things are subjective; he has his reasons for thinking it brilliant and I have mine.
I think this cartoon deserves that label for many reasons, but I’ll mention only one that I consider to be the most important. You see, I’m very “anti” when it comes to government giving “arts” grants to individuals under any circumstances.
Community arts groups are another matter, I have no problem with that — give them some of our tax money so long as they faithfully serve a wide population of citizens, especially poor kids. But if you’re a person who has unilaterally decided that you deserve to earn your living making self-indulgent images of whatever kind (drawn, painted, constructed, written), I suggest that you kindly keep your day job until the objective market agrees that your subjective productions are worth paying for, without the help of public money.
Of course, in my opinion, Mr. Fish said all of this and much more — and said it better — in his brilliant cartoon.
Copyright © 2009 Jim Sizemore.