In a discussion about “selling out” versus “remaining true” in art, I questioned the very idea of selling out. I don’t know what that means. Not really.
Implied in those words is the idea that by monetizing your art, you’re somehow polluting it, diluting it, lessening it somehow.
But this is capitalism! We live in this system. We may not like the game, but as the old joke goes, it’s the only game in town.
So I half-jokingly suggested that there’s no secret society harboring “true” yet commercially unsuccessful works of art. There’s no Knights Templar or Freemasons of writing unpolluted by the poison of marketing.
But what if there is? And what does that writing look like? What is the difference between what people want versus what they’ll pay for?
Is truth any less truthy if it also makes a buck and allows its author to buy food and shelter and smart phones? Is the Venn diagram of true art and commercial art to separate circles or is there an overlap?
I can already see people gearing up their arguments, something about how this is why genre writers make more money than literary writers and so forth. About who the gatekeepers are, who decides what’s good art and what’s commercially viable art. About the Literati and the Illiterati.
These are dumb questions. These are procrastination questions.
I should get back to work.