The Artist and the Consumer

Among many of the most strict environmentalists, every act of consumption is a moral decision. I waveringly consider myself among this group. Of course, none of us are as moral as we would like.

So it is with art that every decision an artist makes is saturated with moral dilemma. Indeed, lying through the guise of self-expression, or being too lazy to care, is appalling to the ardent artist.

Whether such bold commitment, in either forum, is warranted is of course subject to debate. However, I sometimes think of the artist who works without knowing what he is creating: the Sex Pistols playing faster than they can if only to see what happens, Notorious B.I.G.’s remarkable slow flow, or a recent artist’s decision to affix a camera to the back of his head for the next year.

Through such organic processes, the artist might create something which he or she never could deliberately produce.

Might, some day far from now, the reckless consumption of yesterday, today, and tomorrow bear some unforeseen fruit, the sweet taste of which we never could have imagined? Will its taste be all too predictably bitter?

Or perhaps will the result, as is the case with so many artists who begin without knowing where they will finish, be neither remarkable nor disastrous, but meaningless and mediocre?

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