There are bootleggers and there are creatives, trying to get their footing, trying to find their way.
There are sell-outs and there are copy-cats, trying to climb the ladder of success, trying to buy their way.
I remember hanging out with an artist who painted using a projector, he painted what you might call Pop Art, and I told him I’ve always wanted to do what he was doing but I didn’t want to be un-original or be considered a rip-off. He told me that was next to impossible, that of course in the beginning I might paint something similar to what he would, but I’d add my own take, and I would grow as an artist and find the source material that attracted me and/or that I was attracted to.
That was great and encouraging advice. I’ve used it ever since as I look for inspiration when thinking about experimenting and trying something new.
Now, if an underground style or lingo was co-opted and used in the mainstream, no matter their source material, I’d feel betrayed in some sort of odd way. When I thought about it, I had to wonder how could a creative regulate inspiration, if Dali was the first surrealist, can you imagine if he was able to trademark that style??? How would art and society have ever evolved, how could any art movement and/or society evolve if the artist took ownership of the style?
That brings me to the intent of a creative/artist, are they following their calling in life or are they trying to figure out the best combination for fame and fortune? Are they creating beauty, or product, or both, or are they just waiting for an offer to sell out and do what they are told or what is expected?
I hate creative sell-outs.
What the fuck is a sell out anyway? I’d say it’s one who takes the money and leaves their ethics behind, they are paid to compromise… to hide their truth for coin. Artists do not compromise, they collaborate, but they never compromise their vision, at least not in the underground art scene. Compromise of artistic vision is something they might teach in art school, it might be out of need and desperation, maybe that sell-out shit comes from the need to belong, to justify, to make good to dad, mom, country and your student loan, and that is for sure not an underground ethic.
The only thing worse than the sell out is the copy cat. The person so desperate they feel the need to bite styles, to duplicate what is popular. Now, I’m not talking bootleggers, I have a respect for bootlegging, but real bootlegging happens by the truckload, it happened to corporations, it is knock-off jeans and product, not art and ideas. The copy cat is the lowest form of life, for it is not the student struggling thru, finding their way, their vision, their voice, their source material, it is the worst kind of person, they are lazy, they are of a microwave mind, they want what you have and they want it now, no training, no climbing of the ladder, nothing. They are the start of the decline.
The copycat is a parasite, and one who is helping to destroy the underground and ultimately you. When you are fed no more nutritional art and entertainment, when all you see, hear, and read has either been done before or is a cheap, heartless, lack of vision, lack of all feeling, carbon copy of an artist with vision, you will get sick, you will lose the inspiration art gives, you will become emotionless in large part because the art you are taking in is without emotions, you will lose all feeling, all hope, and then you will lose the will to live and succumb to weak behavior.
Because the art and culture you consume is void, you too will become void of all, you will stop asking why do we live, and start asking when will I die?
I wonder, if anyone gets that the art and culture they consume is sort of like food, and like the food chain and the cycle of life, the smaller, lesser food, sustains the larger food. Fish for instance, survive off of eating smaller fish and without the smaller fish, the larger fish withers and gets weak.
This is what is happening with art and expression. Some might consider the underground arts to be a small fish in and of itself, but it is eaten on a regular basis and, in return, the underground has fed some large fish (the mainstream entertainment industry)… Today, the underground is near extinction and without a thriving underground, the art and entertainment you consume will, and is, withering.
the underground is…
the underground is a lot of things, but clean and upright it is not.
the underground is the cave where art was born.
it is raw, it is low, it is knuckle dragging.
the underground is nonconformist and threatening.
it is dangerous and outlaw.
the underground has ethics and is stubborn and firm in it’s belief.
it is passion and political, not one or the other, both.
the underground gives without asking.
it is generous and respectful of creation.
the underground is challenging to tradition.
we are our own masters, we are ourself.
the underground is innovative and influential.
it happens here first.
the underground is skeptical.
it is forever an angry child.
the underground is fun and tragic.
it is the refuge of life’s force.
the underground is the soil in which you grow.
it is nutritious and forever feeding.
the underground isn’t a small fish in a big pond.
it is the ground that cups and sustains the pond.
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