People used to accuse artists who took the corporate dollar of ‘selling out’. It’s a phrase that seems to have fallen from fashion, perhaps because art has become so aligned with entertainment in the popular imagination that it’s hard for people to see what ‘selling out’ out even means any more. Why would you criticise an artist for selling out? Isn’t the whole point of making art to have something to sell?
‘Sell Out’ has never been an entirely fair form of abuse to throw at artists. Like that other standard insult of those who seek to dismiss the value of art, ‘Pretentious’, it’s both true and irrelevant at the same time. All art is pretentious…until the point where it isn’t anymore. The difference is often no more than a sliver of perception. Artists who want to continue making art have to find ways to sell what they make to someone. And so the many compromises of the professional artist (like the professional anybody) arise.
But is your art anything more than a product to sell? Do you actually have something to say, or are you speaking just for the sake of being heard? It’s OK to sell your art, but if the only purpose of your art is to sell, then you’re missing the point.
From Merlin to Harry Potter, English magic has a long tradition. But what does it say about today’s culture?
English occultist, bohemian and author Aleister Crowley defined magick as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will”. Crowley’s will was aided by the inheritance age 11 of a tidy fortune, and took him on a hedonistic ride through a life of sex, drugs and occult practice. Member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, founder of the mystery religion of Thelema, self declared spiritual master and Magus and, significantly, accomplished chess player, Crowley revelled in his notoriety as “the wickedest man alive”. The Great Beast’s polyamorous lifestyle would barely contend for such a title in today’s more liberal and permissive world, and the philosophy of ordering your world in line with your will is one that seems entirely accepted in our individualist society.
The difference between ebooks and the internet is minimal, and we should be glad the two are growing closer and closer.
It’s easy to forget that the world wide web as we know it today evolved from an early attempt to put books on the internet. When Tim Berners-Lee envisaged what would become the world wide web, it was with the idea of making academic papers and other documents widely available. To this end he devised a simple way of laying out text and images on a page, inventing what we now call Hypertext Markup Language or HTML.