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September 17, 2012
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I don’t know if everyone is aware of it but DeviantART have been petitioning ICANN so they can manage the domain dotART.  This journal isn’t about that but it was something that inspired me to finally put some of my thoughts down about something that is happening to the Arts whose consequences are far greater.

Spyed’s journals on the subject along with a link to sign the petition are below;

spyed.deviantart.com/journal/H…

fav.me/d58lbvi

I signed and endorsed their application not because someone should control the domain but more because it is going to be assigned to some group or other and if that’s so then DeviantART seem the best candidate for the job.  Last thing we need is some company like News Corp or Microsoft in control of it.

But I digress…

This isn’t what I wanted to talk about today. Everyone on dA knows what art is good for.  It’s integral to the way we live our lives.  I wanted to look at something going on in western society that is a threat to what we love and how there is some (mad) reasoning behind that threat.

ART EDUCATION

If you are an art teacher or work within the education system at all you will notice something about the Arts… There is only one time in which the Arts come up in discussions about education first…  The Arts are the first thing put on the table when it comes to discuss budget cuts in education.  No department gets the level of cuts art does.

It seems that the government feels that the Arts are something to be ‘sponsored’ or left as some After School Program that the local PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) can pay for off the charitable donations of kids and parents for homemade baked goods.

The Arts is treated by the education system in the west like the geeky kid at the school dance, ignored, sometimes humored, often maligned.  Not fully integrating the Arts into a full and well rounded school curriculum is like taking milk away from kids and giving them sweet sugar drinks that could cause diabetes.  Oh, wait!! They HAVE done that.  How about if the food you were allowed to eat only went to the left side of your body leaving the right side to atrophy?  That’s what is happening with student’s heads. 

The left side of the brain is stuffed with pure information, no context, words, numbers and facts. 

The right side is left to get information only from TV and video games.  Doing to the brain what the sweet, sugary drinks are doing to the body.

 

BUDGET CUTS

When a school announces that they’re cutting budgets most parents sigh with relief when they hear that Art is being cut back from 2 periods a year throughout the entire year to 2 periods a week for just one semester.  That French is being cut from 6 periods a week to 4.  And maybe they can get away with a few cuts to sports (there’s other things they can do to work off those sugary drinks right?).  Just as long as those precious subjects Math, English and Science don’t get touched.

And why are the cuts even necessary in the first place?

Oh yeah, that’s right… Tax cuts for the people who are so wealthy they’re already sending their kids to private school where the rote learning and the standardized testing doesn’t take place. 

We know from the Reagan era that trickle down economics doesn’t work - it just makes the “1%” even more wealthy.

The public school system gets cut back time and time again.  So why is the “Rote System” pushed so much?

Test Scores.

You see if a school gets good or great test score averages it makes the school more popular and eligible for more grants.  More importantly, if the town’s schools are doing very well it attracts people who want to live there to raise their kids.  The more that people want to live in an area the greater the property prices are and the greater the taxes are.  I’ve seen this happen first hand in my own kids school system, one of the top public schools in the country, but I could never afford to buy a house there let a lone pay the taxes. 

Our school gets its fair share of cutbacks to the arts but as there are a lot of wealthy individuals who like the arts they are willing to pay for art classes for their kids.  After School Programs can be big business in areas like this.  I’ve taught a couple of these myself where you get paid nearly $100 an hour to teach kids how to draw.  But it shouldn’t be this way.  Art should be taught in school and given the same level of attention that Math and English gets.

 

SO WHY PENALIZE THE ARTS?

 

Look around at where the world is heading right now.  More people wanting more money and not caring what they do and who gets hurt to get it.

In this current world all the hard fought for freedoms of the past 100 years are being eaten away.  The Middle Class is facing a death from a hundred cuts.  How many still have a ‘normal’ 5 day working week consisting of no more than 35-40 hours?  Medical and financial benefits are being eaten away.  How long will you keep your sick days, maternity leave, the right for your children to have a full rounded education, pensions, medical care when you’re older or have an accident?  All fought for and won by unions, those same unions that are being systematically dismantled and neutered around the country. Regardless of political ideologies, when business interests enter the realms of the political sphere, then the rights of the individuals are always pushed back.

Here in America that thin curtain that certain individuals tried to hide their greed behind has finally been pulled away.  The Wizard stands revealed as a group of high net worth individuals who do not care what happens to others.  They don’t care if you die of cancer or because you can’t afford an operation or an education beyond school.  They are so wealthy they cannot imagine what it is like to go without anything.  They cannot see, and worse do not care, what happens to others.  Some are even worse.  They know exactly what they are doing.  They are trying to protect their families so they get richer and everyone else gets poorer.  They need a slave class.

The Arts are now becoming the leisure pastime of the wealthy. 

How can you possibly train the next generation to become an artist or writer or photographer if you’re holding down three jobs just to survive and pay down the interest on your student loans? 

How many of the successful novelists and writers today are where they are because their parents were wealthy enough to support their interests?  They didn’t need to work for a living so they could try their hand at writing novels and then have them passed on to family friends who owned or held influence with publishing companies.

But still, why penalize the Arts?

The Arts require people to think as individuals.  They’re about ideas and beliefs.  How many of the worlds technological advances would have been made without artists?  I personally feel that the world’s major innovators have been artists.  These writers, painters, musicians and filmmakers who inspired scientists and inventors to make real things others imagined. 

We’ve already surpassed much of the technology of things like STAR TREK.  We look back and see how quaint Captain Kirk’s communicator looked.  If only he could see how much we can do with an iPhone that his communicator can’t and they’re the same size.  When Star Trek was created a computer the size of a city block would have been needed to do what an iPhone is capable of. Man went to the Moon on less technology than a Commodore 64 bit game console.  An even better example is by Fantastic Four and Avengers creator Jack Kirby.  For his DC Comics series The NEW GODS he gave each of these "gods" a 'Mother Box.'  A little black shiny box through which they could communicate and get information from.

Everyone on DeviantART is an artist of one description or other.  We have ideas and we freely share them with others in the community.  We also give critiques and advice in return.  Just that alone makes us alien to the 1% who would see us do no more than serve them their dinner, lunch or coffee.  Clean their houses, fix their cars, mow their lawns, look after their children. 

Yet if they could only feel what it is like to create something… See ideas come together in their head, on canvas, on screen, on paper… Would that change them?  Inspire them to be better people?

Unfortunately not, for like many now they think that their iPhone with Instagram makes everyone a photographer, a filter in photoshop turns everyone into a painter and a writing software with prompts turns everyone in to a screenplay writer.  All these things they use as weapons to make us give up.

These people are not to be trusted.  They will steal your ideas and crush your inspirations while smiling at you and telling you jokes.  They will sweet-talk you with promises they cannot keep.  Some will offer you $1 for every million they make and with their false smiles will have you believe it’s a great deal.

But the real thing they want is to stop free thinking.  Stop imagining a better world.  Accept the one they give you.  Know your place.  Don’t question.  Be a cog in the machine.  Another brick in the wall.

In the past there have always been those who corrupted what artists do.  Our stories and art begat religions used to control us.  Our ideas and philosophies became the culture everything was built upon, so now that culture is moving into a gated community that the majority of us cannot afford.  Or so they think.  For we will always create new ideas and stories.  Culture isn’t something that can be locked down even though aspects of it may be moved beyond our reach.

And their next move?  To take our dreams and if they can’t steal them then they will stifle them.  They are in their castles and have kicked away the ladders.  The moats are filled with oil ready to be lit should we storm their castle.

And still they may tease us into giving up our ideas in return for a ladder to join them.  But those ladders will always be a few rungs short of the top.

We must resist.  We must unite against them and learn to see them for who they are.  They are looking to establish a Brave New World where only they get to see the light of day. 

We are creating the world that is to come but we won’t settle for having it taken from us and made to believe we are worthless or less than others. Our ideas today will build tomorrow.

 

We are FUTURISTS.



A quote from Terence McKenna-

“Progress of human civilization in the area of defining human freedom is not made from the top down. No king, no parliament, no government ever extended to the people more rights than the people insisted upon…WE are not going away. We are not slack-jawed, dazed, glazed, unemployable psychotic creeps. We are pillars of society. You can’t run your computers, your fashion houses, your publishing houses, your damn magazines, you can’t do anything in culture without psychedelic people in key positions. And this is the great unspoken of American Creativity. ”

Special thanks to Richard Caldwell

thelotteryparty.deviantart.com…

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:iconsabis:
Sabis Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Amen.

When I opened my ill timed Arts Centre it was because of everything you said above. As well as a desire to nurture the budding interest and talent of area kids, in an effort to combat the social expectations that kill artists in droves. "What are you going to be when you grow up?" A reply having anything to do with the Arts (with exception to Graphic Art, which is funded and a socially acceptable career choice now) is frowned upon and met with further pressure to be "realistic".

Some of us are Artists...inside and out. Our education systems and governments do not recognize nor encourage such paths. Unless it suits their quota requirements for Cultural needs.

I sincerely hope to see a change in this regard, and perhaps a return to appreciation of the Arts.
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:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Even at art college I was told by my tutors to steer away from comics, focus on illustration. When I left college I did mainly illustration but through a friend started to do some storyboard work that rekindled my desire to tell stories with pictures...

It does seem that there is a growing appreciation of the Arts but its not in form we want to readily accept.

Everyone who has a phone now has a camera. Through Instagram or Hipstamatic and Tumblr everyone is a photographer. Software that turns photos into oil paintings or chalk drawings means everyone can 'paint'.

Do we dare say what they produce isn't art?
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:iconsabis:
Sabis Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Your voice is mine in this.

The digital age has opened up creativity for the masses...Good!... Yet has also cheapened the talent or skills of Artists with easy emulation. (This statement does not include Artists who use digital medium to create astounding original art) "Why bother when I can DIY this for myself in this or that program?" or the very unrealistic expectations that, "Should be easy, right?" while discussing a project.

I work hard to attain realism, but I am not a machine lol.

I hate to think that art galleries where masterpieces are hung now are being viewed as "Meh, I can do that on my PC with some photos and these fancy brushes in ten minutes."

I risk sounding bitter here...but it is a development I've seen ongoing. It saddens me greatly to think Artists won't bother developing to their potential if there are so many shortcuts available to satisfy their creative whims.
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:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
I would like to see done to lawyers what they have helped do to artists. Free or extremely cheap contracts for download or a website where you just punch in a few lines of information and out comes a contract that any one can have.

Let's take away and demean their jobs like they've overseen doing to everyone else.
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:iconsabis:
Sabis Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Lmao! HSUS: Lawyers in cages on YouTube?

Maybe our problem is that we are all too passive and poor?

Thanks for the chat! Put me on the list of Activists when you start the Art revolution.
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:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Name taken. You're on the list.

:-)

We're passive because we're poor. Beaten down to be oh-so thankful we have any job at all.

Lawyers in Cages would make millions as a Pay-Per-View event.

;-)
Reply
:iconpluie-froide:
Pluie-Froide Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Student General Artist
I wonder if my generation is going to change anything for the better. Most seem pretty brainwashed by today's society. :(
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:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
I think every generation thinks the same thing. I hope your generation can bring the change that is needed and I hope every other generation will support you or get their own shit together.

We're all guilty of cutting our own noses off despite our faces.
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:iconpluie-froide:
Pluie-Froide Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Student General Artist
I really hope so; I might be biased as well. I only know my generation from observation at high school, and the schools I've attended were, class-wise, as opposite as you can get. One loaded with gangs and a hope-crushing system, the other full of pricks who only care about getting that new iPhone, who care nothing for anybody else and who will leave for college completely ignorant of the real world. So maybe I'm just missing out on the decent middle-class folk.
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:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
Yeah, it's really difficult to find the middle ground between those two. They are there, but they're usually well aware of the people around them and don't stick out. There are more than you think so there is hope.
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