Ego. The middle mistress in the psychic apparatus orgy Sigmund Frued slayed in the 1920s. Pillow talk revealed she harbors the “…organized part of the personality structure that includes the defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions.” In essence, she is a woman who preaches, “be your self, exude confidence, and accept no tolerance for crass mannerisms or hogwash”. Ego. She can be a loyal ally and a demon in the sack; she can grasp your manhood in her talons and flash sadistic glee as you crumble to her demands.
In November, a colleague wrote a titillating article titled Approval Seekers & Ego Killers #2, Jumping The Shark. Usually I am not a woman to defend the moral standings of contemporary artists, as I too am uncertain about their ethical motives. However, desecrating the labor and genius of forefathers such as Marcel Duchamp will force me to make a point to ignore my “anti-artist” ego and encompass my “VIVE LE CREATION” ego. In English: you don’t diss an artistic homeboy who wasn’t afraid to slap the pompous art-flogging bourgeoisie in the noodle and say “how do you like me now?” The relevance of the artwork “Fountain” – in which Duchamp under the guise of R. Mutt, placed a urinal in the gallery – was to elicit debate on what constituted art in the modern area. Found art. Reusing functional objects and debilitating them to unusable standards. Naturally, I can’t explore the whole cosmic world of art history in this article, and if I was to attempt such an endeavor, Mr. Zouch would disembowel my feminine aura. But for any budding artist or connoisseur of the art world, investigating diligently Duchamp, his “Fountain”, and why we owe him our loyalty for teaching us to be true to our individuality makes sense.
Now, not to castrate my colleague with this passion my ego has for artistic practice; irony is leaving a bittersweet aftertaste in my mouth. A young man who dapples in the cartoon environment, finding comfort in the quality of illustration opposed to canvas seduction, does have resemblance to the Master he has just masticated and spit out. His notion that, while an artist, his love for cartoons separates him from his grandiloquent peers is charming. Similar to Duchamp – who did seek monetary approval from his pieces and was an artist exploring new outsider motives – our young cartoon friend is made from the same blueprint. Yet, he either is very fluent in acting coy, or is unaware that he too is profiting off the capitalistic tit while attempting to remain true to his originative practice; produce for art and not artworks.
Pulling from his opinionated art rant; “Oh God, I really want to become a conceptual artist and create bullshit material to sell for offensively large sums of money!” The notion of sarcasm and pompous attitude surmount. This is the point where I took the article as a solid debate to stand up for my “bullshit material” and confide through the power of word to said young cartoonist that yes, you too are producing contemporary art for materialistic gain. You too are wading in this self-deprecating ocean with the rest of us artists. His assumption that many of his peers conduct this life to produce sellable works is insulting. Not all of us choose to take part in the masquerade and strain to be accepted by the elite; we produce art out of emotion and want, with no desire for profit.
Yes, art is a murky trench of symbolism, terminology, feelings and notions that even the best of us have difficulty understanding. But that doesn’t mean we – as artists loyal to our trade – should denounce those who challenged a collective decades ago and showed creationists to explore new routes outside the conventional. Revolutions are a good thing when they embrace urinals and not firearms. Perhaps rather than staying content in the simplistic cartoon void, which was and has been on the stage of the contemporary world for sometime, said young man should see inspiration in Mr.Duchamp. Mad and confused by us materialistic contemporary monarchies?
Start a revolution. Make a change. Inspire a new generation of perspective and encourage others to be unequalled.
I need to unzip from this temporary ego and slip back into my familiar “anti-artist” suit, before this shade of crimson on my face becomes permanent.