No news is good news has two meanings. One is that there’s no bad news, and the other is that one hasn’t succumbed to the addiction of imbibing the toxic brew of daily news reports. We all know how stress-generating the news cycle has become, and I had to eventually admit that when I consumed the news I would consistently experience the feeling of anger. New reportage is now so attached to certain belief systems and agendas — it’s almost impossible to find objective reporting — that it seeks to persuade rather than inform you: to recruit you rather than edify you.
As news events became increasingly volatile, and created a conflagration out of thin air via their self-fulfilling prophecy of sensationalist reporting, I more than once publicly vowed to not write about it. This gave me some relief. I could monitor the unpleasant goings on, but wasn’t going to step onto the battle field, where even your neighbor and family members can become mortal enemies if you or they have a different opinion about our new homecoming kings and queens.
But the news would still piss me off, partly because I could easily see through the manipulation, cherry-picking, and deliberate, gross misrepresentation of whatever really transpired. I was beyond fed up with constant attempts to pull the wool of indoctrination over my eyes. I resisted being socially engineered for someone else’s self-serving benefit.
Finally I decided to shit-can the news altogether. I unfollowed my favorite news channels and commentators on YouTube. I’d long ago stopped looking at people’s political tweets, or partially digested memes and headlines shared on Facebook. And I stopped looking at news sources which I fundamentally disagreed with, but followed anyway in order to expose myself to other angles and not be yet another victim of regurgitating the carefully cultivated pap force-fed via confirmation bias echo chambers.
I just cast off the whole conglomeration of news and culture wars like an overstuffed back back. Weeks later, I don’t miss it. There’s no vacuum where there was once breaking news. I can honestly say I’ve even forgotten about it. Not only do I not know what is going on with Trump, Biden, Harris, AOC, or any of the main characters in the unfolding mockumentary writ large, I’m not even vaguely curious. It’s not my battle, and isn’t intrinsically interesting. It’s the addicting, empty calories of feeling like you’re learning about politics, society, and reality, while merely being subjected to a smoke-screen of propaganda always designed to mold and steer your beliefs in one direction or another.
I’m too busy doing much more practical and purposeful things that revolve around my own life, and my own story, to even notice the absence of news.
I’ve started a YouTube channel, learned video editing software, and uploaded my first video on art topics.
None of this means that I’m not interested in matters of contemporary political reality, or that I’m not informed about what really matters. For example, I watched the latest Adam Curtis (of “Hypernormalization” fame) 6 part documentary, Can’t Get You Out of MY MInd, about how political ideas and grand attempts at instilling paradigms and social engineering have plagued the last century, with absolutely devastating results. I’ve also watched the BBC seven-part documentary “Civilizations” about art history and culture, leading to at least WWII (though I would ONLY recommend the episodes hosted by Simon Schama, as the other narrators crossed over a bit into hammering home their utterly predictable agendas].
I haven’t even looked up the status of the impending stimulus. I’ll either get it or I won’t, and if I do it will show up in my account.
I’ve already created the first 8 minutes of my second video. Here’s a teaser:
I’ve infused my personal recipe of psychedelic/sci-fi/spiritual flavors, as well as a topping of 60s-70’s zeitgeist, including snippets of classic rock.and Battlestar Galactica. But there is original insight that can’t be found elsewhere, or else why bother? I’ve discovered, rather predictably, that when it comes to making videos, it becomes another creative outlet for me. Naturally, I’m not satisfied with making didactic, educational videos about art. I want the videos themselves to be an expression of my unique vision, in which case they potentially become minor works of art, of sorts, in themselves.
I made videos in the past, including one for the Andy Warhol/Trump image I shared at the top of the post.
I started making videos about 5 years ago, and mostly stopped 3 years ago [those 2 years I wasn’t teaching, so had more free time]. I never really got into it to the degree I am now. But part of the reason is that instead of keeping up with current events and the spin being put on them, I started looking for art-history videos to watch, and there aren’t nearly as many sources for it as one would imagine. There’s room to get in.
The other reason is that I need to make a promotional video for my own work in order to apply to online galleries that sell digital art. Suddenly, digital art is no longer not a viable kind of sellable art: it has surpassed physical art in prospective value for up-and-coming artists. You may have heard of Christies selling a Beeple digital collage for nearly $70,000,000. He’s sold other works online for millions. Other digital artists are selling works for thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. Whether or not I can break into the marketplace, and make a tiny sliver of what big name digital artists make remains to be scene, but I owe it to myself to try.
People who know my art well [note that practice pieces and tutorial work I share is training, not my real work] recognize that I don’t do what any other digital artists do. That could be an asset or a curse. While it is remotely possible that people might recognize me as a more traditional, fine art, avant-garde type of contemporary artist — as opposed to an illustrator or someone who got ahead messing about with new technology — the most likely scenario by far is that, because I don’t have an enormous Instagram following [I couldn’t cultivate the necessary addiction], and my work is varied and unexpected, it will be glossed over or dismissed as not what people are looking for. I may make nothing or an insulting pittance.
But it might be possible that between my art, a video channel with regularly uploaded videos, my blog, and attempts to break into selling digital art, I may be able to generate enough income to segue into being able to stay afloat, living low-cost in the developing word, without having to keep my day job. Better results may also be possible, but I probably need to get off the runway before I can fantasize about soaring over the landscape. So far I’ve spent years taxiing in the runway as regards making a living off of art.
Now that I’ve regained time, energy, and momentum previously sacrificed to the ostensible greater good of participating passively or actively in the news cycle and ongoing culture wars, I can make a stab at it.
[If you are addicted to the news and think it’s uber important you see what’s going on, process it, and comment on it, I am not criticizing you. Obviously, I’ve been there far too long myself, and only up until recently believed it was important for me. And maybe it was and is for other people.]
~ EndsAnd if you like my art or criticism, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). See how it works here. Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).