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Professionalism in art

31 May 2018

Professionalism in art has this difficulty: To be professional is to be dependable, to be dependable is to be predictable, and predictability is esthetically boring – an anti-virtue in a field where we hope to be astonished and startled and at some deep level refreshed.

John Updike


4 Comments to “Professionalism in art”

  1. So the ‘best’ must be dependably unpredictable. 😛

  2. To be dependable is to be predictable is being able to deliver your product to the people who are willing to pay for it. It’s also to be able to satisfy your fans, who want “the same, but different” from you. It’s also to be able to build those fans, because you’re not producing something fundamentally different or unmarketable to the audience you already have.

    Which may not endear itself to people who pride themselves on unpredictability, but endears working artists who provide functional and decorative parts of architecture & furniture, to illustrators, authors, and all other working artists who want to make a living.

  3. Each of the steps in the logical statement is assumed to be true, but each of them is very wrong under many conditions, and so the whole sentence is meaningless.

    All these articles start by assuming something – without proof – and then procede from there to spin fantasies.

    We can start a few ourselves:

    “Knowing that human DNA has 99% in common with the chimps, we can assume that we have at least 10% in common with dragons…”

    “Because on a hot day you can cook an egg on the sidewalk, it is possible for the homeless to feed themselves easily…”

    • Since they were able to guess which direction the sun would rise four out of five times, the numbers they’re now giving us should be the wining ones tonight! 😛

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