An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can't feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn't capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won't put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn't a great artist.
There's no "correct path"ť to becoming a real artist. You might think you'll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it's all bullshit, and it's all in your head. You're an artist when you say you are. And you're a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.
I think a 23-page ordinary comic is an investment for the artist, but if you're doing something 60 to 104 pages, that's a really big investment for an artist. So unless you've got someone who wants to pay you while you're doing it or up front, it's kind hard to get someone to do that with you, unless you're the artist yourself.
Exhibitions of minority art are often intended to make the minority itself more aware of its collective experience. Reinforcing the common memory of miseries and triumphs will, it is expected, strengthen the unity of the group and its determination to achieve a better future. But emphasizing shared experience as opposed to the artist's consciousness of self (which includes his personal and unshared experience of masterpieces) brings to the fore the tension in the individual artist between being an artist and being a minority artist.
I learned how difficult it is to be an artist. There are always compromises. The record company wants you to do this, your fans want you to do this, your family, you can't concentrate on your work. It's a hard thing to be an artist and not give up. That's why I have so much respect for people like Dylan and Neil Young and Tom Waits, because they keep at it. I have a new respect for a true artist.
I would advise puppeteering for any artist. It's a way to break down pretensions. It's a sculpture that can talk. It's a painting that can talk. And it's pure play. I think every artist needs to stay in touch with the idea of playing. The artist should always be playing, always. All art is performance.
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