Jan 20, 2019


I was telling my friend the other day about how I think art is a scam, and she just said to me that everything is a scam. Perhaps, but at least other scams seem to have a more concrete purpose... art is funny because it's like, a very vague scam. I mean, what's the point of conceptual art? Sure, some pieces "really make you think", and yeah, I do like some of Francis Alÿs' shit,... but for the most part, I think that "fine" art is an elitist, self-referential, good-for-nothing money making scheme. I mean, to be a successful modern artist, the easiest way is to just be rich from the beginning so you can afford a "good school" ...Whichever you choose is fine, as you're coming from money, you probably already have influential connections that guarantee you'll have some nice work options waiting for you when you graduate anyway. So, if you're lucky like that: good for you! If you're not then, get ready, 'cus you're gonna have to suck a lotta dicks...... and mind you, I do not say this in a pejorative way: I respect prostitution as much as any other job, --however, I would rather suck a real dick than a metaphorical one, ha! Whatever your preference, be sure that your personal vision, your ideas, your actual "art" doesn't really matter so much as long as it is useful in some way to promote and maintain the already established ideology of exploitative, colonizing, racist, elitist, predatory culture; always supported (but not always overtly) by: museums, sponsors, trust fund assholes, biennials, corporations, the government or whoever else is running the art business in question... they're all part of the same circle jerk in between the privileged. That is why "fine" art often results in a product that is very much removed from the actual material dedication and spiritual release that can be experienced through making and enjoying other kinds of art. This is just my vision, as sort of an outsider of that world, so if you are part of it, I very much welcome your disagreement and perhaps you can inspire some hope for me in "fine" art...

I wonder if individual fulfillment really is so detrimental for the on-going elitist power structures and current capitalist system? Because even if you are able to fulfill yourself spiritually (by rewiring your brain n shedding all the layers of shit their "culture" left on it), as long as you're alive, your existence and well being still requires the consumption of resources. Material consumption is an undeniable necessity for survival. This overwhelming, predatory consumerist culture is unnecessary and destructive, in the material sense as much as in a spiritual one. The intention behind it seems to be really just to keep us dissatisfied, so we feel like we need to be constantly consuming, more and more and more. Under this mindset, we can potentially objectify anything, and so everything turns into a product: food, time, feelings, drugs, space, our bodies and energy... yeah, this culture lies to us, making us believe consuming is the only way to fulfillment, but once you believe in that, you will find that nothing is ever enough. After living most of my life this way, I've only just started to find true fulfillment by connecting with myself and that which is beyond me. Our objectifying culture is so pervasive, that now more than ever, the success of your art is almost irrelevant to the quality of your craft, it really depends more on how you sell yourself, how you manage your "curated brand persona" or whatever you want to project through the internet... Because not only art is the product: artists themselves too. And so, if you chose to, you can even turn your own life into a product of consume, another bit of "content" for the already seemingly infinite scroll that is the internet currently. And as much as I love the internet, I can't deny that it's also the most permeating, corporately owned, mass-media system in our planet. It's interesting to think about how since the beginning of human culture and just until a few years ago, the elites exercised their power partly by limiting the access of the masses to information, and now, they do it the opposite way: the access to information is so much that it is overwhelming to us as individuals. In our struggle for discerning what parts of it are truly relevant we disperse our energy and get stuck in constricted information loops, discretely designed to keep our consciousness limited within itself. And again, most art online currently serves this purpose too.

So what if you just want to draw? What if you don't give a shit about spiritual liberation, changing the world, or even to be part of any art scene? If art is a scam, then fine artists are like the guys on Wall Street and cartoonists are like the pickpockets on the streets. There is nothing glamorous about drawing. Since everyone can do it (like, anyone can just scrawl whatever on a bathroom door and call it a drawing) it is seen as a lowly, time wasting activity. But I think that it is so special precisely because anyone can do it. Derrida described writing as any kind of mark making, according to him, even a trail in the snow can be interpreted as an expression of mark making (so I guess he would've agreed with GG Allin when he said "skin is like paper" haha) all of which just makes me think that maybe even to distinguish in between "writing" and "drawing" is pointless.... and while we're over here untangling the knots of the absurd infinite, capitalism questioned nothing and comfortably absorbed the practice of drawing into its system: by the beginning of the XX century, mass-produced comics, and later on, animated cartoons were born. The majority of these were made by unknown cartoonists, in conditions similar to that of some of the other factory workers of the time,... I mean, it wasn't a dangerous job, but it was still underpaid and exploitative. Many artists were published unaccredited, as their work was only meant to be printed cheaply as a quick product of disposable entertainment... and I guess this is why there is a sort of secrecy in the comics industry, it's not so much an air of mystery, it's more like one of embarrassment! Too bad, since the actual act of drawing can be pretty fun and its results often invoke one of the most powerful, healing impulses out of people: laughter!

Currently it seems like there is a new approach to making comics... At least in the USA and Canada, comics are not the end product in themselves anymore: They are a pathway into the world of animation. Animation is cool, for sure, and it seems like at least in the USA it is decently paid.... but honestly, I think most of the stuff made today sucks. It's either creepy 3D bullshit (and not in the cool way Jordan Speer or Sam Lyon do it) or super flat, sleek looking digital animation that isn't even done at the studios anymore (it's mostly done in South Korea.) ---SHOUT OUT TO Victoria Vincent, Anatola Howard and Renata Gąsiorowska, all of whom have made bad-ass original animations by their own hand in the last decade (there is still hope for real cartoons now and in the future!)--- And yeah, I guess some of the cartoons being made for TV are alright! Kids like them, and it makes them imagine things and that's *what truly matters* ....I'm just a fucking snob and very much prefer cartoons when they're hand drawn, when you can just tell the people making them where obsessing about it or just having FUN making up funny shit... The kind of out of this world wackiness that can only come from the minds of true, crafty outcasts. Like in the 30's and 40's, when the animation business was run pretty much by cartoon vandals! I mean, Walter Lantz won the ownership for the Universal animation studio from a poker bet --yeah, the guy who created Woody Woodpecker, one of my favourite cartoons and a real, successful experiment on the boundaries of cartoon physics and visual gags! Tex Avery, another cartoon master, was just some weird rascal who went to LA and lied his way into a job as a director at the studio that would later become Warner Bros. Oh, and that happened after he lost depth perception in one eye due to some stupid prank at Lantz' studio, an incident which apparently he took to his advantage by using his now distorted vision as inspiration for developing new, crazier visual gags. Makes sense, since art is partly about reinventing the forms of material expression, and limitations are always potentials to figure out new ways of making things.

Art is like a trick, and all tricks are magic. Mark making goes back to the beginning of human culture, and so its multiple functions and interpretations have been evolving and transforming since then. I like to question the labels we give to all the expressions of this material magic... like, are cave paintings art? How come crafts are not art? Now I think that these conceptual loop holes are just part of the scam that is "Art" (again: another scheme to uphold western ideals of exploitative, colonizing, racist, elitist, predatory culture.) And so, most true drawers, masters of the mark making craft, work like thieves in the shadow corners of society. It starts out as a natural thing you do as a kid, but once you start growing up and assimilating into society, it is one of those things that you will be encouraged against practicing. And to draw doesn't need talent as much as it demands focus and concentration. Like stealing, it's a technique that requires a secluded, almost secret and extremely dedicated practice. It's about doing the same thing over and over again, mostly in solitude, sometimes uncomfortably, but if ever to be seen by others, it must be perceived by them as effortless. It can feel like magic and it can manifest true magic, because by projecting an image you are casting a symbol. Symbols can be invoked repeatedly in different forms, they are multidimensional and always have the potential to expand their meaning and power... their connotation can be the most absurd, but that doesn't make them any less powerful. Think about Matt Furie's Pepe the frog and how it evolved from a chill stoner character from MySpace into a national symbol of hate throughout its repetition in memes made by internet trolls and neo-nazis. Symbols are incredibly powerful precisely because they evade logic and go straight for your subconscious. Drawing can be powerful in that transcendental way, it is a manifestation of energy, a reinterpretation of what you perceive beyond yourself and within the imaginary world that appears through electric impulses in your brain, an alchemical reaction that fuels an impulse through your arm and to your hand, directed by your eyes, so the symbol can be projected on a surface for others to see, reinterpret and absorb uniquely into their own private electric world.

Maybe art can serve spiritual liberation, but even then, true artists are definitely more like vandals than shamans. You don't necessarily need a guide or guru to practice drawing, graffitti or tattooing. It's like learning how to play rock'n'roll... you can't learn that in school, you just do it, it's like a compulsion, an urge to kill boredom. To make art is more of a subconscious need than a conscious decision. It is not a practice that fits well with conformism. Once you understand drawing is not encouraged by society, if you decide to keep at it, you will have to do so sneakily in the corners of your notebooks, hoping that the authority figure in turn won't notice that you're actually more comfortable living in your own world than in theirs. I keep coming back to thinking about how I started making money off of my drawings by making stickers in high school in Mexico City... money which, I always immediately spent on weed and booze to share with my fellow vandal friends. Somehow I got from there to "taking it seriously", and now I'm back to thinking that maybe... I shouldn't. I guess it doesn't matter really, whatever your approach is to drawing and art as long as you find fulfillment in it. There really is no other point for such a vagrant activity... or spiritual sorcery, whatever you want to call it. "Art" is a known mystery. It moves you in a way in which you cannot deny its existence, and it can feel just as real or fake as it instinctively strikes you. You can observe it and dissect it from a million different perspectives and you will always find something new, rational or irrational to consider and question. Sometimes I feel like I try to analyze magic too much, to the point to which it almost feels like I'm destroying it. But true magic is indestructible and will always elude human understanding, its power so immense and so beyond me that only by surrendering to its irrational subjectiveness I can find true enjoyment... and as I keep trying to free myself from all the destructive thought patterns that society has ingrained in me, my mind starts to flow unburdened until nothing matters anymore and I laugh at the absurdity of it all, just like when I was a kid watching cartoons with my face so close to the TV that I could almost kiss the screen.