Nature’s Despised Vacuum, or why we need to forget about marketing

Death to the marketing mind.

I encounter it, every day (well, I do work in marketing): artists who have been devoured by marketing. Their work languishes, they feel hopeless and resentful. Or they are so caught up in a flustered maelstrom of plotting and networking and platforms and messaging and so on, they have forgotten why they started doing all this to begin with.

I’ve been reading about the circles around Rosetti and Morris, places like the Red House in mid-19th century England, where artists gathered and not only exchanged ideas or hung out, but MADE THINGS together. I feel there is less of that, or less substantive support of such communities, and I would like to lay some of the blame on the fog that marketing mind induces.

Even before someone has written a meaningful book or finished an album, I hear chatter about marketing it.

You know what? No one cares about you. No one wants to hear about your little life, your narrow world. But when you are in conversation with others, when you begin facing outward, speaking to past, present, future outside your small dominion of self, that’s when things get interesting, and beautiful, and meaningful. Your ego will garotte you, if you let it.

We face not only the vacuum of patronage (to steal a lovely phrase from a thought-provoking article), but a vacuum of motivation, of communion. You can’t build something lasting from yourself. You are an artist in community. Share. Work together. Make lasting bonds. The more we help one another, the bigger the scene. The better the life, the bolder the wonder.

WE must do this. Corporations have no stake in nurturing our culture. They might accidentally hand us some tools. But they are sure as hell not going to teach us to use them, or encourage us to build something real. That is in our hands. Ours alone.

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