As a husband and a father, I provide for my family via our family run video production company, Otherworldly Productions, based in Denver. Businesses and companies hire me to make them commercials to advertise their products and services. These commercials might be creative (but to me) they are not art, they are design. Design utilizes art to sell something, be it a commercial for a product or a neat looking t-shirt. All t-shirts are essentially the same, what separates them is the graphics on the surface, and the graphics are what people are paying for.
As an artist, I really enjoy making short, experimental films, free from the expectations of a patron, corporation or any other entity willing to pay for expectations. I would not be able to make short films if I did not have companies paying me to make commercials. I take a percentage of the income from every commercial job and set it aside to help fund the time and resources involved to make a work of art. This system creates a symbiotic relationship between advertising and art.
I would venture to argue that every commercially employed artist/designer does not accept their corporate creations as their own art. They might be proud of them, but they do not take ownership of them. If asked, they will tell you, with starry eyes, of their project waiting for them when they leave the 9-5. Assuredly, the mechanic at the body shop has a old muscle car he is fixing up in his garage at home, and that is what he is excited about. For now, he must turn wrenches for the man, but alas, his '66 Shelby is waiting! The questions is: what is his motivation to drive it?
I question, with severe scrutiny, my motivations to make art. The hours consumed (sometimes sweating and anxious), for what? The money invested, to make for the sake of making? For the glory of whom? A means to what end? Sometimes I feel like I am adding to the noise; my offering to an already cluttered world. What do I have to offer that will not further distract and entangle this generation in the over-consumption of flashing media, objects and images, that find themselves on the screens of our own devices? I question whether art-making is able to generate anything meaningful, besides the personal relationships that are developed along the way. It seems we all want to be known and recognized for something, and ultimately we want to be eternal, if not bodily, than at least in the memory of those whose bodies outlive our own.
The nexus of art-making is to glorify something. Be it God, creation, another person, or the self. Only through examining my own intentions, I fear that my motivations trend towards the latter, in a direction that will die with me. Despite my struggle, at least I have found something to wrestle with and have become aware of the sin that abides within me. A means to become familiar with our own brokenness is a gift from God. If marriage is a sacramental path towards holiness, it is only because it provides a process which reveals the really gross things that silently lurk within, which are manifested only through the challenge to love one person really well. However, divorce is not the answer. All that is required is humility to recognize weakness and to actually change; this is the path to transformation. Through the process of making art, I see things inside of me growl outwardly, like jealousy towards someone I perceive to be more successful. In this case, the real problem is a displacement of values and what I define success to be. More crap inside of me: I want more followers on my Instagram account; I want more. This reveals my discontentment to be thankful for what I do have, but even deeper; who really cares about social media and why does this bother me?
Art making has become a transformative process, however it seems after each major project is finished, I am less motivated to create the next one. I feel tired of fighting for art, as if the fuel is running out, the purpose is being lost, slowly. Despite my struggle with self glorification on one end and the dwindling of passion the other, art continues to be made. and after each project, I find peace where tthere was none before when faced with the reality that each piece will be my last.