Art v Business

8 Aug, 2004 | EntertainmentTdp

While constructing my last masterpiece post about writing a book, I followed a link from the article I read to a post about Art and Economics and it got me thinking back to one of my film courses (yes folks, I have qualifications in film, an A-Level and a BA (Hons) Degree to be exact, so when I talk about film I've got real gravitas behind me, I have a peice of paper -- somewhere -- that says so. I know what I'm ranting talking about me, pal). We discussed art versus business with regard to films. Are films art, or business? Can art be art and yet have an eye on economics?

I guess everyone has an opinion on this. Personally (and with my qualifications, you better take note), I think that anything creative can be classed as art, even if it was made to make money. I also think art is subjective; one man's Picasso is another man's pile of shit (no prizes for guessing which category I fall in to). Having said that, I have come across numerous stories of masterpieces created by people who were in dire straits, poor emotional states, poverty and worse. Most of the modern masters had a life of suffering; Mozart, Beethoven, Dostoevsky, van Gogh, and Rembrandt all had hard lives.

You could argue that many of them were unhappy because they never felt their work was perfect and their desire for perfection drove them on and on to higher things, some simply lived beyond their means, endulging themselves too much, drinking deeply from the cup of life before spewing it's dregs back at the world through art. I have read many articles about how writing in an emotional state can help (rage being the most common, being driven to create when you're worked up about the subject is a very good method apparently). If you live in a comfortable environment, it may not be as conducive to creation, as the saying goes, an artist must suffer for his art.

I noticed this during Euro 2004 (this is stretching the definition of art), many of the players are being paid a fortune, they have no real worries (at least financially), but where's the incentive? It's the young players who still want to prove themselves that seem to have the drive, the creative zing and the willingness to do whatever it takes to win. The old boys seem more interested in not getting injured and picking up more play bonuses to build an extra wing on their mansions.

Equally, you could argue that giving these people the means to make a living at their art increases specialisation and lets them be free to explore their chosen medium without having to keep an eye out for their next paycheck.

Going back to film, the argument was that when, during the move to sound (around 1927 for those interested), the moneymen moved into Hollywood, the film biz ceased to be an artistic medium and became business. I remember we all disagreed with this, there are people out there making wonderful films, many within 'the system' and many more independents. You can have art for profit, but I do wonder if big salaries are limiting the number of 'masterpieces' that are being produced.