I have to admit that when I read The Guardian article about Jim Carrey’s documentary, I need color, my knee jerk reaction was to feel a little pissed. The idea of another celebrity garnishing global press because they suddenly decided to put brush to canvas kind of sticks in my crawl. But then I paused, because I’m trying hard to be a better person. I’m trying really, really hard. And I asked myself, why would I bemoan someone who wishes to explore another art medium?
I admit that a big part of it is that I can be quite judgmental. It’s an ugly trait that usually has its roots in my jealousy, insecurity, and frustration. I mean, come on! He’s already rich and famous. And, now he has instant success in an arena that I have been banging my head against the wall for years. And although, not the original impetus for my ire, there is the question of the quality of the work. Does it warrant a solo show in a Blue-Chip gallery right from the get go? In my opinion, it’s not great art. I don’t think it’s good art, either. And part of me wonders if it might be a prank. Part of a movie studio campaign for a new comedy. But then again, who made me the big bad art sheriff?
Is it unfair? Yes, it certainly is. The Jim Carrey’s of the world will always be met with waves of media attention, high-end gallery representation, museum exhibitions, and money throwing collectors. All wanting and hoping to cash in on their association to his fame. Whether the artists’ endeavor merits it or not. Everyone getting what they want. The celebrity turned artist is free to exercise creative expression in a new art form and society gets to decide if they want to participate in the commerce. And all because he is famous for making his butt cheeks look like they were talking.
But unfair runs both ways. A quick read of the recent Guardian article critique or a perusing of the comment section of YouTube clips gives a clear view of the other side of the coin. Most artists have the good fortune of developing their body of work over time. They enjoy an extended period of training, experimenting, exhibiting, and finding their voice. And during this time, they make lots of mistakes and bad art, all without the fear of someone from the Guardian lying in wait to tear apart their first solo show at the local coffee shop. They have no film crews feeding their egos by encouraging them to make a documentary of their newly discovered talent. And thank God, with no army of (although very talented) frustrated artists ready to fill their social media feeds with their indignation, wrath, and sarcasm. They’re the worst.
So, I guess this is the salve to my wounded ego. The notion that creating art inside the bubble of obscurity provides an artist the breadth to grow and develop a solid body of work without the influence of a thousand opinions. Not like that poor bastard Jim Carrey.