Category: Essays

May I revise and extend my prior remarks?

My last post, about the weird prejudice in technical fields that the arts are easy and artists lacking intelligence, got a great response. It’s a difficult issue to talk about, and I’m glad that what I wrote hit home with some people. If I’m very lucky it’ll make it a...

Why does everyone think we suck?

Artists have a terrible reputation. I find it kind of insulting, but on the other hand I can understand where it comes from. Almost my entire family and most of my friends are deeply technical, scientific, quantitative people. And I’m an artist. These people don’t think less of me for...

Amanda Palmer is so far ahead of us

Ukulele Anthem by Amanda Palmer So. Most importantly, this song is great. It’s just so mad and joyful. It jumps up and down on you and tells you why creativity is awesome while you giggle and roll around on the floor. Fantastic. How is that relevant? But why am I...

Make It Simple? Hire an artist.

People keep talking about the new wisdom for building technology products, from web apps to phones to enterprise software: “Keep it simple. It’s gotta make sense to people.” “Focus on making amazing things instead of a profit.” “Trust your instincts and your talent, and push them.” “Refine and simplify over...

Diamonds, Olive Oil, Champagne and Creativity

Idle thought: It’s not often that the basic value of something changes. There are bubbles and fads, like tulips, mortgage backed securities and snap bracelets. But it’s not often that big changes in the value of something we’ve had all along happen in the minds of whole societies. Champagne It...

Step 2

Step 2

I just found out about this community, and I hope it really takes off. It’s full of individual artists and their stories. People are talking about how they’re selling their art, and what they’re finding out. One the one hand it’s really great to read what so many of my...

The Fourth Wall Are Making It Up

The Fourth Wall Ensemble are old friends of mine, and I love them dearly. They play instruments and move around a lot on stage. That, in case you missed it, is totally up my alley. They’re uploading a bunch of great little youtube videos that do a lot of work...

Seth Godin Is Talking About Tribes

Seth Godin talking to a room full of arts marketers at the Capacity Interactive‘s Digital Marketing Boot Camp for Arts Marketers and he, quite rightly, says that everyone in the world, but these groups in particular, needs to think about organizing groups of highly energized people instead of trying to...

A Question To Help Individuals Working In The Arts

I wrote this as a comment for Diane Ragsdale’s excellent post on digitisation in the arts, and some of the different thinking about new trends and technologies surrounding the question. It got a good bit longer than I had intended, and I think there’s an interesting thought here. Instead of...

David Smooke’s Imaginary Audience

About a month ago David Smooke wrote a great piece for NewMusicBox called The Audience Does Not Exist. In it, he argues that imagining “the audience” in your head, and then trying to write music in order to please it, is basically a fool’s errand. He argues that it’s much...

Steve, Usability, and the Gradient Audience

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. The tributes to Steve Jobs, and this recent blog post from Ian Moss on usability studies in arts programming seem like a good jumping off point. The thing I’ve always loved about Apple products, and the thing I’ve sometimes found...

More thoughts from the FMC – intersecting art and marketing

Commence the heresy: art and marketing are fundamentally the same. There’s a reason that Jim Henson‘s work flowed so easily from commercials to purely Muppet-based stuff. Both the artists and the marketers are trying to make awesome experiences. But marketers are trying to get you to buy stuff because of...