Chris Chameleon: Art for profit


Not a day goes by without me somewhere, during the course of the day, inadvertently taking note of the blessed circumstances of my life. The feeling then usually finds embodiment in something between humility, crushing gratitude and overwhelmed joy which is often accompanied by a random loud expression.

We all strive for happiness, fulfillment, joy and peacefulness. How we achieve those high ideals varies from person to person – everyone has his or her own ideas about how to achieve them. And most of us will probably be able to look at another person’s approach and find fault with their method, or values ​​or choices.

Focusing excessively on financial gain, for example, can sometimes mistakenly place comfort and satisfaction above happiness and fulfillment, and this after a great deal of comfort and satisfaction has already been sacrificed to fill the bank account with more zeros. On the other hand, focusing ascetically on values ​​and spiritual fulfillment is likely to expose the body and mind to discomfort and social isolation. And so one can go on… everyone has to decide for themselves.

For me, however, it worked out nicely, and without being guilty of feigned modesty I can honestly confess that I can’t take much credit for it myself. I don’t think it’s because of me that I was gifted with the ability to act and make music. It is not due to me that these gifts were exposed to the right empowerment at the right time in the right place somewhere. It is also not my fault that the product of this effort met enough people’s preference in order to achieve a viable purchase at its perceived value.

In fact, I’m not even sure that the work ethic it required of me to realize my ideals is down to me. It never felt like work, but if it was accounting or administration that made the difference, I didn’t make it because both of these disciplines arouse in me such an overwhelming revulsion that despite the most beautiful promises of compensation for me effort, somewhere along the way would go astray in its realization and, as a result, would miserably fail.

Against this background then the following:

For years now, I have been regularly getting inquiries from aspiring performing artists in connection with tips for breakthroughs and indications of contacts, in order to transform the unclear winding road to the top into a highway with clearer directions. I also have a lot of understanding for these inquiries – I myself was not above such inquiries earlier in my career. For example, in my ignorance at the time I exposed Coenie de Villiers, Anton Goosen and a few other established people to the possible discomfort of the same question.

If this writing can serve the purpose of simply being a RNews-link as an answer, then I’m satisfied.

First the bad news: I know artists, brilliant artists, with skills far beyond my own abilities, who toil in poverty and obscurity and sweat for a place in the sun. Some of them abandoned the dream and eventually found a financially more comfortable life as neurologists or internet specialists. The good news is that these guys have continued their relationship with their art and continue to reap the rewards of fulfillment.

So: skill alone is apparently insufficient.

More bad news: I know artists with a work ethic that doesn’t scare anything. These people put in the hours, eat, drink and sleep the dream. They train, maintain networks, brainstorm publicity stunts and travel far and wide to spread the seeds of their dream to any and all breeding grounds. And with all this effort, they can barely keep their heads above water as they endure the torture of the dream forever in sight, but never in hand. The good news is that at least they can function in the pursuit of their dream and despite the shortcomings they don’t have to commit to a career that will rob them of the sparkle in their eyes.

So: Work ethic alone is insufficient.

Further bad news: I know artists with enviable human and material resources at their disposal. Their daddies are rich, they know important people and have access to infrastructure inaccessible to even the most famous names in the industry. And yet their productions do not resonate. The good news is that they stay busy with the affairs of their heart and at the same time bless every baking hand on their way with a contribution.

So: Huge resources alone are insufficient.

Oh! Wait! There is more bad news: There is no recipe. If there were, the author of that recipe could sell the recipe itself for more money than could ever be made from any application of the recipe. The obvious indications for the accessibility of contemporary art are, precisely because of their recipe moderation, clearly visible. And great, timeless art lies in either perfecting the recipe, or radically recreating the recipe, which in either case will make everything that follows look like imitations.

What remains firm and certain is the following:

Business can fail, simply because business is measurable by pluses, minuses, multiplications and fractions. Art cannot fail, because it is immeasurable.

Other measures that are sometimes, wrongly, applied to art are ultimately distractions that arise from associated interests such as money, following and buzz and that can neither add nor detract from the art. The best art is art that comes from dedication, deepening, inspiration, sincerity, and the embodiment of spiritual exaltation that can only happen from the relinquishment of interests, agendas, intention and the pressure of expectations.

And the good news is that in an outcome-driven world, in a world in which man will increasingly compete with artificial intelligence for production quality, in a world where resources, skill and optimized work ethics will be sharpened to greater excellence, the modest light of service and devotion to the incomprehensible, spiritual origin of the soul, the primordial impetus of art, will shine bright and strong like a lighthouse in the dark chaos.