I'm sure you've seen them at Target and Wal Mart, but thanks to a Tweet last night from Tim Biskup we now also know that DIY vinyl figures are sold at Michaels! Sounds awesome right? More access means more participation which means more interest in the art form. Mr. Biskup makes his thoughts clear through his tweet.
Again, these or similar do-it-yourself figures sold under different names, have been available at big-box stores for a while and again, that's a great thing. So I replied to his tweet and questioned his tone of negativity. Here you can see the short exchange that took place which I think, in the end, had Mr. Biskup letting a bit of his elitism slip.
I get the point he's trying (and I use trying loosely) to make but it falls apart when you give it any thought at all. All art, once sold, was done so for profit. Art is a business. It is a profession. You do it because you can, you have the talent to do it. If you are one of the lucky few who can make a living off of your art, guess what? You're profiting from it. If you were making art for art sake you'd be giving it away so please don't pretend that this company trying to make money off of selling a product is at all different than you trying to make money off of your product. And your art is just that:a product like shoes and towels. You are a brand and you profit off of that. It's the same thing. And there is nothing wrong with that. If you werent selling art, I couldn't buy it. Art is made to be enjoyed which generally means paid for.
We're also talking about a vinyl toy being sold at an art supply store. A store that sells doll parts and diorama sets and yarn. All blank canvases, if you will, from which artists build and create. To complain about another building block for an artist to work with is foolish. You probably grind all your own pigment and mix all your own paint, and weave your own canvases too. Wouldn't want those canvas makers to profit off of the art scene.
Is the figure pictured the most original or of the highest quality? To people familiar with the scene and the "originals", no. But to folks who are unfamiliar with art toys or Munnys and just happen to have kids who need art projects to keep them busy, this may be the perfect product. We're also talking about a DIY figure which is not something designed to be a final product. By intention they are basic and plain. There isn't much going on with a Munny or Qee either but they serve their purpose and to somehow suggest that Munny and Qee are legitimate while these figures sold at Michaels and other retailers are not, is ridiculous. Perhaps instead of looking down your nose at the platform, you focus your attention to the scene itself and the artists who use DIY platforms as a crutch. I see value to that argument if you'd like to make it. But if you're going to go after a company for wanting to make money by profiting off of a scene you may want to look a little closer to home.
But it was his reply to the question I posed in that last tweet that undermines even his own argument the most.
If not to make the world around you a prettier place, a better place, or at the very least a changed place with your art, then what is the point of doing it? Profit, of course. My final tweet there he re-tweeted, by the way, for reasons I don't understand except perhaps to mock? In the end his argument against the sale of those figures (it is being done for profit rather than art) holds little water coming from a man who says its okay for a select few companies to make money off of us, but not others. For Tim Biskup and his ilk to profit is divine. For companies trying to get more kids and outsiders involved in the scene to profit is sinful.
Oh, and guess who else had to chime in?
I think once you've got her picking a side, you know that's not the side you want to be on.