Fame vs. Anonymity
Bret De Palma, one of my teachers from The School of Visual Arts, talked one day in class about fame vs. anonymity. Bret said that people in our society are always in pursuit of fame. For artists the pursuit of fame might adulterate one's message, if one has a message. Bret said that he might instead pursue anonymity.
I can't say that I've been pursuing anonymity in my arts and entertainment career, but you can't tell that by looking at it! Mission accomplished, Bret! I am now more obscure and unknown than I have ever been in my career. I have had one review of my work in a publication (The Austin Chronicle, 1994), my music played over the airwaves one time that I know of (WBAI, New York, June 2010), and that's about it.
But nowadays, my productivity runs at almost full-steam. That is, I'm very prolific and productive of work that I'm very proud of in both music and art. I'm about to finish my fourth graphic novel in four years, and I will start working on a four song EP as soon as that winds down. I have the twin elements of money and time that one needs to complete such things.
Anonymity as it applies to my comics means that there's very little chance I will be sued for whatever assets I have. The changes that I make to people's names, my imperfect memory and lack of ability to render an accurate likeness, and the fact that I sell like fifteen books a year all decrease the likelihood of lawsuits.
The bad people in the Richy Vegas songs appear under pseudonyms, so the fact that "Man's Inhumanity to Me" debuts on October 8th does not keep me up nights. I don't have pictorial likenesses of the antagonists to go along with those songs, so they have no reason to complain. I will draw and write the Richy Vegas story in like three years, finish in six, so there's more time in which to bury the past. I might be as obscure as I am today.
It's not that I really want to play out my entire arts and entertainment career in anonymity, but if it comes to pass that I do, I will try to "hide in plain sight." That is, my art will be available for all to see, but thanks to my lack of ability to ,publicize and promote it through the major mass media, I may have to settle for the artistic freedom of obscurity.
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