SELLOUT has a post up on ambition. The post itself is a competition: whoever names and details the cleverest ambitious project gets a guest post, etc.
It’s odd because it came on the same day that I was writing in my private diary: “I’m sick of flogging, pitching, scheming, wanting.” Diametrically opposed, you might say.
In 1991 I was extremely sick. After having seen over twenty doctors, I got mercifully hit by a car and so left NYC for a couple of months to sort it all out in Ashland, Oregon. Here, I met this group who basically told me it was wrong to want anything, even good health. I had to give up all the want, they said.
I disagreed and good thing, because only active pursuit would cure me (and did). But this idea of extinguishing want has always been met with a love/hate embrace. Hate, because we deserve success. Love, because it’s almost the easy way out.
Not putting down SELLOUT, mind you, whose every post I have devoured since its launch, with a name that clearly tells you its intent. Artists need a game-plan that’s not just about dreams and aesthetics. We tend to spend more time in the cozy/freezing studio than working out business plans. It’s good to read how creative people interpret and act on ambition.
Every few years I tell someone that I might just quit painting. It’s not the paint itself - paint is good. It's the immense ambition and blind faith to keep at it, to maintain belief and that sense of self-importance. I guess this is just the post-exhibition come down.