Until recently, watching “Beautiful Losers” would not have been possible since Netflix had sent me multiple notices that my credit card on file was expired in spite of the fact that the expiration date is in 2 years. Also, since I have about .35 cents in my account I wasn’t anticipating it to magically kick on and send me an email that “everything’s fixed.” It did though. But whatever, as Monopoly would say, “Bank error in your favor.”
Anyways, I’m not good with subtext, but I think that’s all I picked up from this film. It’s about staying true to yourself in spite of what society says you should or shouldn’t be. It’s about following your dreams regardless of what they promise; no need for money or fame or security. The fact that you’re doing what you love to do is comfort enough. Figure out the rest when it becomes necessary to. This is something that I struggle with, but the more I immerse myself into the art world the less I give a care about mainstream society and its rules, even though a good part of the art world is mainstream. I guess once something becomes popular enough to be discussed by people who didn’t create it, it is mainstream. It’s a part of life. But it’s sort of unique to America. We as an individualist society desire to be the best and squeeze every last second out of our 15 minutes of fame. Other countries that are collectivist have differing views. But growing up in the individualist culture of the most influential country in the world leaves one to initially dismiss all other viewpoints until they are critically examined with an open mind.
Back to the film: The only person I knew of was Shepard Fairey, obviously because of the OBEY campaign. I also saw him in “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (Banksy is awesome). On the flip side, I thought it was interesting that the one artist, whose name escapes me at the moment, ended up doing the campaign for Pepsi. They were so of the mindset that they could do it without the man and they were their own group of like-minded people apart of a counterculture.
But when bigwig suit comes along and says, “Hey I’ll give you a lot of money to do what you do,” they jump on it. This isn’t bad at all. I would do it in a heartbeat. I hope to get to that level actually. And I admire that he retained creative control. A photographer I know of, Chase Jarvis, says something along the lines of do what you want to do and if you stay true enough people will want you for what you do and ask you to do it. That’s what he did essentially. However, another artist commented on his own career that the reason why he was done with that (corporate art) is because of it becoming too commercial.
It was a great film and I’m glad I watched it because it reinforced the idea that to be part of a culture you need to be in the culture. Something I am still working on. It did reinforce the fact that I need to go to grad school. Not to justify my status as an artist. One is an artist the minute they declare themselves to be. But to build connections with like minded people who will constructively critique my pieces and ideas so that I critically examine my work and make sure that it is saying or not saying exactly what I want it to. Also, one cannot become a professor of art, one of my goals, without proper credentials. I’d like to be part of a generation, or movement, or group similar to the one presented in the film. I’d like to be asked when I knew I was an artist, what my art is about, and have the opportunity to share my story with whoever wants to listen. And hopefully make some kind of a lasting impression on the world. And to do that, we have learned, we must be true to ourselves and follow our dreams with unquenchable thirst.
Pablo Baxter is the host of Shuffle, featuring the best in music, news, and notable figures of the community. Thursdays at 2PM PST on WWW.KSSU.COM