Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

Would you/did you "sell out?"?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6656 points ) August 25th, 2012

I am an artist, and I’m not necessarily any good, but it is a lifelong passion for me and something that I’ve always dreamed of being successful with (aka making a profit).
Something playful that I did generated enough interest that I feel like I could expand on it, and that combined with recent opportunities has made a good opening to try.
The problem is that it almost expresses a social statement that I don’t necessarily endorse or agree with. Eliminating that element would destroy the appeal and marketability of the series, so that isn’t an option. I do intend to go ahead with the project, but I feel strange about it.
Do you think you would “sell out?” Do you think you would or could promote or create something that isn’t really “you?” Have you?

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17 Answers

augustlan's avatar

If ‘selling out’ enabled me to support myself and still have time to do creative work I really cared about, I would do it in a fucking heartbeat. Well, as long as what I was selling wasn’t hateful in some way. Like, I’m not about to start painting signs for the Westboro Baptist Church, no matter how much they’d pay me.

I’ve seen your work, and you are more than good, by the way.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I would need more information on the work and the statement before I can answer honestly. I am a sell out by nature, if I can profit from something I will almost certainly do so. However, I do have my own standards, so I would not sell out on anything.

If you come from a Jewish family that survived the holocaust, then it is probably not a good idea to sell out on little sculptures of Hitler. However, if you are a feminist that is making a bit of money on the side by selling humorous wedding cake sculptures that are not always favorable to women, you could be forgiven.

Having said that, I would say to keep in mind that many artists have had to do things they don’t agree with, it is nothing new. There are thousands of paintings, sculptures and musical compositions that got made just for a buck or two. Many a king had a portrait made by an artist who hated the king.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@poisonedantidote you nailed it without the details. Thanks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue I haven’t had to yet. It would depend on who was relying on me and how much they needed me. I don’t have kids, biological or step. For them I’d do it in a second as long as it didn’t hurt anyone other than me. Same goes for other family members.

janbb's avatar

I haven’t been faced with the choice; my profession is aligned with my values.

I believe I would not do something that is the antithesis of my core values unless my or a loved one’s life depended on it.

But if I were an artist, I might make black velvet puppies paintings if it enabled me to do my “real” art.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’ve seen your work and I immediately thought that you should be selling!

Anyhow, I agree with Auggie. If I needed the money, I’d do it.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Say, if you were to sketch something. You could make prints out of it (plus, sell the original) and make a profit on Etsy.

20 to 30 bucks a print.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I don’t know if I need the money or the confidence boost more, but I intend to do it. Just feel a little weird about it.

Thanks all.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue Try doing a few small shows at craft fairs, etc, and work up from there. I’d buy your work.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe thanks. I actually have a table reserved at a show coming up, so that is my plan. I don’t think you’d be interested in my current project, though. :) That’s what I mean, it’s a different direction for me and not necessarily a subject that I want to stereotype or focus on, but I feel better about doing it after asking for opinions here.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@DigitalBlue You need to let me know what you’re selling. I may be interested. :)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue I love a ton of different things. I don’t want to stick with only one thing. Give it a try.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you mean change my style to something more sellable, yes.

6rant6's avatar

My opinion: art has a responsibility to promote social progress. So if your idea pushes people in the other direction, it’s commerce or marketing, but not art. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but I wouldn’t call myself an artist. I think you’d be a dirty stinking whore. Just kidding. You’d be an entrepreneur.

geeky_mama's avatar

I left the development side of our organization (which, while still corporate was a bit more creative in the sense that we developed and wrote code and produced tangible things) for the sales side of the house about 2 years ago.
I was a bit concerned about making the change because I’d heard re-orgs and RIFs were more common on the sales team than in R&D.

The change, however, in moving from a cost center to a profit center was HUGE. Financially a great move for me & my family. I don’t regret it in the least…but I’m now one of those people..frequent business travelers..earning miles and status and flying from meeting to meeting in a rumpled business suit.

I do however occasionally hear the lyrics to a few songs like these and remember my much younger, idealistic self and wonder what the 20-yr old Doc Marten punk me might of have thought of me at age 40 in my suit & heels presenting PowerPoint slides to a bunch of C-level suits and working on my “selling messages”...

Anyways..I’d guess I’ve been a “sell-out” (corporate worker bee) for the entire length of my marriage/parenthood. My oldest is 15 years old.. so it’s been about 15 years of being a sell-out and while I’m not selling or pushing anything I don’t believe in…this isn’t necessarily the life I dreamt of as a little girl. However, the financial stability (Health & Dental) benefits have been an absolutely necessity for our family…and the perks of traveling to places I might otherwise never have visited (Japan, China, Korea, South Africa, Dubai UAE, Croatia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Venezuela, etc.) on someone else’s dime isn’t all bad either.

linguaphile's avatar

I sold out big time when I married the ex— I had big, big plans for myself but my self-esteem took a nosedive during my last semester of college and the relationship gave me the security I thought I needed at the time. By marrying him, I gave up my dream MA, moved across the country to Montana, away from everything I knew in the southeast and took a job that I never wanted to support my family.

One day, about 2 years ago, I woke up—it was a very painful but necessary wake-up. I looked around myself and realized I had settled into a life that I didn’t sign up for and that wasn’t authentic to myself at all. It was awful.

In retrospect, I would still sell-out to make a living and to support my kids, but not to the extent that I did. A small, tiny sell-out, sure—if it pays the bills and makes the other parts of your life easier and more comfortable. But not a complete value system, personality, whole life sell out—no. That’s pure hell.

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