ARTS IS THE NEW HUSTLE

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This article was written by Tega Greats

In a country where some vices have ‘levels’, where a heist is the most effective when applying for a leading position, one would understand how easily the honesty of a man could slowly lead to his demise – let alone when having the ‘blessing’ of being termed a creative.

Naturally, this said country could care less about ‘quality’ of art consumed as the hungry masses seek any form of distraction from the frustrations that have become their daily life. They have become numb to the feeling of pain, sorrow, humor, all emotions; so that their only need for art would be to do just that: to numb them; make them forget and to laugh – to mock.

The term, message, could be left for those in countries far away from theirs. Far away from the filth that leads them astray.

In a country of people who have forgotten that the word ‘life’ has a meaning, the choice of the creative is the same as, if not slimmer than, the others – hustle.

It is no news that there are little opportunities for the art-inclined to make a decent living with their talent without bending terribly to the cries of the masses, and most times breaking. And while I do not admire the ‘starving artist’ narrative, I would not say I prefer the ‘Hustle and blow’ mentality of today’s artists either.

With various people screaming, “Passion to Profit”; “Monetize your talent”; “Do fast and blow”, and the likes, the artist that falls in love with the fame that emanates from lavish living no longer sees their creation as art anymore – only as a mere money-making tool. What was once the thing that people gave their blood, sweat and tears for, has literally just been reduced to a tool for clout.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against making money with your art and creation, but when the pressure to follow up with your passion mixes with the innate desire to jump over the process (blow sharp sharp mentality), the term ‘quality’ exits the vocabulary.

Most of the artists we see these days don’t put in much effort into developing the ‘talent’, but rather they focus on just the marketing. And you know the thing about good marketing? Anything, anything at all can be sold with it, so why not right?

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Gradually we start hearing more about the artist in question, their children, what they wore for a wedding, who they’re dating, what their favourite colour is and other parts of their lives that really shouldn’t concern us, more than we hear about their actual art that made us know them to begin with. Instead of feeding that to us, we turn these people into another reality TV show, and that becomes the entertainment. The time taken to create a public figure and the desperation for clout has grown bigger than before (never forget, bad publicity is still publicity, you know?).

I find it sad that we see creatives that have more strength in marketing than they have in their actual art, because we don’t even know what that is anymore. For heaven’s sake, there are musicians in this country that don’t even know the meanings of their songs!

Again, no one is saying ‘don’t monetize your art and talent’, just don’t forget about the quality – especially if the original ‘dream’ was to leave a legacy. ‘Cause without the quality, once the reality TV show ends, it’s going to be replaced so fast you’d ask yourself if you ever existed.

We keep feeding this cycle of ‘do fast and blow with your talent’; slowly but surely, artists forget the fact that their art was once upon a time their form of ‘self-expression’ because there is no longer a ‘self’ to express anymore; just an image the fans (money bags) have to see because he/she  has made it. But then again, in a country where stealing is the new black, the idea and essence of art have become frivolous.

This article was written by Tega Greats for Truth Zombie blog.

Tega Greats is a lover of teddies and all things spaghetti. She has had her works featured in the Black and White anthology by the Covenant University Literary and Debate Society and she is all about exploring creativity and creating a better world for Nigerian artists

You can connect with the author via email: tegagreats16@gmail.com or via Instagram @tega_greats

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