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It’s Not What the World Needs Right Now | Andrew Norman Wilson

🌈 Abstract

The article follows the life and experiences of a contemporary artist navigating the challenges of the art world, financial instability, and personal health issues over the course of several years.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Artist's Experiences

1. What are some of the key challenges the artist faces in their career?

  • Financial instability, relying on government assistance, Medicaid, and food stamps
  • Difficulty securing stable housing and living situations
  • Struggling to get exhibitions, commissions, and funding for their artistic projects
  • Feeling disillusioned with the politics and dynamics of the art world
  • Dealing with personal health issues like irritable bowel syndrome

2. How does the artist try to navigate these challenges?

  • Hustling to find ways to generate income, like renting out spaces for photoshoots, curating film programs, and taking on editing jobs
  • Trying to find creative ways to present their work and get exposure, like lying about their living situation for an Artsy feature
  • Seeking out residencies, grants, and other opportunities to support their practice
  • Exploring different mediums and projects, like 3D animation and video work

3. What are some of the artist's reflections on the art world and their role in it?

  • Feeling frustrated with the "cottage industry of critical art" and the politics within the art world
  • Becoming disillusioned with the way contemporary art is often used to serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful
  • Questioning whether their work can truly achieve the goals of political struggle or make meaningful change

[02] The Artist's Personal Life

1. How does the artist's personal life and health issues impact their artistic practice?

  • Dealing with chronic digestive issues and nausea that make it difficult to work and function
  • Struggling with mental health challenges like depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Relying on substances like Adderall and alcohol to cope with the demands of their work

2. How does the artist try to address their health and personal issues?

  • Seeking medical treatment, including surgery to address a rib issue causing digestive problems
  • Trying to slow down, drink less, and focus on self-care through therapy and meditation
  • Turning to friends and family for support, though sometimes finding those relationships challenging

3. How does the artist's personal life and living situation evolve over time?

  • Moving between various temporary living situations, from shared artist houses to a mansion to a medieval-themed Airbnb
  • Relying on house-sitting and pet-sitting gigs to have a place to stay
  • Eventually moving back in with their parents in North Carolina to focus on their health

[03] The Artist's Creative Projects

1. What are some of the key artistic projects the artist works on during this period?

  • The video work "Ode to Seekers 2012", a loose adaptation of Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
  • A follow-up video project called "The Unthinkable Bygone" exploring representations of dinosaurs
  • A video essay project called "Art Director" documenting Hollywood fantasy made material in LA
  • A video project about the urban legend behind Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"

2. How does the artist approach and reflect on these creative projects?

  • Feeling a sense of freedom and celebration in the "Ode to Seekers 2012" video, in contrast to the "cottage industry of critical art"
  • Feeling disillusioned about taking on projects like the "Art Director" video that were driven more by funding than personal passion
  • Seeing the "In the Air Tonight" video as potentially one of the best things they've ever made

3. How do the artist's creative projects evolve or change over time?

  • Shifting from more conceptual video work to exploring narrative filmmaking with projects like "Impersonator"
  • Trying to find ways to balance personal artistic vision with the demands of funding and commissions
  • Becoming more interested in exploring pop culture references and representations in their work
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