Wednesday, September 2, 2009

R. Crumb on Art Grants and Funding

"...These guys who judge stuff for grants and "best of class" don't know shit. I'm probably considered a right-wing conservative when it comes to doling out money to artists. Judges are so lame and half-assed..." 

From a conversation with Harvey Pekar, taped and turned into a comic strip.

This is why I have argued for boycotting contests and grants in the past: you are enabling committees of people who don't get it, and giving a stamp of approval to work that usually doesn't deserve it.

For us, cutting most ties to the webcomic scene and recognizing it as an abattoir for bottom feeders has been the smartest move we have made.

I've gotten a few letters from people with a similar point of view, and what's notable is that their comics are generally much more interesting than the rest of the stuff you see on the web.

Webcomics are primarily a social phenomenon. Online comics that are not webcomics are primarily an artistic phenomenon. The two have some overlap but are not really compatible. People doing webcomics have no comprehension of how little they understand and how shallow their knowledge is, not to mention how much they have been deluded by people who claim to make a living at the trade, but don't.

Oddly enough, this piece isn't really addressed to anyone. If you are dumb enough to play at the "professional webcomic artist" ruse, you are too dumb for me to help you. Anyone who "gets it" gets out.

Yes, a small number of webcomics make money, but not to an extent that I would consider satisfactory. Some claim self-sufficiency, but are so heavily subsidized, many of us could live well on the amount of personal funds that are spent in a desperate attempt to achieve a success that will never come.

Remember the rule: the more the noise about success, the less likely they are succeeding. The less you know about a comic, the more likely something is happening, assuming it is being run as a serious business. Finally, for every webcomic that is gaining ground, there are three or more in decline.