Will Kurtz. Extra fucking ordinary.

This is, of course, Will Kurtz. Maybe he was in a band. Maybe he was a fashion photographer. Maybe he went into advertising, at same point. Maybe he sits on the bord of a prestigious ad school. Maybe he works with tech starts who predominantly make their money off of real estate, and maybe he advises them on real estate. Maybe he is even writing a book about hoopoes. Maybe, maybe not. Who can really know?

But you know what else he’s doing? Making art. That he finds interesting. That he finds amazing. That he does not give a fuck if anyone, ever, buys. And he doesn’t need to make a living off of it. Maybe he is also working on two sci-fi novels. Maybe he’s even working on a photo book of photos of T-shaped pylons taken from trains.

Of course he loves his paper sculptures. He consider them art. Amazing art. He will also be shocked if he ever sells more than 30 of them. But he does not care. Because he doesn’t need to make a living off of them.

Art and commerce can be big time trolls. They’re annoyingly and implicitly combined. Implicit is that art is commerce, and you should try and “make it’ as an artist, or as an singer, or whatever, rather than deign to be part of commerce. So what does “making it” mean? It means making money. It means people willing to buy what you’re selling. It means good marketing. It means commerce.

Will’s art, thanks to his alternative career in real estate, or music, or teaching, or whatever, is now completely divorced of commerce, because he chose to make a living in something he happened to stumble upon at that time. So, now. Whose art is more pure? The artist who has the money, thanks to hard work, to create their art without a concern for commerce, or the poor artist who still has to cater their art to the “market” and make a living off of it?

And no, you don’t have to “stop singing, painting, taking photographs, writing… unless you agree to sell your creativity to that machine.” What a load of bullshit! Random example: I’m sure we all know talented writers who should be published but aren’t. Why? Well, mostly because it takes more than talent and hard work. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that many of them have created a habit of being financially dependent on their art. And here comes the trolling part: did you know that there was a novel called “The Man Nobody Knows” that was the best selling novel in the U.S. for TWO. FULL. YEARS. IN. A. ROW? Do you know who wrote it? Not one of  the countless talented people you may know, but Bruce Barton, one of the Bs in BBDO. A man with an alternative career. A man who was already raking in the dough.

Interestingly enough, cohorts believe that creative behaviors or creative careers have to go hand-in-hand with failure and bankruptcy. What would Will Kurtz have to say about this? Well, he’d probably tell them: “Cut that poo poo out and kindly f-ck a lampost, dear cohorts”.

Closer to home, the number of people with soul-crushing day jobs who are in AWESOME but noncommercial rock bands I know is insane. Closer to home, the number of writers, painters, photographers etc. who produce AWESOME but noncommercial art while serving at McDonald’s or carrying out boring corporate jobs is insane.

Will is just one of them, one of these guys who can do it all. He loves his paper sculptures, no doubt about that. He consider them art. He will also be shocked if he ever sells more than 30 of them. But he does not care. Because he doesn’t need to make a living off of them. His art, thanks to his alternative career is now completely divorced of commerce, because he chose to make a living in something he happened to stumble upon at that time. So, now, I’ll ask you again: whose art is more pure? The artist who has no financial worries, thanks to hard work, to create their art without a concern for commerce, or the financially-dependent-artist who still has to cater their art to the “market” and make a living off of it?

A little bio:

Will Kurtz‘s paper sculptures bring ordinary New Yorkers to life. He’s a cool hunter, he hunts the streets photographing his special subjects and works from his two dimensional studies to gather details that make his people so real. His show “Extra Fucking Ordinary” consists of life size figural sculptures constructed of collaged torn sheets of newspaper, wood, wire, screws, tape and everyday objects which depict the characters captured by Kurtz’s iPhone camera lens. Utilizing the observing eye of a curious urban voyeur, Kurtz spends large portions of his days combing the streets of New York for his subjects, which are later transformed into sincere and amusing life-size sculptures.

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