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Disagreeing with Bill Watterson in the Style of Calvin and Hobbes

The artist Bill Watterson is most famous for his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. In 1990, he gave a speech at Kenyon College about the ideals of an artist. Gavin Aung Than illustrated a portion of it, which went viral through the internet this week. You can read it here.

They were nice words and Mr. Than illustrated them very well, but the entire piece struck me as more than a little self-righteous. David Willis, the artist behind Shortpacked, apparently agreed. This is his delicious rebuttal.

Link -via 22 Words


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True. But the point, as far as I can see, is that the idea that making a living as an artists is somehow wrong is discouraging to artists and art. I have seen too many young artists give up what could have been fulfilling careers over this idea which is parroted by cloistered professors in art schools all over the country.

If Watterson can use his fame as a successful commercial artist to repeat this stupid, destructive idea I don't see why David Willis, or anyone else who knows better, shouldn't call him on it.
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Well, I rather see and read Bill Waterson's naive point of view than this bitter (sourly bitter) reply. And Waterson is not alone at what he said (hey, Neil Gaiman gave a similar speech in 2012 for art students).
But more important: Not Waterson nor Gaiman say money is evil, they express that there's a lot more important thing in life to it.
Can you argue with that?
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Right. And the result is something that is fun (or instructive or delightful or beautiful or meaningful or whatever) and - AND - profitable.

The idea that artistic integrity and making a living are somehow at odds with each other is just that, an idea. It's a romanticized ideal of the artist as the misunderstood genius who isn't at home in the world, like Van Gogh. History is full of artists that did very well for themselves and produced great work.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that when artists compete with each other for the public's adulation and dollars art flourishes. Look to the art museums of Europe and America for proof.
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I think everyone has the right to their opinions and thoughts, and I feel that if Waterson wants to give up cartooning for what ever reason, I say "Thank you for the joy that is/was Calvin and Hobbes, and good luck in all your future endeavors."
If he wants to stand up and talk about his decision and why, people can listen or not, take the suggestions or not as they wish; we all have a choice.
And while Gavin Aung Than has every right to his opinions/thoughts, why go back to 1990 to dredge this up? Yes I know that history is ripe with cartoon fodder, but it just seems like he is trying a bit too hard.

That is just my opinion... you can take it or leave it. :-)
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