Ask Ty...October 2 [The Sellout Question]

It must be Tuesday, Middlespacers, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,
You've been talking about "selling out" lately. Do you think that you are selling out if you ask some entity for money to fund a project? What is your definition of selling out? I mean what would Ty Hardaway selling out actually look like?


Total Sellout

Ty: Good question and an even better observation, TS. I like to joke about selling out with my friends and colleagues because it's just funny. Because we all know if the GOP or Exxon/Mobil or AIG dropped like $700 into our laps, we'd give over all rights to all songs and images and be happy as dogs fresh bones of barbecue ribs. We'd be shitting ourselves over $700. Personally, I've been on the sell out thread for at least 20 years. I know some of the most original, integrity-centered artists who would tell you that selling your work and services isn't called selling out, it's called essential.

It's a long-standing bit based upon the self-serious irony of so-called "artists" who would purportedly (or ostensibly) rather starve than do something outside of their most original paradigm-schema talent realm or some bullshit. Like make enough money to 1) keep making terrible art, or 2) eat. STFU with the sell out talk.

And don't think that my musings on selling out has anything to do with my pursuit of project funding. It's a bit (just like the pursuit of project funding is a bit). Me? I want the dough to 1) keep making art, and 2) eat. So, to answer your question TS, I do not believe I am "selling out" by taking somebody's money to fund a project. In fact, entities with money would be really smart by giving me money because it'll turn out to be a goddamn bargain for them; a steal. And what is art patronage if not stealing? C'mon? It's a joke!

So TS, to answer your second question, what is my definition of selling out? I don't know.... What is selling out? Licensing your music to Coca Cola like G.Love? No, because that's business and how business works (haters are jealous). Signing a book deal? No, because otherwise nobody would take your writing seriously because they would never get a chance to read it. Did U2 sell out by saying in 1993 that they "were selling out"? No, that's called marketing. I don't like their music but it's not because they've "sold out, man!" They are professionals, they sell a product. Is doing commission work selling out? No, that's called surviving. Accepting grant money for the pursuit of big projects? No! Is Zach Braff's voiceover work for Cottonelle toilet paper selling out? Well, yes that is selling out. Zach Braff doesn't need more money and I don't need cognitive of Zach Braff when I'm, ur, wiping.

Talent and ambition doesn't make the world go round. This is America in 2010. Money makes the shit happen. Money makes the monsters come out. And wouldn't you want everyone on the planet to see/hear/taste/smell/feel your work? Or would you rather have your purpose and integrity? Quit frontin'! You can have talent and integrity and purpose and a paradigm AND make money. Have you seen Moby's house?

What is my definition of a sell out? Hell, I don't know. What would Ty Hardaway selling out look like? I suppose taking large sums of money from, say, the Taliban, the mafia, the KKK, or the RNC for my work would be selling out. Taking money from any organization that causes harm to me or my people, any organization that retards the pursuit of intelligence and peace (or that I just don't believe in) would be selling out. Like FOX News or Al-Qaeda.

The sell out talk is a bit, one that ain't going away (like Letterman's Top-10 List). But you can still give me your money! Art is the world's second oldest profession. And like the first, you don't give away what you can sell.

Just a guess,