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Quotes / Doing It for the Art

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    Anime and Manga 

"Did you think the great Kishibe Rohan draws comics because he wants money!? I draw comics because I want to be read! That's the one and only reason. I couldn't care less about anything else!"


Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.
William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands

I hate this life of the fashionable world, always ordered, measured, ruled, like our music-paper. What I have always wished for, desired, and coveted, is the life of an artist, free and independent, relying only on my own resources, and accountable only to myself.



And it ain't even about the dough
It's about gettin' down for what you stand for, yo!
DMX, X Gon' Give It To Ya

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Henry Longfellow, The Builders

Some musicians curse at home
But scared to use profanity when up on the microphone
Yeah, they want reality but you won't hear none
They rather exaggerate a little fiction
Some say no to drugs and take a stand
But after the show they go looking for the dopeman
Or they ban my group from the radio, hear N.W.A and say 'Hell no!'
But you know it ain't all about wealth, as long as you make a note to

(Express yourself)
N.W.A, "Express Yourself" - Straight Outta Compton.

    Newspaper Comics 

Calvin: Look at the dopey clay tiger Hobbes made.
Calvin's Mom: Gee Calvin, I think this is good.
Calvin: You LIKE it?? Where's the marketability?
Calvin's Mom: Ask Hobbes if we can put it on the coffee table.

"MONEY? Who cares about money?! This is art, you blockhead!!"''
Schroeder, Peanuts


Rich: He understood that the first movie did not need a sequel.
Jay: Yeah, he's not interested in living in the past.
Rich: And you can hate him for that, but he's right, and he's justified, and he doesn't owe you anything!
Jay: Exactly. And look at where his career has gone compared to—to—... Dan Aykroyd's.
Rich: I love Dan Aykroyd. I do.
Jay: Sure, but... Blues Brothers 2000?
Rich: Yeah, I know. I know. (sigh)

    Stand-Up Comedy 

"This is the material, by the way, that has kept me virtually anonymous in America for the past 15 years... 'Why doesn't he just hit fruit with a hammer?' Folks, I could have done that, walked around being a millionaire and franchising myself but no, I had to have this weird thing about trying to illuminate the collective unconscious and help humanity. Fucking moron."

    Web Animation 

"Today's faceless AAA industry rarely indulges auteurism, as throwing babies out with bath water is now so routine for big business that the babies have formed their own society in the outflow pipe. But Romero's vision also gave us Deus Ex... Today, as long as the publishers bombard us with enough prerendered teasers, mocked-up gameplay videos, little white lies and BIG STODGY BLACK ONES to move enough units on launch day, they have the luxury of immediately not having to give a shit what we think."


    Web Original 

Imagine if Homer stopped the Odyssey because people complained that they didn't like the iambic format, and preferred lines of two trochees, because it was SHORTER. Homer told them to jump in the lake and wrote a masterpiece, and he made it as long as he wanted it to. Now, of course, rumor is that Homer was a bunch of guys, and the only stab I have at Homer is the one that goes "D'oh!", but you see my point.

Let's recap: Bowie plays to one of the largest venues in New York, goes onstage with someone far more popular than he at that specific moment in time, and plays to the other guy's audience. Then he plays only demanding music that his own audience does not know. Bowie played great and tanked. He knew he would. How could he not? And he just didn't care. He did what he wanted to do, able to withstand a stadium's worth of undeserved antipathy and indifference... More than at any other time in his career, Bowie was my hero that night. Putting himself into the mix in the exact way he wanted, hoping to be appreciated, but not depending upon it. Not having his sense of self shaken.

Chrono Trigger basically began as a jam session — a couple of star designers and a manga artist getting together to brainstorm and seeing what they might produce. No pressure. No cynicism. No stockholders wringing their hands over whether having so-and-so as a hero instead of such-and-such might have a negative impact on profitability, or insisting the graphics and story be changed midway through development to fit into an already-existing series rather than taking a chance on a new franchise.

It's the difference between saying 'how can I make the best work with $X' versus 'how can I make the most profitable work with $X'. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes they don't.
Forum post, discussing the remake of Halo: Combat Evolved

That’s one of the paradoxes of Crispin Glover. He sees the world differently than just about everyone else. That allows him to bring a different perspective to the characters he plays. I don’t think you can over-estimate his contribution to Back to the Future. If George McFly had been performed as written, the movie would have lost a lot of kinetic energy. But because Glover has a unique point of view, he’s not all that interested in making the kinds of movies that most of us want to watch. He’s built his life around making his own movies in the Czech Republic, working in LA to pay for them and touring the world to present them a bewildered audience.
Lebeau, "What the Hell Happened to Crispin Glover?"

    Web Video 

"Pillars of Eternity is a follow-up to a handful of Infinity Engine RPGs from the late-90s, picking up from where Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale left off. It was made by the folks who made those games and grew frustrated with the publisher's insistence that they didn't sell well back then or now... This is a massive, beautiful, well-produced and polished game that could not have happened any other way.

"When I rewatch his work, these little things are the ones I'm most impressed by: he doesn't need to do them, and they eat into his budget; but he still does them because he wants to. And it's that going above and beyond that I respect and admire."
Every Frame a Painting, Jackie Chan - How to do Action Comedy

"I believe we can learn a lot from these works, and if no one watches them, then so be it. I still love doing this."

    Real Life 

Fortunately, even at 22, I thought that what mattered most was not the world’s view of me but my view of the world, and so I survived. Others did not — like [John Horne] Burns, the best of us "war novelists." After the press attacked his Lucifer With a Book, Burns fled to Europe and deliberately drank himself to death at 36. One must be very tough to endure as a writer in America. Since I’ve endured for almost a quarter century, I must be tough.

"Stanley, I don't think this picture will ever make a nickel, but we have to make it."

"I stand or fall in my profession by the public's judgment of my performances. No amount of publicity can dampen a good one or gloss over a bad one."

"My goal was just to work regularly. I didn't ever expect to be rich or famous. I wanted to be a working character actor."

"Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries."

“She is ruthlessly honest with everyone around her to the point of being blunt. She tends not to filter her thoughts. Some people might see that as being unsubtle or tactless, but there’s an in-built honesty and integrity there."
—Director David Green on Sean Young's bad reputation

"Theatre became a tool for me, as it still is, a tool to talk about the world. That's exactly what it is. Worth more to me than even money."

"As much as you tell yourself, 'We made the film and here it is and that is enough,' you would like to come away with something."

"If you wanna make a wealthy living, you become a doctor or a lawyer. But filmmaking is something you do just because you're obsessed."

"We don't worry about money. We worry about movie."
Tommy Wiseau, as quoted in in The Disaster Artist

"We realised that struggling artists are meant to struggle, that's the whole point."
Bill Drummond on why he burned £1 million of his own money

"When you use a song for a TV commercial, it trivializes the meaning of the song. It almost turns it into nothing."

"I don't know that he liked the attention, but he liked what he was doing. I always had the feeling that he was doing it for himself. That it was rather immaterial to him whether people really sat there and listened. But he was happy in what he was doing."
— An elementary school teacher referring to one her students, musician Frank Zappa

"People would ask him to do paintings, but if he did anything, it was because he wanted to do it. He could never do a commission - performing on stage is like being commissioned and doing what you're told to do creatively. He found that difficult."
— Rosemary Breen on her brother Syd Barrett

"I think that attitude has changed since that statement, because any kind of mainstream acceptance that's going to happen is going to happen without our doing anything, and it has been that case periodically throughout our career... we find the way that Sparks' music gets a bigger audience is when we are at our most eccentric and not concerning ourselves wondering 'Does this fit in?' or 'Is this commercial?' or 'Is this going to work on a radio platform?' kind of considerations. When it's at its most extreme is when it's at its most interesting."
Russell Mael, on abandoning his pursuit of mainstream success

"I don't want to make responsible shows about lawyers. I want to invade people's dreams."

"Make. Good. Art."
Neil Gaiman, 2012 commencement speech to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Evangelion is my life, and I have put everything I know into this work. This is my entire life. My life itself.

Part of me said, "So what? You’ve got a baby. You are making a lot of money. Shut up, enjoy it; go home early; go in late; relax. You’ve had a long ten years; take a break." But I couldn’t. It just ate at me. It was an integrity issue. I took a lot of pride in the work. The work matters to me. I took a lot of pride in what I did on TNG and DS9 and the movies. I just couldn’t work that way.

"If anyone said to me 'invent a new monster so we can sell more toys', I'd kick them out of my office."

"We didn't make them for kids. We made them for ourselves."
Chuck Jones on the movie theater release (30s to 40s) Looney Tunes shorts.

I have several problems with licensing. First of all, I believe licensing usually cheapens the original creation. When cartoon characters appear on countless products, the public inevitably grows bored and irritated with them, and the appeal and value of the original work are diminished. Nothing dulls the edge of a new and clever cartoon like saturating the market with it...The cartoonist must become a factory foreman, delegating responsibilities and overseeing the production of things he does not create. Some cartoonists don’t mind this, but I went into cartooning to draw cartoons, not to run a corporate empire.
Bill Watterson on his refusal to shill Calvin and Hobbes merchandise

The 'fine artist'—the pure artist—says to the world: 'I didn't do this for money! I didn't do this to match the color of your couches! I didn't do this to get laid! I didn't do this for fame or power or greed or anything else! I did this for ART!' In other words: 'My art has no practical value whatsoever!
'But it's

"Who are the great performers in the world? I tend to believe—I wanna believe—that it's guys that have beaten their bodies up all those times and everything else. Or, is it guys like Raven and Hulk Hogan and Dusty Rhodes, guys that have managed to make a living by, really, just by doing the least amount they can? So I think they are a whole lot better than we are. (chuckles) I think we're the dumbasses, and they're extremely smart."
Terry Funk, Forever Hardcore: The Documentary

Even though so many details are still hazy,
I really want to show you the things I've been thinking about.
That's really my only reason for making this game.

Yahtzee: What is it that makes you keep comin' back to creatin' games? I'm guessing you don't really need to financially, or anything.
John Romero: 'Cause I have to.
Yahtzee: You know what? I totally get it.
—2017 E3 interview

This isn't a job for me, and I'll never modify my approach to protect a bottom line. If it was just a job, I guarantee I wouldn't spend every waking hour doing it. It's kind of a strange personal mission I'm on, which I happen to make money from, and that's cool. People are welcome to come along for the ride.

"I still do some free stuff from time to time. I'll do some PSAs...And even anime in these days; it doesn't pay the bills, you can't survive off of it; but I love working in that environment, I love the people that I'm working with in that environment, I love the passion that people have for anime and I love the fans.

"Don't make stuff because you want to make money. It will never make you enough money. And don't make stuff because you want to get famous, because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people, and work hard on those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts. Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won't. And if they don't notice, I know it's frustrating. But ultimately, that doesn't change anything. Because your responsibility is not to the people you're making the gift for, but to the gift itself."


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