There was this lady, Ayn Rand.
Ever heard of her? She wrote this book, The Fountainhead, which is solely based on Howard Roark, an Architect like no other.
In the book, Roark seeks out a sculptor named Steven Mallory and asks him to do a statue for the Stoddard Temple, but Steven has his doubts about why Roark wants him to do the statue when there are so many “celebrated” sculptors that he could hire.
Roark tells him:
Your figures are not what men are, but what men could be and should be.
Now, I have read this book four times and it was only yesterday when I started asking myself, what did Roark mean by that? Why couldn’t he just tell Steven that he liked his work? But, Roark is not the type to ‘like’ stuff- he does not do surface appreciation, when he knows what’s deep within- and that made me ask the same about art.
Are artists creating to please, or because they should for the sake of bringing to life what’s within?
Can art be sold to the highest bidder at the cost of its integrity?
I thought about this the whole of last night, as I write the second book in the Currents series. (PS: The first book is already out. It’s called Fire.)
And while I was at it, I came across the works of Aristotle and this shed a light on my dilemma.
Fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because history represents them as they are, while fiction represents them ‘as they might be,’ and ‘ought to be.’
The question of art and money will always be a constant talk because when an artist expects appreciation for his work in the form of money- he/ she is trading.
It’s just that with trade, something’s got to give and the artist’s greatest challenge is to ensure that he/she does not compromise truth for the sake of money.