I’ve had my head down lately. Client work while I finish one feature film, and gear up for the next. I haven’t been paying attention to the web really, but something came across my radar that was so offensive and stupid that I felt compelled to comment. It was this tweet.
Not just business people. Interesting use of words. Just. Now of course the first question is who is David Sacks? Mr. Sacks worked at PayPal where he made a lot of money. He then went on to found Yammer which is a twitter for companies that Microsoft bought and again he made a lot of money. Mr. Sacks is apparently very good at making a lot of money. He’s not very good at making art though. In addition he doesn’t actually understand what art is so I guess we should start there.
Art is the creation of a physical object of some sort with the sole intent to move the human spirit via use of one or more of the 5 senses. If it’s really good art, it taps into the sixth. Your soul. It can be literature, music, film, painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, etc.
Art is by definition not a commercial enterprise. Whose only reason, whose sole intent and creation was and is to make money. Art wants the world to look at it and feel something. To think about what it means to be a human being. Every business ever created is about selling something to someone, not about the human psyche. I would think this is obvious, but apparently not to Mr. Sacks.
Now that we know what Art is. We can reverse engineer like you web guys like to do and define an artist.
An artist is a person who has an irrational need to express how they see the world, in order to show others a part of themselves. They have an innate need to create in whatever medium they choose, their point of view. They have something to say, and they have to say it. They also sometimes have talent in their medium which makes it truly magnificent to behold. It’s a unique personality trait, coupled with a gift from g-d, and then actually doing it regardless of financial results. That’s what an artist is. A guy who needs to do it, for himself, for the world.
Mr. Sacks simply saying differently and calling himself and artist without earning the right or actually doing anything is appalling, and tells as much about him as it does our culture of envy, jealousy, ego, and narcissism.
I think any sane and rational person thinks Dylan, Picasso, Coppola, Bukowski, Mozart, Van Gogh, Lennon, Emerson, names like that are associated with great artists. Mr. Sacks would somehow feel incongruous on this list despite his massive business and financial success. In fact to even consider Mr. Sacks, a businessman, has anything in common with any artist living or dead would be ludicrous.
Mr. Sacks is one of the giants of the web 2.0 era. Probably worth hundreds of million dollars. A king of silicon valley worthy of a million dollar costume party where he anointed himself King and ruler of his kingdom. Now he wants to be the court jester too, and the artist who paints his own royal portrait. He has dedicated his life to making money and building companies. He has done very well at it, and I think that’s great if that’s your thing. He reached his goals and should by all outward appearances be satisfied and pleased with himself, but he is just a businessman, and he knows it. Just business people. That’s the real truth of the matter. David Sacks is still just David Sacks.
Artists matter, and are remembered and cherished. Their work and personas lives on long after them, they are immortal in that way. They are the best that humanity has to offer, despite or because of their faults. They are the special ones. They have the desire and ability to get to the sixth sense. Where nature, g-d, beauty, and the human experience intersect. When we connect to a work of art we are joined to all who came before, and all who shall come after. That brief moment of recognition, is where, if only for a fleeting moment, we get an answer as to what it means to be a human being and part of the universe.
A businessman is just another schnook who started a business. Mr. Sacks is not an artist, and never will be. He just doesn’t get it. Being an artist is a gift that can’t be bought at any price. It’s priceless. Besides….