The Cult of Ignorance and Entitlement


Armand Cabrera

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”~ Isaac Asimov

Nowhere do Asimov’s words wring truer than in the visual arts.

I have had a few discussions with friends lately about being an artist and the difficulties that choosing that lifestyle entails. The years of work that goes into developing your own voice through style and applying that to your own properties. 
How sad that gaining recognition invites theft by people with little or no talent for real creativity beyond mimicry. Those who can’t or won’t study enough to stand on their own. Instead that lack of ability giving them humility, it gives them a sense of entitlement; that is the culture we now live in.

This is  the real cult of ignorance. The people who think other creators hard work is just something for them to pirate and exploit without paying for the privilege of its use. These people are nothing more than parasites and don’t deserve any ones respect or support.

8 thoughts on “The Cult of Ignorance and Entitlement

  1. So where did it start? Did the affordable print market via Currier & Ives, or Maxfiled Parrish's reproductions in every other middle class home in early 20th century America — did this cheapen the intrinsic value of what we do (because it became reproducible)? I've never understood the mainstream opinion that what I do isn't on the same level as a "real job" even though I have supported my family this way for years and years. And it doesn't seem to bother most patrons of the arts when plagiarism comes in the form of mimicry — and when the copyist profits from it, he's rewarded! The free enterprise system is never more abusive than when someone comes along and steals from another who is minding their own business, keeping their nose clean to the grindstone, and then prostitutes and profits from it. no integrity or understanding of the immorality of it whatsoever (unless they're purely a sociopath)… Bottom line is, it effects the entire arts industry and perpetuates the "cheapness" of our craft.

  2. Eric,
    Tech has always sought to make things easier so it started before your example. The current speed of tech advancement makes it more obvious now.
    Experts are a pain to work with and some experts are more expert than others. As people’s expectations are lowered they don’t need expensive hand made one of a kind things, they are happy to settle for cheap hand made things that are only made to capitalize on pop culture and trending fads. Facsimile is just as good. There are plenty of people with little or no morals to take that offer. On one of the forum an artist we both know said he drew the line at stealing from individual artists but corporations were okay. I assume he meant image banks given the nature of his work. Apply that logic to money. I won’t steal from an individual but robbing banks is okay.

  3. Not sure this is relevant (and not aimed at you Armand), but the first thing that came to my mind was the workshop trend–I can often tell exactly who someone has studied with by looking at their work. Some students want to avoid doing the work and shortcut to instant success by imitating a popular and successful artist's style–which unfortunately some established artists seem willing to go along with. I know they need the income, but how can they stand training all those imitators?

  4. I think that all artist borrow from those that have gone before .
    Someone painting like you just helps you stay sharp , otherwise if there are none chasing you you can get lazy . I would like it to keep me on my toes .
    I talked to an artist I like and the advice he gave me was to find someone you like and paint like them .
    I think the more people painting well out there the better .
    Don't expect people to reinvent the wheel . If you have learned a nice tech etc . then be happy that you are helping others do something they love .
    Competition drives any industry including art.
    If you aren't improving people will get tired of you perhaps and buy someone else .
    Constant improvement and movement comes best when you hear someone catching up to you .

  5. And does anybody else really copy anyone that closely ?
    I think that answers the question of why artist can give workshops cause they know the individual's own angle will go into the work and it won't be an exact copy of their techniques anyway .
    I mean Carl Brenders gives classes but I don't see 20 new Carl Brenders type artist out there after every one of his workshops .
    There is more to it than that . Copying your style is only part of it . Creativity in your subject etc. is unique to you and should be much harder for someone to replicate . If it is easy for them , maybe you need to turn your critic inward and thank the ''copiers '' for pointing out somethings to you .

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