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18 ARIS&hiVli'.'RrA^MI'M’ 


ihursday. tisepl«iilxT.2007 • wwv.tlic^iiewwniliiH-.ca 


The Internet is mining your future arts career 



Without a doubt, one of the Internet's 
greatest achievements—aside from 
porn—is the mass proliferation of 
art. With a couple of clicks and a 
Google image search, you can access 
the sum total of all human artistic 
creation, from classics like the Mona 
Lisa to recreations of ancient Mongol 
chanting. And if you like your art 
fresh, then the Internet is the place 
to find the latest and best that cul¬ 
ture has to offer you. 

The only problem is that, now, it's 
nearly impossible for artists to make 
a living from it. 

It's the reality of supply and 
demand: when supply is high, prices 
go down. Right now, it seems every¬ 
one with a web camera is putting 


something up on YouTube, anyone 
that can draw is making a comic, 
and people with even vague writing 
abilities are pumping out blogs like 
copulating rabbits. 

Since posting things on the 
Internet is so cheap, and since pro¬ 
grams like Photoshop make pro¬ 
ducing art so easy, anyone with a 
computer and some technical know¬ 
how can create impressive portfolio 
pieces without going into debt with 
student loans. And with so much 
out there, prices are going to remain 
near zero. 

Lots of people thought—and still 
think—that the answer is advertis¬ 
ing A few 20-second product place¬ 
ments allow people to enjoy free 
programs and music on both the 
radio and television. Plus, advertis¬ 
ers even seem to be willing to buy 
ads on the wall space above urinals. 
But the very nature of the Internet is 
hostile to advertisers. 

Cyberspace's anonymity, and the 
ability for its users to indefinitely cus¬ 
tomize their websites, utterly kills the 


potential for advertising Businesses 
want to know demographic and sta¬ 
tistical information about a website 
before they'll begin to advertise on 
it—information that's impossible 
to gather accurately when it’s status 
quo to lie and hide everything about 
yourself. The easy answer seemed to 
be to the pay-per-click system, where 
a website earns cash based on how 
many people click on the banner, but 
that's turned out to be ineffective. It's 
too easy to cheat to make it an effec¬ 
tive method of advertising for a com¬ 
pany. 

At the same time, stealing and 
piracy is an overstated problem. 
Programs like iTunes have shown 
that people are still willing to pay 
for Internet goods, even if they 
don’t have to. Meanwhile, the legal 
Jaws of Life are quickly closing in 
on seemingly legitimate services 
like YouTube and various Google 
programs, and eventually any intel¬ 
lectual property theft there will be 
stemmed. 

As for less legitimate sources. 


most people don’t like download¬ 
ing some sketchy program so they 
can watch low-quality rips of their 
favorite movies, and they definitely 
don't like talking to some fiber- 
nerd from the basement of damna¬ 
tion to get their art fix either. 

If this trend continues, 
the option oflieing a 
professional artist will 
finally die. Art will be 
relegated to a hobby 
done by enthusiasts 
and as a labour of love, 
rather than a feasible 
career choice. 

Credit cards are the Internet's cur¬ 
rency of choice, but customers are 
still cautious of using them because 
of the fear of a hacker stealing it. 
And if you’re a business, using credit 


cards are a huge hassle because you 
have to constantly spend money to 
keep your security is up to date. Pay 
Pa! seemed to be the answer for a 
while, but thanks to their notori¬ 
ously customer service, consumers 
and businesses alike have grown 
weary of it. 

Some entrepreneurial artists have 
managed to find innovative ways 
of using the Internet to advertise 
their other activities. The web 
comic Penny Arcade, for example, 
has created an entire expo, PAX, 
as well as a line of merchandise, 
to support themselves. But sadly, 
efforts like this are few and far 
between. 

If this trend continues, the option 
of being a professional artist will 
finally die. Art will be relegated to a 
hobby done by enthusiasts and as a 
labour of love, rather then a feasible 
career choice. The Arts chant, about 
wanting fries with your degree— 
heard around campus as a self-de¬ 
feating joke—could turn out to be 
painfully true. 




Centrino 

Duo 


Core~2 Duo 


inside 


Fact: 


Arts & Entertainment 
Editor Paul Blinov can get 
a perfect score playing 
"Ziggy Stardust" on 
expert in Guitar Hero. 


Counter- 

Fact: 

If you come up to the 
Gateway office on any 
given Thursday at 5pm, 
take an assignment and 
complete it, you can call 
his bluff and make him 
prove it in front of an 
audience of the other 
editors and his friends. 
That is a promise. 




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