“Ultimate freedom would mean having just enough money not to have to think about money, and not to have to work all the time.”
—Artist Seth Price, F*ck Seth Price
*Language warning for this week's episode if you have kiddos around! Per the book title above :)*
I am so excited about this week's guest that I was at peak awkwardness during the interview, so please forgive a few choppy edits here and there! I normally don't edit "in line" for the Pivot pod to keep things as natural (and perfectly imperfect!) as possible, but in this case I cleaned up the recording for clarity and concision so that you could get the very best of Seth Price's brilliant mind and philosophy as a renowned multi-disciplinary visual artist.
Seth's novel, F*ck Seth Price, is one of my most gifted and recommended for fellow creatives. His commentary on the relationship between art, freedom and commerce is sharp, truthful and deeply thought-provoking. As my dad wrote in his Amazon review, "This is the finest, funniest, most incisive book dealing with art and culture that I have read in the past forty years . . . a sort of 'Book of Common Prayer' for all artists entering New York City. Don’t get off the bus, plane, train without it."
With that, I turn the tables over to our interview for you to get a unique peek into Seth Price's approach to experimenting, persona-dropping, art-making, freedom pursuing, and building on "bad" ideas!
Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/seth-price
More About Seth Price
Seth Price is an American multi-disciplinary artist who works in a wide range of media. Price’s current exhibition Social Synthetic is now on view at the Brandhorst Museum in Munich, Germany after traveling from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He is the author of several notable books including Dispersion (2002), Poems (2003), How to Disappear in America (2008), and his latest and the topic of today’s show - an “auto-fiction” novel called F*ck Seth Price (2015).
Topics We Cover
Why he chose to take a risk and title his book “F*ck Seth Price”
Exploring things that make him uncomfortable, that have the charge of bad ideas
The thing you think is the bad idea is the live part of it, what makes it interesting
Giving his students the assignment to make a bad video - how freeing it was to remove the idea of taste or quality
Separating the idea of “pleasing” art from beautiful
Why writing his book as a novel enabled him to be more free -
Finding a style that makes expression even possible
What happens when art becomes your career? How does that jive with autonomy, expression, internal quest
Four main motivations: freedom, craft, money, scene
Dropping what works to experiment with new directions - the “readiness of will to jettison an entire artistic career precisely when it was going well.”
The machine of maintaining a persona; flirting with renunciation - the attempt to remove his entire presence from the internet
Balancing “hermit mode” with external inputs
Freedom to improvise; the jazz of art, business
Radical play, breaking rules when you need to
The “what the hell is this effect” of viewing some contemporary art or music
On originality and not worrying about what’s already been done
Juggling career and business side of art, which can sometimes be antithetical to creativity
Make a big mess and trust that if you’re into it, at some point others will be too
Podcast: Artist Seth Price on Finding Freedom in Bad Ideas, Balancing Commerce and Creation in Business
Book: 'Fuck Seth Price' (PDF)
Wait But Why (Tim Urban) in Tribe of Mentors: "“I started out basically imagining I was writing for a stadium full of replicas of myself - which made things easy because I already knew exactly what topics interested them, what writing style they liked, what their sense of humor was, etc.”
Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.
Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.