Dave Olson commanded a pre-lunch time slot with his rousing, bullet-point-free presentation entitled “F*ck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice 2008. “Art makes the future” Dave states. What we know about history is based on art, because someone chose to record it. Technology changes our focus on what art is. Oil paints were a technology revolution that allowed post-impressionist painting. The Internet has lowered the bar immensly for the distribution of art, but the most popular content seems to be the least meaningful, most simpleminded things like “some guy dancing around the world“.
Dave goes through a brief history of things he has created over the years: from a photocopied punk rock fanzine, through paintings, poetry, photography, writings, and now podcasting. He contrasts craft vs. art: you can take pride and enjoyment in your craft, your day job, but the meaningful personal expression comes through in art. Embracing translucency, instead of transparency, is his policy. No one cares to hear minor details of your life, and there should be things you don’t want to share, but you do want to put your whole self in the work. “Declare your story” and talk about what you create; “put the log back in blog”.
A slide with Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin pops up, and Dave goes into redefining success. Validation can be found from things other than stats, such as reader/listener mail and feedback. Success is for each person to define for themselves. Hold yourself to high standards and maintain your reputation. Hunter S. Thompson is referenced, in that he could write anything because he was very good at it. Rewards will come, possibly when you’re dead, but good art will have longevity. The presentation concluded with a standing ovation.
Link to audio availible on the Northern Voice wiki.