James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

66: The Art of the Decent Human

I recently purchased a piece of art from this fantastic artist. This was not the first piece of art I’ve bought because not only do I like making art but I like: (a) supporting the art of people I believe in, (b) helping normalize the notion that art is a money-making endeavor, and (c) adding new objects to our home and other spaces.

What I have noticed during numerous times of purchasing art is the flipping of personalities once a pocketbook is opened. It has been a normal occasion that when I walk into a cultural space, half-lidded eyes glance up and down in my general direction and a certain attitude permeates the air when asking general questions about the work in front of me. Those differences immediately change into overt excitability once the mention of purchasing enters the conversation. Scowls turn into smiles and kindness becomes the norm as I now become of interest in your space.

This is not typical of the art ecosystem, but also plenty of other spaces. Think about clothing shops, outdoor craft festivals, or any place that offers a balance of visiting, spending money, and interpersonal interactions.

As someone who has worked plenty of customer service based positions in the past, including the present day customer service relationship of clients and freelance work for my design practice, it is obvious that you have to treat those that are willing to spend money very well ~ those customers are the lifeblood of how you eat and pay rent. What should not be forgotten is that any visitor into your space can be a future customer, and everyone remembers experiences where they were not felt welcome.

Sure this may be a very privileged argument of off-beat interactions during moments of financial transaction, but it is also a basic lesson in being a decent human to those around you. For certain spaces, once there is a visible onus of recognizing that a type of customer equals a certain style of service, that creates an uncomfortable environment that results in more harm than good.

I’m not stating that we should treat everyone we encounter with a false sense of friendly, as there are plenty assholes in the world that deserve side-eye, but there is enough culture and products available in the world that I have a choice to support the one that was the most friendly and inviting.

What did I find interesting this week?

Hot damn I found a lot of great stuff this week, so it was hard to drill it down to five, so here we go.

As someone who was not hired at a company because I wasn’t a great “culture fit," this piece on this phenomenon of hiring based on team fit rang home.

Chicago based group The Social Experiment came out with a new album, Surf, and it’s free to download.

It’s common for a bunch of people to shit on things that are new, so this opinion on why vertical video matters was extremely interesting.

My email sign off is “Cheers and good vibes," but after reading this, I’m thinking of removing it all together.

Lastly, here’s a thought that Clickhole is making some of the most interesting conceptual video art to date.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and see you next week.

-James

James T. Green