“Lest We Forget” by Richard F. Yates
[This bit below is from the introduction to the first Primitive Collection. I’ve always been enchanted by stories of people going to see the Sex Pistols in concert and saying things like, “That was awful! I could do better than that!” and then they go off to start their own band. In the visual and literary arts, there is this mistaken notion that for something to be “GOOD” it has to be slick and commercial and appeal to a broad audience. I, of course, think that’s bullshit. My works appeal to an audience of ME and my family and a few of my friends---and sometimes, I suspect, people in the “REAL WORLD” think, “That’s a terrible drawing! I could do better than that!” and then they go off to draw their own picture or paint their own painting or write their own story. And that’s great! That’s why we’re here… ---RFY]
“The Primitive Entertainment Workshop came into being in 2012 when a handful of students, staff, and a couple of faculty members at Washington State University Vancouver created a mini-zine entitled Lightning Strikes. The project was attributed to a fictitious organization, based on a mutated “Children’s Television Workshop” (the company through which Jim Henson built his Muppets for Sesame Street), which I invented on the spot as a throw away joke while writing the brief introduction to the zine. Unfortunately, I liked the idea of a workshop that created raw, unskilled, even intentionally poor quality artwork and literature that could stand as a statement against the overly produced, focus-grouped to death, creation-by-committee junk that seems to be pervasive with modern works, like movies, pop music, and television. Using this stupid mini-zine as a hopping-off point, I decided to actually create a Primitive Entertainment Workshop, and---because they are cheap, quick, and easy, I decided to use the blog format to make the P.E.W. a reality. In December of 2012, the first posts went up” (p. i, The Primitive Entertainment Workshop – Volume One, 2013).
[Interestingly, I’ve since found a copy of the Lightning Strikes mini-zine, and it doesn’t even HAVE an introduction…so I’m not sure why I thought the P.E.W. name came from there. Maybe I posted the zine online somewhere (in one of my older, forgotten blogs) and wrote an introduction to the zine when it went up there. (???) Who knows? Human brains tend to change memories to match the narrative that the rememberer WANTS to remember (just ask Elizabeth Loftus!), so we may never actually know where or when the name “Primitive Entertainment Workshop” first appeared, but that’s fine. A little mystery never hurts. The POINT of all this is that art shouldn’t be constrained by commercial or societal expectations. I love to scribble and I love to make monsters and draw ghosts and snakes and little bunnies, so that’s what I do. I like to tell stories that don’t HAVE to make sense and write poems that sound like they were put together by a random word generator (like some kind of POETRYBOT or something…) I enjoy doing it, so I’ll keep doing it. If people stop coming by this site and reading or liking or commenting on what I’ve done, that would be a bit of a bummer, but I’d still keep going… It’s what I do… (Camus would be proud! Singing loud and long into the void!!!) Now, I’m going to go have a donut! Cheers!!!]
---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)
#art #writing #arttheory #philosophy #humor #anticommercialism