Posted this comment on Rhizome in response to Michael Bell-Smith's essay CREATIVE 2 PROFESSIONAL: 7 Things to Think About:
It's tempting to call this essay "7 Things in Search of a Stance"; what is your point exactly? Amateurism is bad? Prosumers are victims, and you, as a professional new media artist, are above all that?
It's fine if you want to inform us of some recent products that exploit creative hopefuls but what is the point of tracing this back to '70s rock and roll examples?
The Scott Halpin story fascinates because, for a brief glorious time, he had the skills to "step up" and substitute for Keith Moon. Townsend asked if anyone in the audience was good, not whether someone in the audience had a dream of playing with famous rockers.
The punk "three chord" example reacted to the professional excesses of progressive rock, with its symphonic scores and complicated time signatures. The punkers were saying anyone can do it, but as a means of promoting energy and angst in the face of irrelevant refinement. You still had to be "good" in your soulful rage.
None of this has any bearing on "no skills are necessary" phenomena such as paint-by-numbers or Beamz.
The Andrew Norman Wilson-style Olympian art view of pathetic little people "employed in the service of selling yet another product" exasperates.
An essay about how you (as artist) did something interesting with an amateur-aimed process might be more viable than creating this chain of non-causation.
"Annoyed Greek Chorus" is preferable to peanut gallery but lately my hobby is providing a stream of oppositional commentary to the Andrew Norman Wilsons and James Bridles who lodge in our institutions like cockleburs.