TATI: Tony, I believe you can be considered a professional artist, yes?
TONY: I guess I can. I might not make much money from what I do but I certainly take it seriously.
TATI: How much money have you made with your art? Do you remember the biggest amount you ever received?
TONY: I do believe it was two Scribbean melamine dollars back in 1996, which was quite a payday for a young, starving artist working out of a cardboard hovel in an inner city red light district.
TATI: Scribbean melamine dollars? Red light district?
TONY: Oh, that’s industry talk for failure. Don’t worry about it…
TATI: No, I’m curious now. I need to hear the entire story.
TONY: There’s not much to tell. I was a starving artist in a cardboard hovel.
TATI: But I see you’re still alive and even have a pretty notable belly.
TONY: Yes, I’ve managed to live off of this belly for many a year now.
TATI: Well… anyway, I wanted to ask your professional opinion. (If we can be agreed that you’re a professional artist.)
TATI: Is it art?
TONY: Oh, I’ve heard of this…
TATI: You’ve heard of this. Awesome. It means you can hear, even though you’re deaf. But it looks like you haven’t heard my question.
TONY: Is it art? Yes, I heard your question, smarty-pants! As for the banana taped to a wall… well, do you think it’s art?
TATI: Tony, don’t turn this around. I asked you first!
TONY: Well, I guess it is art. Maybe. I don’t know. I mean, someone did end up paying $120,000 for it. Real dollars by the way, not melamine ones.
TATI: Why don’t you do this then?
TONY: Stick fruit to walls?
TATI: Yep. Why spend days and weeks toiling over drawings? Why sweat over your silly comics month after agonising month? Tape bananas to walls and enjoy platinum-plated baguettes and brie for years to come!
TONY: Well, I suppose it should have been obvious the day I tripped in a food hall and my McJolly’s Super Happy Meal ended up all over that rather bland ‘Exciting New Store Coming Soon’ sign. I really should have put two and two together and started throwing all kinds of shit against vertical surfaces. I mean, instant riches right there, am I right?
TATI: I hear sarcasm in your voice when you say, “All kinds of shit.” So, you admit it isn’t art, but rather shit? Or is it just jealousy speaking that someone else made money, even from shit?
TONY: Oh, definitely jealousy. My problem is that I’m not enough of a lateral thinker to come up with a genius idea like that!
TATI: Tony, you have an amazing ability to blab endlessly and say nothing useful. Can you just answer the question, please? Is this fucking art or fucking shit?
TONY: Alright then! It’s a fucking art that someone taped fruit to a wall and duped some dude out a shitload of cash! Satisfied?
TATI: The art of manipulation? The art of fraud? The art of proving the world is sick and can’t distinguish between what is real and what is fake?
TONY: Pretty much. Kinda like when guys choose fake boobies over real boobies. Same principle.
TATI: So, it can’t be considered a real piece of art? In a good, classic ‘art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performance artifacts (artworks) that express the author’s imagination, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’ kind of way?
TONY: That was quite a mouthful.
TATI: If you don’t have a clear opinion, my hesitating friend, then let’s ask our dear readers. I hope they can find a clearer position on this than you.
TONY: Sure! Why the hell not?