Illustration by Petra Larsen

Illustration by Petra Larsen


Etiquette for Artful Living

Thirsty and Sober
Dear Babs, I’m an artist. I want to succeed. I don’t drink. I’m in AA. Every art opening I go to has booze. What do I do? —Nick, Los Angeles
Dear Nick, Drink water.

Pretty Baby
Dear Babs, It seems like you have to be beautiful to be a successful young artist. I know this is a generalization, but almost every successful artist under 30 I meet (boys and girls) could have a part-time job as a model. Am I alone in this observation? I’m not hideous, but I’m not what you might call a “10.” Any advice about how I can deal with this realization/insecurity? —Tiffany, Los Angeles
Dear Tiffany, Unfortunately, being good-looking seems to go a long way in opening doors. That’s the way it works as superficiality runs rampant in our society today. However, one thinks in the arts, especially the fine arts, it wouldn’t be so necessary. But as the art world increasingly emulates the entertainment industry with rich collectors and rich artists—money is power—artists are becoming like movie stars, as they are featured in the limelight (“Picasso Baby” anyone?). Being attractive can give someone talented (or not even talented) an edge in the game, but ultimately it does come down to your work. Inner beauty will always trump outer beauty. Just keep making the best art you can, and be true to yourself. Perhaps do a series on the shallowness of today’s art world, in a world of selfies.

No Pets Allowed
Dear Babs, Is it okay to bring your dog to an art opening? What about your cat? What about your parrot? Where do we draw the line? —Tucker, Los Angeles
Dear Tucker, Here’s where I DO draw the line. I’m a huge dog lover (HUGE, DO YOU HEAR ME?), but I leave my dog at home during openings. Why the fuck do you have to bring your beast to a crowded art opening? The animals always look nervous or bored. I think they are solely for the irresponsible dog owners to attract as much attention as possible. This weekend someone brought a pit bull—which still had testicles. Now that takes balls! Guess what, your pet doesn’t give a shit about art. Please leave your animal at home.

Babs cares.
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