The prostitution analogy as applied to artists arises from time to time in academic environments like crocuses in the spring. It follows a cycle, and there's nothing new, or particularly evil about it's recurring presence. The Renaissance artist, Raphael even went so far as to EMBRACE it, comparing himself to a harlot, worshipping at the feet of wealth and power all to ready and willing to kiss hands and presumably less desirable parts of the anatomy just to feed his adiction to art. Aside from the fact that some artists may have given prostitution a bad name, l find little to be concerned about. Who am I to disagree with Raphael.

Where I do have concerns is in the area of "child" prostitution. That is, art students more interested in a career than in an education. Though my experience has been more at a high school level than college, I think the "self-prostitution" mantra involves a fear on the part of academic types that students will "specialize" too early and thus stifle both creativity and media exploration. I see it to a lesser degree, even at the high school level when a student suddenly sells his or her first work. It is an intoxicating experience and one that is all too adicting as well. The natural reaction is to want to do more of the same just as it is after ones first sexual experience (hence the prostitution analogy I suppose).

I daily experience students who want only to do cars, or horses, or landscapes, or skulls, science fiction, or whatever, as a result either of very narrow adolescent interests or a very narrow range of past success. A college art student has no more business "specializing" in any type of art any more than a pre-med student has in specializing in brain surgery for instance. Moreover, such early financial success also has a tendency to build within the student a "fear of failure" that greatly hampers future art exploration. All to often, such exploration may involve some degree of failure which stands out all the more starkly in that student's mind if he or she has had some degree of financial success early on. I think if we look at the lives of past artists, quite often (though not always of course) their most daring, exploratory, ground-breaking work is done within the first ten years of their careers. Given that, it's little wonder academics are concerned about students chasing the almighty dollar before they HAVE to.