Artists—Want To Improve Your Sales? Here's How!

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Commit suicide. That's according to the Washington Post which briefly reports in its Unconventional Wisdom feature an intriguing new study, "Artists' Suicides as a Public Good" by Samuel Cameron, Bijou Yang and David Lester in Archives of Suicide Research, Vol. 9 No. 4.

The Post summarizes the study's results: "A British and U.S. research team argues that artist and celebrity suicides may benefit society by increasing the emotional benefits fans derive from the dead star as well as boost 'sales of the artist's products and associated merchandise.'"

So that explains the popularity of artists like Vincent van Gogh and Kurt Cobain?

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  1. A British and U.S. research team argues that artist and celebrity suicides may benefit society

    Say no more. Where do I donate to get this ball rolling?

  2. Archives of Suicide Research???

    Boy, there’s a fun, light read for your next planeflight. I wonder if they do a swimsuit issue?

  3. So that explains the popularity of artists like Vincent van Gogh and Kurt Cobain?

    Dunno (or care) jack about Cobain, but have always been kinda fascinated by van Gogh; read his “Letters to Theo” back in my sensitive college days and thought he should’ve been a writer rather than a painter since he really was a pretty poor artist (understandably sold no, or only one, painting(s) despite the fact his brother was an art dealer).
    How do I benefit from his suicide? I happen to like crappy art (“thriftshop paintings”) and doubt that his pix would’ve been reprinted if he hadn’t gone crazy, etc.

  4. Would never dream of getting into a discussion of musical merit on this thread, but:

    Colbain, to a certain demographic, in the pre-Brittany era, was God, long before he died.

    /Knew teenage girls who loved him so much, they thought Courtney Love was pretty.
    //Didn’t know afore-mentioned girls in the biblical sense.
    ///Swear.
    ////Underage…

  5. I don’t remember Blind Melon records selling much better after Shannon Hoon offed himself.

    I for one would rather have seen more Blind Melon records than anything from Unified Theory.

  6. If anyone is interested, I have a Rolling Stone magazine with an interview with Kurt Cobain. The title was “Success Doesn’t Suck” and the interview was a couple of months before his demise. I am more than willing to profit from someone else’s pain.

  7. That article is bullshit. He was totally miserable, I swear.

  8. Did Del Shannon albums start selling better after 1990?

  9. Yeah, to confirm that rumor-Van Gogh never sold even one painting while he was alive. His brother believed in him, and so supported him his entire miserable life. I feel really bad for him actually. He had so much talent, and never got to feel any satsifaction for the impact he’s had on the art world.

  10. Suicide (or other sort of premature death) can be a good career move, but like anything else, it has to be handled correctly.

  11. So that explains the popularity of artists like Vincent van Gogh and Kurt Cobain?

    Yes! There is a special respect reserved for bands that had one or more member commit suicide as well as artists. Bonus points if it was an accidental suicide (like an overdose). E.g. Joy Division (Ian Curtis), Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith. Yes.

    I do think it’s shitty that their study says that suicides “benefit society”. That’s pretty crumby.

  12. boost sales of … associated merchandise

    Yeah, it’s $20-$33 to purchase that article online. The study proves itself.

  13. No statistics on this, but I think dying in a plane crash is a much better career move — think Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Croce, etc. Cobain may get more respect in print, but Croce gets way more airplay.

  14. smacky,
    “Yes”, the band? Please explain. thx

  15. anomdebus,

    No, not “Yes”, the band. I didn’t realize that could be ambiguous until you asked. I was simply repeating “yes” to emphasize my agreement with the idea that suicide (for some morbid reason) makes artists and musicians more popular with their followers.

  16. [van Gogh’s] brother believed in him, and so supported him his entire miserable life. I feel really bad for him actually.

    I did too. I feel even worse for the thousands or millions of similar people who don’t have brothers supporting them.

    He had so much talent, and never got to feel any satsifaction for the impact he’s had on the art world.

    Personally I don’t think his talent was painting, or any sort of visual art (his sketches were gawd-awful fucking retarded – worse than Hitler’s). He shoulda been a writer.

    Impact? What impact? Superman comics had far more impact, and show far more talent, than van Gogh’s works. “Arts and Entertainment” is redundant.

  17. The best thing about these suicides is that they often result in bands I like better. Like after Cobain offed himself, we got Foo Fighters–a vast improvement IMHO. Ian Curtis graciously hung himself and made way for New Order. Win-win!

  18. Superman comics had far more impact, and show far more talent, than van Gogh’s works.

    You’re not confusing Vincent with Theo, the recently assassinated filmmaker, are you?

  19. I was living near Seattle when Cobain offed himself. A local radio station made the announcement, and my immediate thought was “My collection of Nirvana records is worth a fortune!”

  20. The painter of “Starry Night” wasn’t talented? Are you just being a contrarian?

  21. “Bonus points if it was an accidental suicide (like an overdose). E.g. Joy Division (Ian Curtis), Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith. Yes.”

    Ian hung himself, hardly accidental. The real question is how many of them were 27 when the deed was done? Lots.

  22. Ian hung himself, hardly accidental.

    spur,

    Sorry for being unclear. My example list of suicides wasn’t meant to be read as all accidental suicides – I was just listing a bunch of people who committed suicide, intended or accidental.

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