Creative Cauldron - Trent Reznor

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Artist inspiration and artist influences. No biographies, dates or scholarly research here - this is a personal response to the work of musician Trent Reznor by Australian artist Fiona Morgan.

Trent Reznor - masterful at marketing an album
Image from the NIN: "Ghosts I-IV" Wallpapers stream on Flickr

In these Creative Cauldron posts I talk about my influences. For the most part, these are visual artists. However, there are others. I mean, you wouldn't expect me to be one dimensional now would you? But would you expect me to be taking marketing notes from a musician? Maybe not, so let me show you why.

I think we are all more familiar with the idea of musicians making a living by making music, selling it and touring. Now that CD's are dead in the water and digital downloads of both the paid and illegal variety are rife, how do musicians make their money? And if musicians can and still do generate huge fan bases (collectors), go on sellout tours (exhibitions) and sell their work (originals) despite digital copies everywhere, why not visual artists? Admittedly, not every musician is able to do this, which is why I take notes from watching those that can.

I think it's easier for musicians to gain fans than visual artists, because music is so portable, social and consumable. But I think it's harder for the muso's to make a living from their art than a visual artist. It's easy to rip off a music file and rather tricky with a four foot square painting.  But so much of what these bands are doing can be translated to visual artists. This path is not for those wanting the traditional route to fame and fortune.

There are visual artists who thrive in this new online environment too. Natasha Wescoat, Hazel Dooney, and Val's Art Diary are the first three that influenced me when I realised that what every savvy young band is doing, visual artists can do too.

Before them I was watching the musicians. Especially this one who has always rallied against the big brother lockdown attitudes (snobbery) of record companies (art galleries) which are so last century.

You may have heard of Trent Reznor. He was partly responsible for the score for The Social Network which is doing the film circuit at the moment. Perhaps you know of Nine Inch Nails? If you don't follow electronic music and don't enjoy music that wallows in misery, probably not. I find his music unlistenable nowdays, though I was once a huge fan. I may have changed a bit in the last 20 years! Despite no longer enjoying the music, I still keep an eye on what this musician gets up to. His ideas on the changed landscape of music publishing, distribution, marketing and making living as a (recording) artist since the internet met digital music files are cutting edge, forward thinking, innovative, exploratory, uses social media and technology, includes the fans, you kinda getting the idea here?

The best concrete example of this forward thinking attitude that I know of can be seen in this Digg Dialogg interview. The part on marketing begins at the 10.45 mark.

The same content is also available in a written form here:,767183

After all, musicians are masters at getting rabid, screaming loyal fans. If visual artists could get a tenth of that fairy dust.....

More Trent Reznor links

Official site:

About the Creative Cauldron series of posts

Creative Cauldron - artistic influences & inspiration for Australian artist Fiona MorganThe Creative Cauldron series of posts explores and showcases the visual styles, techniques, attitudes, ideas, artists and paintings that have had the most impact on me. 

The rest of the series is accessible via the Creative Cauldron page. Have a meander if you please, and remember to check out my artworks on Flickr, and have an insider peek at life as an artist on Facebook.

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