From Our Cold, Dead Hands!: Artists and their Apple Products

Just how does Apple get the average artist spouting praises that sound like they were hand-packaged by the Apple marketing team itself? They've tapped into the inner ego of the artist.
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The Samsung commercial shows trendy young people eagerly and willingly standing in line outside of what looks like a slick Apple store. The camera turns to one of the guys in line as he says with snooty nonchalance, "I can't get a Samsung. I'm creative." It was supposed to make him look ridiculous, but the creators of the commercial underestimated the countless artists who were probably nodding firmly in agreement.

These days self-managed artists must be the boss of their own art, but they have to have the tools to do so. Education is only one piece, experience is another, creativity a must. Some dispute the idea that Apple can make people creative. But can't it? A non-creative person could appear more creative with the help of software like Pages and Keynote. Innately creative people can become even more so by getting that creativity out of there heads and into existence in reality. Houston-based composer George Heathco concurs, "Apple's products work intuitively. They found a way to channel my creativity from ideas directly to something tangible." Heathco goes on to reveal that "Logic, MacBook Pro, iPad and iTouch are integral to my business."

If nothing else, artists are finding that their finished products look and sound more professional than anything they could have cut and pasted from scratch. Artists can't afford to look amateur in the process of finding their audience and their outlets. Wherever they need to be, they are saying Apple helps get them there in much style. The heck with professional PR people, recording engineers, label makers, graphic artists and video editors! Apple has leveled the playing field. Once upon a time a start-up artist could never have afforded the services he can now produce at his own fingertips. The artist can plop down a small fortune on their Mac and then save a ton of money by handling their promotional needs "in house." Why outsource to people who are going to charge you a pretty penny to probably use the same Mac products you're using anyway?

Arizona-based chef Alan Ehrlich, when asked why he's loyal to Apple, remarks, "AppleCare and innovation. They make things I want without me even knowing I want it." Painter/sculptor Steve Clevenger of Illinois says, "Design and stability, baby. You feel like you're holding and using something that was absolutely worth the extra scratch. And how many times can you say that about anything?" Mark Powell, a conductor and educator muses, "Apple equals form serving function. It's the ultimate elegant solution." When asked why he uses Apple products, website designer and co-owner of Newtek Media, Ryan Smith, says it powerfully and simply: "Because they work."

But just how does Apple get the average artist spouting praises that sound like they were hand-packaged by the Apple marketing team itself? They've tapped into the inner ego of the artist, meaning they know how the artist wants to be seen. Then they convince us that when we use their products it signifies that we are who we envision ourselves to be. I'm using possessive pronouns now because I am an artist and can admit that none of us ever want to be seen as run of the mill. Apple says it's all about being different, innovative and cutting-edge. We can buy into that because we've survived our entire artistic lives in excruciatingly competitive environments. We have to be those things. People wait in lines for the product. We envision ourselves having lines around the corner for our exhibits or our concerts. When Apple tells us that it's undoubtedly the best and the most sought after, we buy into that because maybe it means that if we own those products, we're somehow the best and most sought after, too. Well, even if that's not necessarily the case, we can pretend it to be so. And we can do it more convincingly while clutching the product that represents everything we want to be in our own artistry.

Maybe it's one of the most obvious reasons we as a society adore Apple that is most telling, maybe even painfully so. Apple looks good. But let's take it one step farther, away from the artful and into the world of unapologetic vanity. Apple doesn't just look good. It's slim, sleek and stylish, like a supermodel. And in this body-obsessed culture we live in, those are the ideals. In the world of technological gadgetry, thin is also in. Bulky products are like digital muffin tops, weighing us down, making us less attractive.

My husband recently got a new, improved battery for his non-iPhone making it significantly chunkier. Without skipping a beat, I teased him mercilessly like a 6th grade mean girl: "Hey, is that your new desktop?", "Sweetie, 1982 called. They want their Motorola DynaTac back!", "The good news is you only have to lift weights with your left hand now, your cell phone will take care of the right!", "Hey, would you like a DeLorean to go with that?!". I can't lie, I thought of that last one just now, but I'll be sure to use it when I see him soon. My point is a mean one; Apple makes the people who buy it feel superior in some small way to those who haven't jumped on the bandwagon just yet.

Most impressively, like Snooki, Apple doesn't bother with the people who just don't get it. The Jersey Shore breakout only goes after her fellow poof-mates just as Apple goes after the people looking to appear cutting edge and planning to get work done in the fast lane. The smarter-than-you techies, the artsier-than-you artists and the savvier-than-you business people are Apple's bread and butter. Simply put, Apple is the cool kid's table and all the artists want to sit there.

Tell us about your love (or hatred) for Apple. Either way, I'm sure it will make for "fruitful" conversation. Get it? Oh well, I didn't say Apple made you funnier.

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