Can a person truly enjoy an artists work (regardless of medium, i.e. paint, music, writing, dance) without enjoying or liking the artist themselves? Should an artists work be judged independently from the artist? Or does what the artists says, supports, or otherwise does in their personal life have to negatively (or positively) impact how people view their work regardless of how much they liked their work beforehand?
This is a perplexing question I’ve found myself grappling with a lot more recently, and the answer for me is a resounding “I’m not sure”.
I think you absolutely CAN enjoy a work or body of work by an artist whose personal life and politics are problematic, but it sure makes it difficult sometimes.
Earthworm Jim is a cool videogame, but Doug Tennapel despises gay and trans people. H.P. Lovecraft writes some classic horror and was an abhorrent racist. The list goes on. Usually, if personal politics don’t taint the work it’s easier to enjoy it divorced from the creator - but other times you don’t have that choice. In the case of someone like Dave Sim, whose work eventually became lengthy diatribes against women the work itself is problematic BECAUSE of the creator’s input.
But even when the work doesn’t reflect the creator’s personal views, partaking of it raises the question of whether it’s acceptable to support such awful people through consumption of their work. But on the flipside you don’t want to deny yourself something interesting just because the person who made it was an asshole.
So yeah, I don’t actually know. I take it as it comes.