So if you're a serious artiste you're left grappling with the cognitive dissonance that if you get paid you're a sell-out but if you don't get paid you starve (unless you're one of the lucky dilettantes we don't talk about but we all know and us serious artistes all know they aren't serious anyway, just lucky). And if you're a serious artiste you know that validation is nothing but validation is everything but validation is illogical but if it matters it MUST be logical and somehow.
Since you mentioned David Foster Wallace, this reminded me of something related that he said:
It’s like, if you’re used to doing heavy-duty literary stuff that doesn’t sell well, being human animals with egos, we find a way to accommodate that fact by the following equation: If it sells really well and gets a lot of attention, it must be shit. Then, of course, the ultimate irony is: if your thing gets a lot of attention and sells really well, then the very mechanism you’ve used to shore yourself up when your stuff didn’t sell well is now part of the Darkness Nexus when it does, so you’re screwed. You can’t win.