Monday, March 09, 2009

reinforcing the dream

Every once in a while, I like to read through posts on my blog to get a sense of how my writing may be coming across to my legion of readers. When I first started writing this blog, I was a bit tentative. I knew I had a lot to say, but I was trying to squeeze it down into a form I was not totally comfortable with. I had an idea that I needed to be professional and positive, and stay on general topics. I'm not sure why I thought this was a good idea, other than I didn't want to scare off potential customers with my occasionally acerbic personality . That all came to an end with a post about a terrible show I had, and I suddenly realized I like to write about the real part of making a living as an artist, the downfalls and failures, more than trying to present a particular image. It was a hell of a lot more interesting and entertaining.

When I read through a group of posts, what I often come away with is how repetitive I am. I'm okay with that, because I have a message, and when you have a message, you have to repeat it over and over again to get heard. Just in case you missed it, here it is: Being an artist and making a living off art is a totally legitimate way to make one's way through the world. We live in a culture that has a different message: being an artist is not a legitimate way to make a living, and if you try, you will likely fail because artists are flaky, crazy people, often not in touch with reality. And you have no talent anyway. Or, you can be an artist, but learn a back-up trade, like lawyering or typing, in case the art thing doesn't work out.

I'm here to reinforce the dream, and to challenge the culture in its beliefs about what an artist is and what the artist can be. I have said before that our western society worships and admires the artist, and at the same time demeans and puts the artist down. Artists are the dreamers and the prophets, questioning the conventions and mores of culture. And we make stuff, pulling these ideas down and making it into something physical that other people can experience. This ability to make, to create, truly is a superpower. And many are blessed with it. Denying your artist time to create is an act of cruelty, and I think many artists are regularly denying themselves. I'm here to remind you: the time to be an artist is now. And that goes for me too.