This idea of art is a tricky one, but simple. If something is created from an idea and put to paper, metal, music, or film then its art. For artist of all formats, we understand that basic principle; but the word art hasn’t carried that meaning in a while. I can myself admit to considering art on the lower end of creativity and creation “cute” but basic and not worthy of the term art. From jump I will say that idea is wrong and trust me I’m angry with myself for even thinking such stupid thoughts; but I am not alone in this idea of what is consider art.
The other day I was driving with my good friend listening to the radio. I tend not to listen to the radio mostly because of the repetition in the hourly rotation. As we were jammin (well mostly him) he mentioned he wanted to stop making serious music and make something more club friendly. I was taken back by the comment as I love his music and serious tone; but I also understood the sentiment as an artist trying to make it myself. For me, I have railed against the idea of turning my art into something “accessible” by popular standards. Even though his music is “serious” I find it accessible just as I do with my writing. Later in the day I felt bad because I expressed my disappointment he would water down his art to please what I considered to be the small-minded masses. I ultimately was wrong, because in that statement I was destroying art and the hard work popular arts put into their craft.
Art really is art. Some felt anger over the television industry recognizing reality directors, writers and the genre in general during award season. Again my elitist eyebrow rose years ago but now I truly see the art in these shows. It’s not the people or even the idea that many would consider art, but these show are crafted by editors, shot by cameramen, and directed to give each episode a distinct feel. These acts are recognized on other shows and for sure should be recognized on reality televisions, because lets face it, they are working with more raw, and untrained material then the last Oscar winners ( I loved Birdman to death). I can freely admit I enjoy independent movies, and at one time refused to watch, read, or listen to anything that was considered popular. Was it jealousy or was I thinking about the integrity of art?
They say art is subjective but really it’s the criticizing of art that is and the heart of the problem. We are still a society that has a best and a worst and with that a way to discredit the labor it takes to go into the creative mind. I do appreciate works of literature, music and paintings that can evoke something more than a basic emotion or reaction from me; but the mistake is how we treat those works that are still created, still good but nothing new and barely memorable. I mean everyone can’t act, write, paint, or sing. Everyone can’t produce conversation with a creative mind, and the bottom of the creative pool isn’t any less worthy of being called an artist as the top. The funny thing about art is popularity is seen as the enemy most times.
Art is one of the few worlds that shuns those with commercial success, but I have found most, if not all, wants it for themselves. It leads me back to my earlier question of whether it’s all for the sake of art or are we just jealous. Sadly I feel it is 90% jealousy and that has to change. When you are lucky enough to be considered a success, that should be celebrated by the community you represent. The idea that integrity and commercial success are mutual exclusive must end inside the hearts of each artist. We can all decided who we enjoy more but the moment it slides into what a “real artist” is, we have to check ourselves and see the real damage we are doing to our craft. Good, bad, weird or ugly, it’s art created by a fellow artist and that is what we are really celebrating.
I understand what is popular sometimes isn’t what would be considered the best works in each medium but it’s art and someone took the time to do it. Some people have the fortune to know the right people and be in the optimal circumstances to succeed. I know it bothers me but I have to stop myself from discounted the artist because I want to be in their spot. It really boils down to staying creative, pushing ourselves and appreciating the gift we have been given.
I’m writing this post as an apology to art and its many vessels. None of us are more special than the blessing we were given as artist. We are here to create. Let’s just create.