Artists, Aberrations, Acceptance, Popcorn

18 04 2011

A lot of times, artists are poor.  I’m not an artist, but I was wondering the other day why I wasn’t.  Then I realized it was because I had no talent.  But then I realized, and just stay with me here, that I was an artist, and it’s not just because I’m poor.  Though, sadly, it turns out that my second-grade Art teacher was right:  I am a poor artist.

I am an artist because I am drawn to mediums that should help me express what toddles about in my heart and in my head.  I’m a poor artist because I don’t stick with a form long enough to sharpen my blade to the point that I can do so compellingly, clearly, vibrantly.  That’s okay because of my relative youth.  Perhaps I am still trying to get a clear perception of that which toddles about in my heart and in my head, and no attempts at putting these probable aberrations into the world is going to be successful until I do.  Maybe I’m just finding it difficult to be honest with myself about what I am.  Maybe a large percentage of us have this problem.

I know so few parents who can happily encourage and assist their children in exploring the things they wish to explore.  If you think about it from a purist viewpoint, isn’t that exactly what we should be doing?  We arrive in the world, and we bring other people into the world, and the real aim of anyone should be to find the path that is best for them, their growth, their being.  But that’s not possible in our world, where there is a basic set of accepted values, whether they are distorted or not, and everyone and everything in a new person’s world can’t help but relate to the child through a veil of adopted values, essentially dropping the veil over their eyes as well.  Whether those values are best for that person’s development and exploration isn’t important, really.  It’s about being given something rather than being given the chance to figure it out.

I used to be, and sometimes still am, so frustrated that I can’t seem to pull the trigger on any of the career masks our world has prepared for me.  But I’m starting to come to a point where I see the whole play as such madness that I can hardly believe anyone else can do it.  This is one hell of a playground we’re given, and what can we think to do with it but learn a set list of teachings from our institutions and choose, at an “appropriate” age, one of the previously devised things to “be.”  Whether I choose to take the postman’s costume, or the attorney’s, or the butcher’s, in the end I’m just covering myself up.

I was thinking about this because I know a very bright, very kind young lady who has just decided to go to law school, and I blinked ten years down the road and I saw her being a lawyer, sending her kids to school, kissing her husband good-night, and there is nothing wrong with any of that.  The richness of any manner of life can be astounding, and I believe wholly that your experience can always be amazing if you just pay attention.  It’s just that when you put on a costume, when you choose a pre-formed career, so much of your energy is automatically devoted to pulling that one lever, and so much of your personal development is pushed to the attic for later.  I just feel that maybe a lot of that lack of personal development, the world over, could be be responsible for our deficiencies as a species, deficiencies that a lot of these pre-formed careers are needlessly institutionalized to eradicate.  That’s just my sense, though.

Artists, on the other hand, and I know that there are plenty of them who look to create art that is commercially viable, which is tainted in its own right, but true artists are people who have a much harder time than even I do thinking that they could possibly take what is inside of them and squeeze it into one of these molds.  So they go their own way, and they let their minds and hearts take them to do things they are compelled to get done, most of them probably without a prayer of helping them sustain their living.  Where there is no avenue for others to understand what they are doing, others don’t take the time to value their work.  You blaze your own path in this society at your own peril for loneliness and destitution, and it is an amazing thing to see people walk that line.

It’s a commonly held belief that the best artists are often tortured souls, but is it possible that these people are actually just amazing human beings who are tortured because their compulsion to go their own way separates them from the rest of their people?  When people are so oriented to value a certain set of established skills and ideas, do they not involuntarily but automatically ostracize those beyond their immediate understandings?  Is the artist a tortured soul, or is the artist a human being who is tortured by their lack of acceptance in the world in which they live?

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