A conversation with a friend today made me revisit the concept of the artistic temperament, and the place of the artist in the world.
There are a lot of familiar tropes out there – artist as tortured genius, creativity as a reaction to trauma, the need for expression as a sign of insecurity in self. And while some of these are true some of the time, they are applicable to any non-artist as they are to an artist.
What makes an artist an artist, fundamentally, is a desire, willingness and ability to communicate a point of view. This can involve the creation of a new work or it can be a presentation of an existing idea from a different perspective (I would put the interpretation of existing music, which is what I and other classical musicians do, under the latter category).
The artistic need to communicate a point of view could come from the desire to provoke, or provide a different opinion, or establish commonality and therefore confirm a shared humanity. The motive is rarely to simply create something pretty. And equally as rare is expression as a purely confessional device.
I suppose I’m writing these things – as much as for myself as for other performers, visual artists and writers out in there world – as a reminder that we have a responsibility to create those spaces for people that allows them to experience their environment in a new way, to be transported into another world, to embrace a different depth of emotion, to feel seen and understood in the world, to sense the connection to each other and to us.
And we need all of those things right now. My fellow artists, our work is cut out for us. How will you respond?
My task today: to reconnect with a childhood friend that I’ve been meaning to talk to for weeks. Zoom happy hour! (done!)