From conflict, pain, struggle, anger & utter discontent come forth much of the world’s best visual art, literature, poetry, music and all of those undefined combinations which fall in between. Complacence has never produced anything but more of the same, and in this vicious cycle, there is nothing ever added to our world, only a fattening of what arguably already takes away from it.
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We watch the rising of an artist whose work often has to be cut perfectly in those early days in order to catch our attention---it has to reek of perfection, or of a perfect chaos & newly original means of mess, disaster, self-destruction, and ultimately creation. Those who create, often do so when they are physically alone, and to be physically alone, they are often not engaged in any kind of relationships or those accompaniments of social acceptance. Rather, they may in fact choose to isolate themselves in order to dedicate their full attention to the work that they produce. In doing so, they are labeled workaholics when characterized positively or anti-social curmudgeons who are seen to be most likely insane at best when written off otherwise.
On the flip side of the coin, we have those people who may have once been creative & explosively original, finding themselves to be on everyone’s radar. As long as they keep on amazing us, we continue to care about them, looking for new insights that they stimulate within us, concerning the world in which all of us live. However, the fact remains that many of these individuals do not stay interesting forever. While much of what can happen to them within their own personal lives may give themselves happiness, we who have been inspired no longer find ourselves to be as such. The contentment found by them, produced within the relationships that they have nurtured, further neglecting the work which we paid attention to them for, now infringes upon their very relevance as unique creative people, throwing them aside into the vat of mundane domestication.
It is a question of time, no doubt, which ultimately allows us to be creative, to comment on the world, and to produce new and interesting ideas which others may piggy-back on, appropriate, and take of running with, like the Olympic torch. Those with more of it, which they do not find themselves obligated to use in doing non-creative things which allow them to facilitate the everyday necessities of food, shelter, etc. which we all need, are the most fortunate. It goes without saying that most often the most prolific people are those that choose to use most of their time creating, and in doing so, they have less time to use for other things.
So how long can this candle burn? Many people who have day jobs, write, paint, compose music, play in their band, etc. at night---these moonlighters hold on to the dream that one day when they are in some way able to financially support themselves with what it is that they do at night, they will be able to use that time which they had once sacrificed during the day, to do even more of it. Some steal time from their prospective workplace, in order to produce work while on the clock. This blurring or complete eradication of “the dividing line between work and leisure,” can be seen best in De Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life. That be said, one chooses what to do with their “leisure,” regardless of whether you manipulate the workplace as say the character of “Jim” in America’s version of Gervais’ genius series, The Office, or whether you be a good dog and do what you are told, like say the character of Peter Gibbons in the film, Office Space, prior to his newfound revelation brought on by hypnosis and the subsequent death of a hypnotist.
The invigorated individual, free of “work,” even if they still have to perform obligated tasks in any given space for any given amount of time, involves themselves in a new creative process---one in which many aspects of life which other self-adorned “artists” may in fact fight grotesque. That is, with the involvement of real time production of words and photographs, graphic art, as well as the good ol’ 2 dimensional work that does still exist, one can argue that everyone has become an artist. That is, if everyone wasn’t a cultural producer to begin with, they now all have the means to be.
What still delineates those that we refer to as “artists,” and those that merely produce inventive work, be it under the guise of “art,” or some other thing that some of us may regard as being “art-like” or a kind of entertainment, is of course, the monetary assessment of this work. Those who live by the status-quo puked out by the perpetually sick mainstream framers of thought, see only those whose faces can be recognized or better yet, whose level of income can be confirmed with not too much effort via Google or whatever as real artists. You could be standing in the place where you paint or the room where you write, with physical work in progress staring them right back in the face, and they will say, “Oh, you are an artist? Where have I seen (read) your stuff?”
So the real question is, why do those recognized faces disappear? Why do many of us shy away from an artist who has attained recognition in the economic measurement of art which the status-quo demands? What happens to them that makes them become less interesting, less productive & less relevant? One may be quick to say that once an artist spends time with a significant other, they are not creating, or that once they have children, etc., the art is dead as a doornail. But the fact remains, the art only dies, if the artist lets it.
There are plenty of people who live their lives full of many different things, and they are all able to balance them appropriately, still somehow making money producing art. One would argue that it may be easier to do this, when one no longer has to moonlight, but even that isn’t really the case, as we have found, in considering De Certeau, that there no longer is a definitive line between time spent “making art,” and time spent “working.”
If domestication kills artists dead, one should not blame the significant other, as so many often do, or the children, or the other interests which inevitably come if someone takes any interest in the world whatsoever---as there is so very much to be lived, and such a short time to try and live it. The death of an artist, that is, the end of her work, be it the actual physical end, or its mere ceasing of relevance, comes not with other interests, or even other blocks of time which may be allotted them, but instead, because the artist is less inspired to create.
If someone is not inspired to create, regardless of what field it is that they operate on (be it time spent telling jokes to co-workers round the water cooler, a blog on the internet, a facebook/tweet entry, a new published book, series of paintings, or an album of music, etc.), any attempt to do so will reveal its true colors in no time flat. Nothing is more pathetic than a once creative person who is doing something just for the money, or even worse, just to perpetuate some kind of status which they clearly no longer hold. Lucky are those that love what they do, who love the life that they are living and who reveal it to the rest of us in whatever way they see fit---this kind of explosive production of humanity is never dull, never mundane.