let’s face it, in the whole scheme of things, a lot of artists make a lot of useless crap. me included. we take up resources that could, in a more conscientious society, could be used for those less-fortunate, or could be saved in order to take better care of our planet.
sometimes i think that maybe the world would do ok without artists. and i could be forgiven for disappearing down a nihilist path and refusing to come out of a cave until the world was perfect.
but the other day i had two complimentary conversations with friends that made me realise that, apart from other, more obvious reasons, artists are important. and it’s not necessarily for what we produce, but the process we go through to get to that outcome. by what we see, hear and then pass onto others. in another forum, i might use the word discourse. or even dialectic. luckily, this isn’t one of those forums.
i go to a fair amount of exhibitions. i’m always thinking, looking, reading – keepin’ an eye on what’s out there – it could be said that i ‘consume’ art. i certainly mainline it most of the time and i am hardly ever ‘not working’. when i go into my day job, or catch up with other friends, i regularly talk about the shows i’ve seen, articles i’ve read, cool blogs, podcasts i’ve heard, stuff i’m working on, ideas i’m thinking about, or other random, quirky bits and pieces related to arts and culture.
i mostly do this because i’m a chatty, caring-sharing, annoying type. but i didn’t realise that, in sharing my process in this way, my friends (and family) feel connected to what’s going on in the arts, feel that they can discuss aspects of art/culture and that they feel more “cultured” through knowing me. that’s a nice compliment istn’ it? and it’s quite a nice gift to give someone too don’t you think? one where they feel that they can get access to areas of society that are attractive, but possibly seem off-limits. it makes art truly political.
granted, what i make may not have people feeling “connected” to art or culture, but it seems the open process i go through in order to make those things is just as valuable to those around me.
i like that idea.