Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'm breaking my silence with a battle ax.

So, what the hell have I been up to and why am I bothering to post now?
School/work/school/work/hell/insomnia/more hell/school/dumbasses/school/work/crap.
I'm now done with school, as far as i'm aware, I've actually graduated, and I managed to secure a good job in my field before even leaving school - a steady one that pays well and has benefits at that.

I spent a lovely summer day hanging in in grant park with a friend having a picnic and trying to motivate her to sketch. She was getting somewhere after the end of our afternoon, and I thought she was doing well considering what kind of negative crap she was getting from one of our teachers who basically doesn't know how to properly teach someone how to draw aside from telling them what they are doing wrong.

So i'm in a good place, and I get on the train to head home. I'm thinking about all the projects I have to do, papermaking, sewing a costume for a friend, my book project, etc, when this lady with her two kids gets on. She's kinda loud, so I can hear her and her kids(more her really) the whole trip home. This by itself did not piss me off. What she was saying, did.

I don't know at what point in the conversation I caught this, but she was talking to her kids about how "if you want to be an artist or a musician, most of them end up on the street holding out a penny cup." "if you want to be an artist or a musician, get ready to be on the street, or be a waitress." and things like "I want you to go to school and do well so you can MAKE IT."

She was the type of woman who was constantly giving her kids directives. stand here. do this. sit down. (and otherwise enjoying hearing herself talk and make her parenting principles known to anyone within five seats of her)

I do not intrude in the conversations of others, but her repeated comments about artist being on the streets and obvious ignorance make me stare at her , roll, my eyes and try very hard not to say anything.

I was SEETHING however.

I cannot say how fucking tired I am of hearing ignorant comments made to and about creative people as if they were some kind of well known fact. Being among other artists, I don't know a single one who is on the street jingling ANY metal object for change. MOST? MOST ARTISTS? Hello, could this be an irrational generalization about a stereotype? Most creative people struggle, certainly. We work jobs we don't like sometimes for not enough pay, but creative people (being what they are - creative and resourceful) always find a way to make ends meet and don't have to resort to street corners or waitressing. (actors are more likely to end up as waitstaff - and although they are technically "artists", i'm loathe to group them with those of us who don't have to pretend that we have a personality for a living. But this is another rant.)

So what about the weird street performers then? they are a bit of a different animal - and typically they have other gigs too. Half the people who play any kind of instrument in public have other gigs going anyway and a lot of times are doing it for their own enjoyment.

So where the hell does she get off thinking that artists and musicians are so low on the scale that we're a bunch of penniless street urchins? Hand me some mother fucking porridge why don't you!

It sickens me that our culture is so hell bent on this consumer driven materialistic bandwagon, and that anything that doesn't turn a profit for some suit can't be worth a shit. oh sure, we pretend that art has it's place. We need something to put in museums to attract those rich tourists. And wealthy corporations need something to decorate their offices with. And let's not forget the rich collectors and snobby elistists who have made art such a lofty thing that the common man can't possibly grasp it.

Art is so goddamn worthless that there's no sense in funding art classes and drama programs in public schools. It's just a frivolous pastime that is so easy, blind monkeys with three asses and no head could do it.

I know that I am swinging the pendulum to the opposite end of the spectrum with these comments, but that's how it fucking feels when you're a creative person who was given a GIFT and every time you try to use it, you get slapped upside the head. When I was in third grade, my best friend and I were talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said, an artist. She said "Artists don't make any money. I'm going to be a chemist. They make a lot of money."

This, in third grade. Third FUCKING grade. How sad is our world.

So, why do art at all? Why does it exist? Why do we even bother if it's so pointless and it doesn't make anyone any money.

Because it's necessary for human existence. When we look back historically, do we see what a marvelous profit the Summerians turned in the fall of 2000 BC? NO. The things that have lasted that tell us anything about ourselves as a race, that have any deep meaning are all in museums now. ART IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS SUCCEEDED IN OUT-LIVING US.

If we didn't have it, someone would just reinvent it because there is a need for it. Why do we like to look at art? or read books? or watch movies? Because it gives us something outside of the stupid grind of everyday life to enjoy. Because it gives us some sense of meaning, because some of us actually enjoy holding a fucking paint brush.

One of the things I already knew in a sense but was reaffirmed in my class about the psychology of creativity, was that the line between a functional artistic mind and a mentally instable one is fine and that brain processes are similar. The difference between an artist and a madman is this - the madman cannot deal well with this world and its traumas/dysfunctions. An artist also doesn't deal too well with the way this world functions - the difference is, they have the ability to take their own negative emotions/actions/what-have-you and turn them into a positive by sublimating them into another form. They choose to act in a positive way on negative influences.

Don't try and tell me that in this day and age it's not hard to get bogged down in the near swamp of shit that our culture tries to feed us. The failed political systems, the poverty, the outright inhuman actions towards one another, the ignorance, stupidity, and endless media hype that constantly throws messages at us to buy their fucking pill or piece of plastic because our lives will suck without it.

I've been having more issues with humanity in the last few months than ever. I've wanted to smash the tv, burn down the headquarters of every trashy publication that prints conjectured stories about Michael Jackson's guilt or Britney's latest moronic attempt at attention.

What good is trying to "make it" in this world by our cultures' standards? Work long hours as a cubicle rat with not enough personal time, to accumulate money that only exists in intangible numbers, to be able to buy that car that will make your life better, to buy that electronic gadget that will make you cooler, to buy that face lift that will make you prettier according to an ideal that is nothing that ANYONE even in hollywood can live up to without having a terrible personal life, getting an eating disorder and going on a drug binge. Go ahead. Consume. But all that shit. it'll make you feel better to have more junk filling up your home. All the cars, clothes and toys will make you feel like you've made something for yourself in this sad world.

Go ahead and watch your fucking infotainment because you want to vicariously live the good life through the STARS (TM), watch them because everything you've accumulated still doesn't make you happy and you don't know why. You have 2.5 five kids and a dog and a wife that you never see because the beer and the TV is easier to reach. Go ahead and have an affair, get a divorce because you never bothered to even put enough time into a real relationship because you were too busy consuming and turning a profit for your company to keep America the greatest country in the entire fucking galaxy. Don't sit there and wonder why your suburban sons and daughters shoot up their school, or start taking drugs because you don't have enough time to talk to them, or give them anything to look forward to in life with your sad fucking example. Go ahead, play your damn golf, have a midlife crisis and die of a heartattack as a sad sick person who wonders why they still aren't happy, why isn't there any meaning?

Go the fuck ahead.

Take all the meaning out of life, and what do you get?

You don't get meaning from an IPOD or a JAGUAR. Or a reality show.

One of the few things in this world that intrinsically has meaning is art, music, and literature. If these things are taken for granted, or devalued, then the result is an emptiness, a dysfunction. Lose creative outlets, and people lose a way to express themselves, to constructively vent their problems with society. You lose beauty, you lose meaning, you give up a portion of what it means to be human.

I don't like to get religious or spiritual in front of others, I keep my views to myself. But look at it this way. God - who I do believe exists - created the universe with an intelligent design. God created everything that inhabits the universe. Creation is the oldest act in our history - and we are the only species that creates ART as ART - things that are designed to be viewed and appreciated for their beauty and meaning. We have the ability to create things that only previous existed in our minds as thoughts. THIS is what is meant when you hear that bible verse about God creating man in his image. Every child is born an artist. There's hardly a one who hasn't joyfully picked up a crayon, or a stick to draw something with. It's just our society that feels the need to beat it out of us.

What I would like, is for people to get off their ignorant consumer asses, yank their 2.5 kids off the goddamn couch and go to a fucking art museum, go to a bloody concert, HELL! GO OUTSIDE AND DRAW ON THE SIDEWALK!
I want people to realize that creative people deserve respect, that creative people are the ones who design your fucking clothes, design your fucking IPOD, that wrote all the goddamn music coming out of it.

Respect, motherfucker. Hug an artist today you cockjuggling thunder cunt.

I'm done now.

I have noted that I only write bile in this blog, and trust me, it's been way too long since I wrote. it's like being constipated for several months.

But shit happens, and so eventually, i have to rail about it.
But I think you all would rather have me blog than get myself in trouble with a chainsaw in a mall, as fun as that might be.

See? art saves lives.


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