You can try to give up on being an artist, but it certainly won’t give up on being in you. If anything, the fire has reminded me.
The most recent Village Voice article on the #oaklandfires is a great synopsis of why anyone would’ve performed in the Ghost Ship, speaking to marginalization, community, civil rights, inclusiveness. I performed there myself, and have had nightmares thinking about those stairs. I’ve wanted to speak about it, and will in another post, when I can gather my thoughts.
On a broader scale, due to human injurtice,We need artists. We need musicians. We need poets and writers. Today, in the world, we have the first Afghani female rapper speaking out about gross mistreatment of women. She was beaten in the street by a gang of men and left for dead, had to flee to Berlin. Paradise Sorouri. Look her up.
She is still getting death threats. Men threaten to beat and rape her on her website daily.
We have Pussy Riot in Russia doing art in public to speak out against Putin, against dictatorship, for LGBT rights and women’s rights. They have been beaten, arrested thrown in jail.
Today, we have a royal fucker coming into power in America who has none of the public’s best interests at mind as far as we can see, only lining his own pockets, creating a world empire. His elected are anti-women’s rights. They are anti-climate change. Anti-you-name-it. So is he. “Grab them by the pussy,” he said. Hate crimes in his name are on the rise. Muslim women all over the United States, a sanctuary in the past, are being singled out in this person’s name. Based on his very words. He denies the correlation. If he should have freedom of speech, why not us?
We have world issues that people in the arts bring to light day after day… we do what we can in a world where we aren’t often (only rarely) granted compensation for our art (nor are entitled to it, I hate to say, as being an artist should be an available outlet for anyone and everyone, we must also avoid our own narcissism and preciousness. Money tied to art can stultify it just as it can any other trade). Art is highly subjective, and should be. But we should be allowed to use it. Without it, life is stark. I know, it’s exhausting to keep an open mind, but without it you are merely boxed into a fantasy world that will be called out at some point in your life. You can’t look away forever. Artists help us understand, process, reflect and cope.