The Arts and Profundity / by Jaz Malone

I would welcome an instauration of light hearts in the art world. There are quite a few, but not enough to keep non-artists as interested as they could be in music and arts programs. I've tried to speak to those outside of artists' circles, and run into the same problem many times; they think the arts are stuffy. Even in a world of modern art, graffiti and wheat pastes, comic book films, and all kinds of fun creativity, they believe the art world is full of pretension, of people out of touch with everyone else.

It's the artists' faults, really. All over the place, I see artists trying to become something other than what they are. For many of us, as soon as we are recognized in even the smallest capacity for our work, we feel the need to shift our public personas into quote-spewing, forcefully inspirational beings, somehow deeply intrenched in the issues of the world, yet separate enough to objectively comment on them. As if the combination of our personality and the work we've created, the combination that got us recognized to begin with, is suddenly not good enough. We have to be bigger than. Above. Detached. Because we are Artists, with a capital "A." Artists feel the world's heartbeat in their palms. Artists channel every inspirational leader, as noted by the many quotes with which we respond to simple questions. Artists sit in the meadow and think about life, and then, like The Buddah after enlightenment, guide others along the same path. Unlike The Buddah, we don't do much real guiding. We borrow from people we deem more developed Artists, and leave our own development for later. It's the worst procrastination. Oftentimes, we never go back to develop ourselves.

Here's a tip, for myself as much (and maybe more) as the handful of you that actually read this thing:
If your response to honest discussion is a quote from some dead author, some inspirational leader, or some old religious text, stop talking. Revise your answer. Remember Persuasive Writing class in high school? You may use those quotes to back up your argument, but god help you if you use it as the thesis. You have a mind. You have thoughts, and opinions, and the ability to develop those into coherence; if you didn't, you wouldn't be an artist--with a little "a," for keeping your feet on the ground. If the only way you can add to a discussion is to parrot someone else's thoughts, then you have failed as an artist, and worse, as the owner of a productive brain.

Can you blame everyone else for thinking music and art is useless? All the facts in the world about how arts provide enrichment to youth can't stop others from not wanting their children to end up as stuffy, detached, pompous adults. Have some fun. Don't over-think your streams of consciousness. Remember that creativity doesn't stagnate unless you let it. If you can't fall in love with the arts, how do you expect anyone else to?