Amidst all the wounds this world is suffering from these days…including the Australian Bushfires, Covid 19, and now racist terror calling for action…,and yes, we need to act, yes, Black Lives Matter (!), I have reflected on my own art-making a lot more. I used to be so careless….Or was I?
Stuck in between
There is a constant struggle (for me) as an artist with regard to how much of the ego to allow in. On the one hand, the job of an artist is to express human emotions and experiences by means of music and poetry…To do so I try using a language of the heart, rather than the brain. To deliver beautiful art though, I do need to feel what I am creating…which means writing from a place of ego (in a way), allowing myself to go through the drama, the joy, the love, the hurt myself….When sharing my music though, I wish for the artwork to speak for itself! I want my songs to „work“ without me being involved! I want the songs to be strong enough, to convey a message regardless of the artist behind.
And yet, somehow I must admit, that a lot of songs I love listening to myself, are closely linked to the artists that sang them! Some of my favorite artists brought their messages across because they as a person delivered the context for them! In a way pieces of the artists make the art!
Not sure if that makes sense to everyone.
Anyhow, I struggle to balance out the amounts of ego and narcisissm I am required to put in!
So far, most of my songs stem from my own experiences or experiences of close friends that I am close enough to, to really relate! Bit self-centered, right? Being an empath I can luckily also relate to people´s joy and pain even if I do not know them! Unequality and violence always hurt me! Love always touches me!
However, I wonder…
How much does art „need“ to contain a relevant message? How altruistic do we need to be? Some say it is the duty of an artist to reflect the times we live in and then process the observations by means of art. In a way I like this idea, because art can touch peoples´ hearts more than mere rhyme and reason. So it is a great means to bring about change, if needed! And yet: Who am I to preach?
To be honest, this point of view mixed with my fear of being too self-absorbed by writing about my emotions, has caused a block in me recently! I was unsure whether I am an artist at all! Whether I should stop sharing music altogether and just keep to myself? Whether I had to find a way to become more political, more cultural! More „relevant“!
But I found an answer (within and) for myself. In my opinion, art does not have to have a purpose per se! Art is the only „discipline“ that is rooted in complete freedom! And that also means freedom of purpose. Art does not need to make sense necessarily. If it resonates with you somehow, that is already enough! And even if it does not, that is fine! Art is expression, communication, magic….Art may cover all aspects of human experience…BUT! It does not have to focus on the „relevant, most prominent issues“ all the time! Art is not a political weapon in my opinion. It can be, but it need not be!
And: Self-expression and being vulnerable does not equal feeding the ego! Sometimes the opposite is true!
So maybe if you know an artist that is struggling with finding meaning themselves, share this post. Allow for them to just release whatever their soul demands. Because:
Art is free!
Cheers and happy weekend!