This is a tricky question because whenever you ask someone why someone else is “important,” they naturally wonder, “Well, is HE any more important than me?”
But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We can leave the snarky attitude at the door.
I ask the question because it seems to me that artists are always the last consideration in the art world, yet they carry the entire art world on their backs. Without them, nothing else in the art world can exist. You can’t have art galleries or art fairs or art museums or art schools or art exhibitions, nor anything that has anything remotely to do with art.
And yet, whenever I visit some of these venues, rarely do I hear much about the artists. I usually hear people objectifying and over-intellectualizing the work rather than humanizing it … OR … they talk about how they have “two of these” or “one of those” at their “summer house.”
As usual, it can all be so pretentious. And yet, it’s not really the pretense that I question. People are human. We all have human frailties and failings. Believe me, I get it.
It’s really about the complete lack of understanding or perhaps willingness to understand that what they’re witnessing is the result of divine providence. Every single thing that has been created by an artist is actually a miracle. No less a miracle than the Creator who created the artists who themselves create. It comes from the very same spirit. Creation is creative spirit and energy that cannot be destroyed.
I talk with some artists who don’t even seem to “get” this concept themselves. No matter. I mean that literally and figuratively. It’s not a matter that involves matter. It’s about spirit. Spirit creates matter and what does matter do? It spits in the face of spirit by questioning its own existence and origin. Matter can be quite arrogant, you know.
Sorry. Am I getting off track? Where was I?
Oh yeah. Why are artists important? Well, I think that one of the big things that make artists so important is the fact that they’re often unsung. Show me anything or anyone who is “unsung” and I’ll show you someone who is too busy doing what they do to be rattled by the lack of ceremony on their behalf. When creative spirit enters the room, does IT really need accolades?
Does air need to be applauded for filling our lungs? Does water need a medal for hydrating our bodies? Does light need to be worshipped for guiding our path?
Artists are born to create art. People are born to simply create. Have you noticed that a lot of people who spent their lives married to their careers either leave or retire and then … out of the blue … they become artists? Look at George W. Bush. Who knew that he - of all people - was a closet … artist?
It’s all so mysterious, isn’t it? You can’t quite put your finger on it the way an artist strokes paintbrush to canvas. You’ve really got to go deep and figure out what this urge to create really means. At the end of the day, I think it means that we all really just want to express ourselves and leave something constructive behind. We want the world to know that we were HERE. So called, “Cavemen” did that. They left behind plenty of creative evidence.
Maybe that’s it. Can it be ultimately about life extension? We know that we’re going to die so we want to project ourselves into the future long after we’re gone. Somebody has to keep some sort of record of this mess we’ve made of things. Why not artists?
And so, again, why are artists important? I don’t know. If you asked me why doctors are important, I could clearly say that they treat disease and they save lives. If you asked me why firefighters are important, I could say that they put out fires and they save lives.
Do artists save lives? Hmm.
It’s a baffling question and yet so many people – in the art world at least – depend heavily on artists. The world itself is one gigantic creation created by the greatest artist of them all.
Maybe THAT’S why artists are important. Because we know that without that all-powerful, all-consuming, all-loving creative spirit, we simply would not be.
The world itself is art created by The Artist. And we ourselves live on to create and pass it on and on and on and on and on. Art enriches us greatly and it’s all done by the artists.
With that, masterpieces never cease.