Monday, March 24, 2008
this being an artist business
"No medium can remove the need for thoughtfulness, artistry and eloquence in the creation of something great." Barry Boyce, Shambhala Sun
"Art is a reflection of who we think we are and what a culture is. It's a reflection of cultures and invidividuals, and how they resonate. Art is the way a culture embeds its sacred truths so that they can be passed on, either the next day or centuries from that time. It's the way we have preserved our cultural memory of who and what we are." Alex Grey, Shambhala Sun
My yard sale going yielded a stack of old Shambhala Suns that I stayed up late reading. My chief project right now is choosing more songs to record in the next two months as I forge on in my full-length CD project. Whether I'll reached such pinnacles as Boyce and Grey describe is, of course, subject to debate, and these questions both guide and inspire me: my goal being to show what culture has embedded in me in hopes of breaking free of it.
Answering life's ineffable questions and becoming a happier, better person for the world is keeps me making stabs at writing songs. That said, artists are hardly exempt from answering to the bottom line. How do you keep pace with the practical reality while following one's muse? Enter the promise of the internet for independents...which is equal parts false promise and boon depending on who you're talking to. So after my higher-road Shambhala Sun inspiration, I read my hero Billy Bragg's Op-
Ed in yesterday's NY Times, as well as its accompanying blogosphere commentary (mostly negative), with a jaundiced eye...Most artists I know, even those who have "made it," (as working artists, not cookie cutter American Idol types) are continually juggling finances amid their attempting to make work that stands the test of time. A tall order, when that making takes time. And we (still) live in an age where people who have committed to the arts may be valued for their sensibility more than they're monetarily compensated for their actual products. Respect (and Bragg commands respect for his integrity as a person and an artist), alas, does not equal money, the latter an altogether different area of expertise....