the art of living…art and life
recently I was talking to someone about music, art and life. As often is the case the topic wove its way through the actual discipline of say, making a song or an artistic statement, and making a living. You know the argument; art vs commerce…artistic integrity…selling out and all that. Along with the topic of making a living was the importance of what a life worth living might actually look like. This discussion has been going on for a long time (like since the dawn of discussions), and I do not intend to solve anything here today, but I do want to share some observations from that conversation, and maybe bring some personal thoughts out that I have about the creative life;
1) good art is less what it is, and more what it does
2) good art is true, bad art is not
3) selling out is constituted by seeking first money, and then the artistic statement with money being the sole objective
4) any time anyone promotes or preaches evil through art, they have effectively had their crossroads moment and chosen the devil (even if it is not formalized, or the artist pleads ignorance)
5) any time any musician plays with an artist that preaches / sings approvingly about evil, they are promoting that message and in agreement with (at one with) that message (drunkenness, homosexuality, sex outside marriage, worshipping money, pride, hate etc etc) even if they would swear offstage that is not what they believe.
6) it is important to ask oneself what their quest is; God or mammon? The following decisions wrt their career will follow profoundly in line
7) the chief concern of any artist should be to complete their work in so far as completion has any real sense…deepening their education and becoming more skilled in the chosen medium should be of first concern…being published / recognized and accepted by the public should come later (if at all)
8) if a person does not experience an “enlivening” or “passionate affirmation” of some kind, and at some point when working with the medium (music, paint, video, writing etc) no amount of fame or money will bring it at a later point
9) the amount a person makes their focus on others opinions, and the desire to please others first is the inverse ratio to how little their artistic statement will resonate personally (the only just critic is Christ, who admires more than any man the gifts he has bestowed)
10) many important artists and writers spent years in obscurity, not earning a living at their craft at all – or at best intermittently
11) wealth and popularity do not reflect quality of art, in fact, often (not always) popularity is the ability to distill an idea to its lowest common denominator for better or worse
So there are some thoughts about art and commerce. Well, what about the art of living? The curious point here is that a high quality life is not about what we do, but who we are. Along with the above statements about art, commerce and the muses we can tie in the well designed life…with strong artistic integrity. A life that is true. A life free of fear and failure. A life with peace. A life that possesses true joy. As a startling example, the famous musician with multiple divorces and scandals, exhibiting pride and arrogance throughout, is an artistic failure at living. The amount of money he or she has amassed is only a witness against them. To him who much is given, much is expected, and the judgement will be all the more harsh if the gifts are squandered on self. One who has a developed artistic sense in life knows the Creator (Christ), honors Him, obeys Him and revels in His creation, truly the best art life has to offer. So this was the sum of our conversation…maybe you find it interesting, maybe you have some other thoughts? At any rate, I hope today your life develops in His artistic excellence.