October 24, 2016

Art Without The Artist: Awful Election Edition!

Almost two years ago, I did an article pondering the idea of separating your opinions of a product and your opinions of the artist that made the product, and today I want to revisit it with new soul-crushing election flavor.

Let me preface this all with the point of view of a single American - me.  It's currently just a couple weeks away, and good god almighty, I can't wait for this whole thing to be over.  It's almost to the verge of surrender, not caring who claims victory, as long as I can wake up some morning in the near future without immediately being beaten down by all this.  So, for my readers in other countries, especially outside North America:  if you think news about our election is annoying to you, imagine being trapped within it these last few years and unable to escape this cacophony of madness and hostility.  I feel this place of annoyance has transformed over time to a place of hostility, as things are coming closer to an end and voices are growing more desperate to be heard.  It's as if you're a child again, living again with you father and mother, who once just had differences, but now are incessantly fighting and screaming, threatening and breaking things.  America, my country, has been the children of this house for a while, and although I can say it's pretty much a first world problem, as we're not occupied by a foreign military or under attack or anything, it's taken it's toll on our minds and our character without a doubt.

That's the backdrop I want to place first.  I want to set that table first, because I now want to expand on my reaction to this volatile political scene right now to how I feel it effects communities of business and art.  I think the biggest shame of this whole election is how it allowed everyone to overlook some of the most basic things.  We allowed it to slot us into such rigid yes or no categories, when, deep down, we all know neither were perfectly correct.  We allowed it to turn our heads from general discussion and we sat happily, secluded, in our own echo chamber of our choosing.  We were disconnected, alone, and told our world was going to fall apart if we, at an individual level, didn't do the right thing by whoever's standards.  We allowed it to create enemies out of friends and frenzied minds to think people who felt just slightly different to be less than human.  Peace and understanding was overwritten with panic and intolerance.  We somehow forgot we are all different people, from different parts of the world, living different lives, experiencing different events, with different dreams and goals, protecting different needs and possible vulnerabilities.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, we allowed this season to slot us blindly into yes or no categories, when we were aware of the million other possibilities, with the only result of these two being our unhappiness.

The third layer of this is the understanding of how vital it is to keep peace and understanding, especially when you have a platform to do so.  There are some exceptions.  If the person/character/production/group have a reputation of something otherwise, maybe it's an easier pill to swallow.  I'm not so sure of it's me or a character, but I think I might be an exception, even to a lesser extent.  I think people who visit my updates know I'm a ranting lunatic and not always that brilliant.  I have my opinions of a matter, concede they are likely wrong because I'm a lunatic, but suggest you do what I apparently have no skill in and properly inform yourself.  I'm not completely sure, but I feel if I came on here and started screaming about this and that, I'm not too sure too many readers would be too shocked or offended.  At first glance, some readers may see a giant screaming rant of madness and assume it's another Super7 pop-up store and not think too much more about it, but regardless, I don't think this is the right place nor I think I'm right person.

Given enough time, and our dysfunctional household will be back in order.  The screaming will end and everyone will calm down.  The things that are so incredibly dire right now won't be, given enough time, and while I'm not suggesting not caring about things, I am proposing things are more important than the matters of right now.  I have friends and acquaintances everywhere, from different states and time zones here in the States, to people far off in different countries, drinking beer and eating food I'll probably never get a chance to sample.  I have to remind myself to sit back and look at it at a larger scale.  I remind myself of how thankful I am to be in this position, and so lucky to have met so many different people, all interesting and complex in ways I never had first considered.  This stupid keshi thing, for example, binds us all together in an artistic vision of simple elegance and creative challenge.  It's here I am reminded that this is far more important to me, far more complex and unique, to ever sit perfectly into the rigid categories something like this election season demands.  It suggests I should shove it in, try to make it fit, compromise the shape, character, and everything that makes it so vast and interesting for it's sake.  I simply say no.  Maybe what it's telling me is important, to a certain level, but it's not the most important - not even close.

So it's saddening and frustrating to see artists blow up on social media about all this election garbage.  This was really the main inspiration of this update.  Without calling names, it looked like someone had a bad Monday night and really sunk into one of those election moods this season thrives on. I feel bad.  I look back through their activity like a timeline and you can almost tell the downward spiral.  You can see how the arguing and fighting nonstop, everyday, has it's affect and with each newer entry, it's getting more and more rigid until you're regrettably compromising more important things.

I may have made mention of this in the prior article, but an independent artist cannot afford to negatively affect their own brand, especially where the nature of this art is so tightly wound to their identity.  Large faceless corporations can get away with it to a larger extent, through sheer will and monopoly, but niche artists have to tread much carefully.  That's not so much a threat, as is no one wants to do business where they don't feel welcome.  If I'm selling girl scout cookies, but shouting and being confrontational, I'm not going to be selling a lot, and if I really care about spreading my love for these cookies, if that's really why I'm getting out of bed every morning, why am I yelling and causing a mess?  Why would I be turning away customers?  What matters could be more important than cookies?  If this is my passion, if expressing my love for this is what I want to do forever, what am I doing making sure the opposite.  It then becomes the crux of it all.  What's more important:  my passion or anything else in the world?  To escape this metaphor for a moment, to see an artist answer with the latter, even involuntarily through anger and frustration, is a great disappointment, because I feel, even two years later, it's very hard to remove the artist from his work.  If you fail your passion, your passion fails you.  Your art only stands with you there behind it.  Leave it for something else and it falls.

There are too few of us.  Too few artists and producers.  Too few customers and fans.  No one wins out when creativity and artistic passion doesn't reign supreme.  A hit to us hits too hard, and one we can't afford taking too many times.

Be good to each other.  That's the overall message.  Don't assume you're the only one out there having a bad time, and just find something that makes you happy.  Or look up into the night sky sometime and just stare.  Look at bursting suns light-years away, from your bubbled rock flying through expanding oblivion.  Look at our beautiful moon and it's interesting craters from times it likely bashed the surface of our planet a few times.  Look at everything in it's cosmic splendor, and then maybe a keshi mini-figure, and ask yourself if you stared at the TV enough.

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