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Re: some thoughts on Ted's queeries about art and self esteem and, oh yeah, looping

from a Philip Glass interview:

"In this society, in relationship to artists, is one of the most brutal 
societies that you can imagine....We have a fairly narrow spectrum of 
acceptance, let's say, of 'safe' groups of people in this country.  By 
becoming an artist, you definitely fall out of that class.

I don't know an artist--and I've talked to many people, a visual 
theatre artist or a music or a performance artist--whose parents when 
they were young, asked them to become an artist.  I don't know anyone 
who didn't on their own say, 'I am going to become a painter,' 'I am 
going to be a sculptor.'  And so that later on when they say, 'Well, 
I'm not doing well; I'm having a hard time,' people say: 'Who asked you 
to do it?'  Or this is the reply: 'If you want to spend your time 
painting pictures, that's fine, but don't expect *us* to help you.'  
This is the American life; this is the way we do it here.

That's why these question come up.  But we come back to why is it to 
begin with, in the face of this, that one will do it anyway?  And in 
fact to the point that, in my opinion--I'm afraid to appear 
chauvinistic but--American artists are among the strongest in the 
world.  For reasons that are not clear--maybe the heterogeneous nature 
of the society, the extreme independence of the artist through 
survival. the lack of real tradition in the arts in this country--the 
many factors maybe make it so that we develop a very strong artistic 
personality in this country.  To begin as an artist means to take on a 
life of struggle, so that at 41 you may finally be making a living as 
an artist.  My European artist friends would say, 'My gosh, it took you 
so long,' but in this country you'd say, 'You mean you did it so 
quickly?'  It's because it can easily never happen.

...Music is one of the few places, perhaps one of the only places, 
where we find the meeting of our intellectual life and our emotional 
life.  The possibility of forming a perfect match can take place there. 
  We can use our brains in one way and at the same time respond.  I 
don't know of any other thing that does that, where the raw stuff of 
art becomes emotions in certain ways, which are captured through this 
strange and elaborate process of artistic technique.  It's a very 
curious phenomenon.  I think when one is struck by that, it can be at 
an early age, or sometimes later in life, but it can become the focus 
of all the energy you have.  In this way, being an artist is more like 
a vocation; it's more like a calling in that you can't be asked to do 
it,  and you also can't be dissuaded from doing it.  It sounds 
abstract, but it's also a daily process.  If you work every day at it, 
it becomes very immediate, and there is a constant engagement with 
this.  I think that's the primary motivation.

Now, there are many others.  I know for some people there are very much 
simpler things, things like money and power and fame and all those 
things too, the usual gamut of human gratification.  Certainly there 
are few artists who don't have some elements of all those things.  But 
I would say that the primary one for me is that this is one area where 
this most intangible thing can be made almost as solid as a rock."


On Nov 18, 2004, at 10:16 PM, 
Loopers-Delight-d-request@loopers-delight.com wrote:

> "In other words, I was a misfit. I have often wondered over the years
> just how much creative/industrious activity in the West was often
> just the result of certain individuals drive/hunger to "compensate" for
> a perceived personal "lack" in some other area -- misfits desperately
> trying to "fit in" and find/found/forge a place for themselves in a
> cruelly mocking and ever-threatening world.. "