People are Starved for Meaning
Like the Fishfly, which are born to be consumed by fish, artists are born to be consumed by humanity. I’m talking about being consumed as in nurturing the consumer. Artists provide meaning to actual people, not some idea of people out there somewhere. I see artists as meaning making machines. Humans consume meaning for their very sustenance. Like a teacher provides knowledge or a farmer provides nutrition, artists are in the world to provide meaning, as in emotional, thought provoking sustenance. Artist deceive themselves and discredit their profession when they believe their work is merely a distraction from the mundane, an entertainment. If we fail to invite others deeper into what it means to be human I believe we have failed in our most fundamental purpose. Creative freedom means being most fully ourselves through our work.
Being an artist requires great sacrifices. Hence the play on words in the title of this blog.The price of this dedication is sometime too great to bear. The sacrifice of immersing oneself so deeply, not only into our craft, but delving into our most personal human experiences in an endless search of the truth, can be acutely painful. Only the very brave dare take the road less traveled. Then, once the artist finally musters the courage to bear his/her soul, he gets shot down for promoting his/her work; they are often perceived as egotistical. Marketing for the artist is almost as painful a process as doing the art itself.
But if an artist can tap into her soul effectively and share it without seeming to brag, then he/she might come to be regarded with more reverence and consumed more vigorously. The reward for all the hard work and soul searching may take the form of a monetary reward. Or, perhaps more significantly, the artist might actually change lives. Through his work, he/she may even change the world, even if only a little. Just the very act of bringing an original idea into the world is a marvel in itself. It may be a lofty goal, but perhaps we really are here to challenge the accepted paradigms of those who consume us. If we don’t get under the skin and ruffle feathers, we are just a thistle blowing in the breeze.
The Purpose of Art is to Be Consumed
Those artists who do not move, touch or inspire tend to fail in their purpose, which again, is to be consumed. The greater the artist’s reach, the deeper his ability to move his followers, the more successful he/she is at being an artist. To deny, or run from the human response to one’s work is to deny its very purpose for being.
Those who would consume my work are considered in business terms as my market. Artist don’t starve because they are somehow pure. They starve because they are not connecting to their market. We must find our unique following of consumers and ask them to consume our work.It’s really that simple. Whether this consumer is an art buyer, a museum or an advertising agency, it doesn’t matter. The true artist will flourish or starve by how effectively he/she connects with his/her market.