Dear Artist of 2013: “What If?”
What if, you did it to feel? What if, you did it to learn? What if, you did it to expand? What if, you did it to fly? What if, you did it to explore? What if, you did it to breathe? What if, you did it to connect? What if, you did it to give?
What if, you didn’t do it to be liked? What if, you didn’t do it to get accolades? What if, you didn’t do it to get your next job? What if, you didn’t do it to get a date? What if, you didn’t do it to please your parents? What if, you didn’t do it to piss off your nemesis? What if, you didn’t do it for profit? What if, you didn’t do it to prove a single thing? What if, you didn’t do it to get anything external?
What does it mean in today’s society to create without aim toward personal gain?
We exist in a time, where profiteering drives every corner of what was previously described to a culture, as ‘artistic expression’.
In these hours, preceding the marker, of a New Year; I ask in tender sincerity;
Dear Artist of 2013, would you be working on the painting, sculpture, novel, short story, script, tv show, photograph, drawing, mixed media, poem, stanza, architecture, stencil, animation, graphic, coat, dress, hat, shoe, ring, bracelet, earring, faucet, armchair, wall, ceiling, floor, recipe, story, idea, notion, wish, wonder or curiosity, if the only gain—was a private connection to humanity?
If the only thing you carried to your end, was an intangible connection to humanity;
Would you still, wake up early the next three hundred and sixty five mornings?
Would you still, go to bed late the next three hundred and sixty five evenings?
Would you still, hold equal measure of hunger for creative manifestation?
Would you still, agonize to the core over a creative birth?
Would you still, ache in solitude with an inconsolable need and creative hunger?
Would you still, permit a “concept” to haunt your every breathing hour?
Would you still, sacrifice time away from family, friends, loves, holidays, dinners, birthdays?
What if, there were no financial gain, group applause or ladder traction-would you still, die to express the creative expression living this precise moment-inside of no one, except you.
In a culture that has always reared their young to regard ‘artists’ as insane and ‘bankers’ as stabile, how many of you out there, have decided this year—to leap unaccompanied, into your darkest depths, on a bleeding wish to participate in reflecting the human condition, during this time and space, where-you-are-alive-to-canvas-the-Earth…
Here’s to an expressive New Year, yours, mine, theirs, ours.
(The above was cross-posted, with permission, from Mahoney, Pause. Victoria Mahoney is the writer/director of Yelling to the Sky Photo of Mahoney by Andrew Dosunmu.)