the artist: a state of emergency
in the past ten years i have lost a total of three friends to suicide. what did they have in common?- all of them were artists. not just average artists; these three people were extraordinary, intelligent, deeply compassionate, artists. if you are one yourself, then you are already very aware of what i am about to say:
this is a state of emergency.
our society does not foster art. it does not take care of empathic people. our society, in fact, trains us to ignore our artistic side. ask yourself: did you have a hobby as a child (drawing, making up wild stories, putting on plays, dancing sans inhibitions) that you lost? where did this kid you used to be go?
you may have buried the creative child inside of you. those of us who have not, the rare spectacles of our species who fight tooth and nail to keep this child-like state, are giving up. it’s not just disappointing. it’s not selfish. it’s a real problem. we have stopped caring.
when i received the news earlier this week that my friend had taken his own life, i sat in front of the computer. i didn’t know what to say. i didn’t know what to do. i stood up after several minutes (felt much longer), and looked around my living room.
panic. sheer panic. i didn’t know what to do.
how did it get so bad? how did we, the friends, the keepers, miss it? how do we miss the pain that is right under our noses, deny it because it’s always there, shove it aside because we have our iPhones, and our tablets, our Facebook, wine, and iron-clad defense mechanisms?
this life is too fragile to be ignored.
after pacing for half of an hour (still seemed longer), i came to the conclusion that i refuse to be part of this epidemic.
donald trump is systematically attacking the arts and arts education within our public schools, and on a much larger scale. i can sign all the petitions i want, and i have been. i can send emails, “vote” on my little countable app, and be vocal as hell, but this isn’t enough action for me. it shouldn’t be for you either.
“make something,” i told myself, “that’s what artists do. that’s what i do.”
i told my deceased friend, told his spirit that is- i will never, ever, ask anyone anywhere to quell their artistic talent. i will, from this day forward, do everything i can to push our society to create art.
i don’t want to live in a society that fosters unfeeling robot syndrome. do you?
so, let’s make a promise to each other.
let’s promise that this art, what makes life worth living, will not be put under. if we’re defunded, let us keep going. if we’re made fun of, let us keep going. if we are asked to be quiet, let us raise our voices. if they take away our paper, let’s write on the wall.
you hate poor people, paul ryan? well, i hate politicians. i have more tools in my art box than you have in your rich white man office.
you don’t like illegal immigrants, trump? i love graffiti and masturbation- both of which are technically illegal. i love illegality because it begs to be challenged.
bring it on. i’ll rally for my lost friends.
because not all of us artists are willing to give you the satisfaction of death.