Monday, November 8, 2010

Warm and Fuzzy: Artists

Artists. You know who they are, they're the ones the media generally portrays as dysfunctional misfits with tortured lives, bad habits and fragile egos. Throw in an unkempt look, irreverant streak and a host of quirks and you've got the cliched, Hollywood depiction of the artist.

And perhaps it's true...

... for some.

The reality, however, is quite different, and it's worth sharing to help dispel the silly myths that have entered the public imagination, particularly in less metropolitan, cosmopolitan areas (read: most of the U.S., if not the world). If you've looked at my site, you'll see that I have over 75 artists onboard contributing samples of their hard-won, intricately crafted masterpieces. In practically every artist I've spoken to in the last few years, I've found men and women overflowing with generosity, professionalism, and intelligence. The artists I've dealt with have been passionate, deeply focused, creatively gifted, witty and outright charming individuals.

I've yet to run across any primadonnas, overinflated egos, or disturbed personality types drowning in negativity and sociopathic tendencies. Not a one. What does that tell us? That people are people. Artists do have a greater creative urge, a need to express themselves and the truths they see in a twisted world. Generally, when we see musicians, artists, actors and the like abusing themselves with drugs, alcohol and debauched lifestyles, it's because of the stresses of fame and all that comes with it, not because they're artists.

If anything, I find that artists are less unhinged than the average person who has no outlet for the chaos that swirls around us night and day, who's forced to get up daily at an ungodly hour to head to a mind-numbing job loaded with pressures and aggravation to earn a meagre salary that he rarely has time to enjoy due to the high-cost of living. Artists, conversely, are doing what they love. It's hard work. No question about it. It's not steady work; and it's dependent on the artist's ability to channel creativity, and market themselves so that their work gets shown.

I have nothing but the highest respect for the artist. As far as I'm concerned, they're the salt of the earth, individuals bold enough to express the truth, to try and wake people up from the zombie-like slumber they've put themselves into when they glided into cruise-control. The artist is courageous, not just for living the life he does, but for regularly immersing himself in the human condition so that he can honestly express it. I feel grateful to have had this opportunity to meet a wide variety of artists and speak with them on a regular basis. If there's one joy that's come from doing a book of this nature, that's it. That, plus the fact that I get to bring their names and works to a larger audience, my small way of giving back to those who are giving us so much of themselves.

God bless the artist.

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