Let us try. A Rally.
Let us try
Let us try to be more respectful towards art.
Art isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come easy. Creation itself is not easy. Childbirth is not easy. Raising children is not easy. But this is exactly what is rewarding about having children. If it was easy to raise children, we just wouldn’t care about them.
Life is challenging, therefore art must be challenging as well. Art must be challenging for both the creator and the spectator. This is the sacred treaty we have with art, and we should not break it, because it has been given to us as a gift.
Let us try to treat art as if it is something holy. And I don’t mean that in a religious way, but if it pleases you and makes you create good art to think like that, then you may do so.
The act of creating art is sacred, because it is an echo of creation itself. Everything around us is creation. Even if you don’t believe in a god you can see that something has been created out of nothing and that we live in this creation, for some reason or another. Everything around us fulfills a certain purpose, constantly becomes something else or creates something else. There is – even in its seemingly crazy abundance – nothing useless in this universe. So it would be very strange to think that only we as humans have no purpose – why should we be different from anything else? This would be vanity beyond vanity: to feel superior or removed from creation. No, we are part of it.
I firmly believe that we have been given our imagination so we can repeat and understand this very act of creation, because we can only truly appreciate creation it if we know how it feels to create.
This is why true art is not a hobby. This is why art is not a lifestyle. It is not something that should be done lightly or on a whim or because you think it is cool or because you think it will impress somebody. It has been said often, but it is wisdom: one cannot choose to be an artist, one becomes an artist by inner necessity.
Let us try to try harder.
Trying a little can be useless, but never ceasing to try is success.
Let us try harder to be good artists and to create good art.
When Joseph Beuys said that “everybody is an artist” he certainly didn’t mean that everybody should be a hobby painter. He meant that the act of creation belongs to everybody, and that it can be understood by anybody if he or she is sensitive enough. It is not important if you share it or if you are the one who it is shared with. The creator is not more important than the appreciator. We need to be modest: The artist is not a better person than anybody else. The artist is just somebody who has a certain responsibility and should take good care with it. Like the shoemaker, who has a responsibility to make good shoes, like the baker who is responsible for making good bread. There is nothing wrong with being a hobby painter, but you should be aware you’re a hobby painter, not an artist. I don’t think that the artist has to “suffer”, but the true artist has understood the responsibility of art, and he/she is willing to face the consequences. This needs a certain kind of guts. If you don’t have them, don’t do it. Don’t call yourself an artist if you ain’t.
The true artist doesn’t clutter the world with half-assed or heartless stuff. He creates out of love (no creation is possible without some form of love, even if that love can be cruel). The true artist goes a different way than anybody else, by necessity, but goes it all the way, because not going all the way is exactly this half-assedness that I’m talking about it. You have to always go all the way. You have to be always careful, respectful and focused, regardless of what you do.
Let us try to not lose our focus.
Let us try to concentrate.
Let us try to be different than our restless times. We live in an age of carelessness, where the world is swamped with awful product, not art, product that has been done hastily, with no respect towards the material used or the people who were necessary to create this product, who provided cheap labor in sweat shops in some country that we don’t care about. The sweat shop workers don’t care about their product because they are treated like shit, and we don’t care, because we don’t give a shit. There is a certain form of irony in that. You might be working in some kind of sweat shop yourself, without realizing it.
We take it for granted that somebody will write a Wikipedia article for everything. We take it for granted that somebody uploads the song we want to hear. You, the reader, take it for granted that I write this article for you.
No, don’t take it for granted.
Treat what I write here with fucking respect, even if you don’t agree.
Because I wrote it with care.
Let us try to be more respectful towards each other, even if we don’t agree.
Which of course doesn’t mean we cannot make fun of each other. Not taking something too serious is the most serious thing we can do. The best humor comes out of the greatest sadness, because only then can it transcend sadness. Humor is the creation of laughter out of despair, therefore also humor is sacred.
But don’t take it for granted. Don’t take anything for granted, man. Don’t take anything for granted, woman. Not my love, not my fervor, not my passion, not my music. Don’t take it for granted. Treat it with respect.
Let us try to respect true art more. We live in a world of instant creation, where any sound comes with the click of a button. No, it should not come with the click of a button. It should first sound in your head, with such an obnoxious and relentless force that you can do nothing else but write it down to get rid of it. You may write it down with whatever you want, but don’t write it down if you don’t hear it ringing in your head like a crazy motherfucking bell that drives you insane. If you hear this bell in your head there are only two possibilities: either you are crazy or you an artist. No, there is a third possibility: you could be both, and perhaps this is necessary. It is fine with me, as long as you keep a level head about it and don’t hurt other people, because the latter is really, really bad, even if many people act like it is not such a bad thing after all.
I have said that we live in a cluttered world, where 99% of what we listen to (and most of the time we are forced to listen to it) is just plain dumbass easy listening shit. Listening is not easy. Listening is very hard. Listening intently is one of the hardest thing a human can do. We are scared of listening intently, this is why we pretend it is easy to listen.
In general: We are fed stupidity, all day, in and out. The stupidity glares at us from the computer screen, from the TV screen, from the pages of our daily newspaper. We have to constantly remind us to stay awake to avoid becoming stupid ourselves. We have to be renegades. We have to look at things differently. We have to look behind the façade.
This is our duty as artists.
Let us try to fulfill this duty.
If the internet displayed only what needs to be said the screen would mostly be blank. All this chatter, all this noise is not per se evil, though. In a way mindless creation also belongs to creation, because creation experiments with a lot of stupid things so that some really good ideas make it through someday. The truth is that something can be really stupid one day, and the greatest wisdom the next day. But we should not expect that to happen most of the time. We should be wary, so ever wary of what stupidity is fed to us on a daily basis.
Most of what is fed to us is half-assed and careless. Half-assedness can take many forms. There is a lot of seemingly impressive or even highly intellectual and complex stuff that in fact is enormously half-assed and more stupid than anybody can imagine. Because it doesn’t take any risks, because it just repeats, repeats, repeats without knowing why. Repeating something is not a sin, but you have to know why, and if you don’t know why, repetition for repetition’s sake is indeed a sin.
Don’t think you’re a composer because somebody gave you a scholarship someday. Don’t think you are an artist because you say you are one. Don’t believe your own crappy hype. I don’t. I might be an idiot for all I know. But I also know that acknowledging the fact that I might be an idiot is necessary for possibly being an artist.
If you are extremely sure of yourself – you are not an artist. If you have your methods that always work, if you know exactly how things have to be – you are not an artist. If you know exactly how music should sound like, what rules it should follow – you are not an artist but most certainly an asshole. If you tell me about the rules of “how it has to be done” you can shove them up your ass.
But if you go about your way with care, if you don’t take your music for granted: I will listen. If you put your love in it, if you are sincere, if you are able to laugh about yourself: I will listen. If you treat your art with respect, if you treat me with respect: Boy, I will listen!
Let us try to be better listeners.
Let us try to listen between the cracks of what is obvious. Let us try to look at the things in an awkward and unusual way. There is nothing wrong with being awkward. The foal that comes out of the mother horse is extremely awkward, standing shakily on its feet. The foal that comes out of the mother horse is the most beautiful thing on the planet. Because it tries, because it really, really tries.
Let us try to take pride in our awkwardness. Let us embrace it. There is nothing wrong in being different, in being the odd one out. There is nothing wrong in looking at things in a different way. As long as you keep your sanity everything is allowed. But beware: Insanity is in the eye of the beholder. Not everything that is declared insane is in fact insane, whereas a lot of stuff that we momentarily think is right is completely and utterly batshit crazy.
There is only one eternal truth: Don’t hurt others. Don’t make them suffer. Don’t make them suffer for your beliefs, whatever they are. Don’t make them into mindless followers of your laughable mission. Don’t enslave them into your beliefs. As long as you don’t do that, as long as you respect others and as long as you respect what they lovingly created, you are fine. Applaud and appreciate what has been lovingly created, because that is how you can pay your respects. Do it with verve, because, you know, nothing is granted. Nothing is for free. Good art is not for free, it has to be deserved. You could start paying your respects by paying for it with good money.
You don’t have to respect what others carelessly created, though. You should make fun of it, expose useless junk wherever you encounter it. And if you are wrong, don’t worry: the truth will persevere. True art will survive. Good ideas will survive, even if they arrive in a different incarnation. That’s the beauty of it, the eternal solace: that nothing is wasted. Nothing ever is wasted.
Let us try to be more careful with what we create and why we create. Let us ponder, let us refine, let us work on little details. Nothing has to be rushed. If it comes out fast then it has to come out fast, if not, then not. Take your time. Put a little love in it.
Put a little love in everything and you will shine like the most beautiful diamond. Be the crazy little diamond that shines.
Let us try.
Let us try to be artists.
Let us try to be damn good artists, because for some reason not many people do that at the moment.
Let us try to create art.
Let us try.