The Last Judgement, Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1536-1541, Cappella Sistina, Musei Vaticani, Città del Vaticano
For long we have held on to the romantic notion of the artist as a sufferer and struggler – someone doomed never to be understood, a conduit of agony and stoic revelation, a master whose misery is the good fortune of the world. This notion – that great art comes from great pain, -has however, become as outdated and irrelevant as the pox – small not chicken.
I think today, the artist is a radiant individual who channels the most beautiful and sacred passions of humanity and creates realities that everyone is welcome to. I don’t think the artist needs to keep suffering. For crying out loud, for the first time in the history of civilization being an artist does not mean indentured labour or sexual slavery. Yes, the money is still a little bit of a question mark, but at least people’s sensitivity is now attuned to how necessary art – dance, theatre, music, writing, painting – is to the soul. The therapeutic value of art, respect for artistic temperament and individuality is on a magnificent rise. And fame, that very elusive word, which for centuries has been the difference between an acceptable artist and a non-artist is now an open-ended term. Whether it’s through hits on youtube and likes on facebook or product placement and subliminal messaging, the point is, we all know it’s about marketing and not exactly talent, so fame is no longer a valid parameter for capability.
Yes, no one has found a resolution for the loneliness that is almost a quintessential prerequisite for this life. But ask any creative soul worth it’s salt and they’ll take the loneliness over the inability any day. Oh, they might crib and cry, and offer their hearts up to the Devil in order to be set free and be ‘normal’, but a temporary moment of weakness and surrender does not a person define.
So, lets take a deep breath and take a look around. This world needs us. So let’s set that crucifix down, shall we? We can die another day.