From dialogue comes understanding. From understanding comes empathy, and from empathy comes respect.
A creator brings into the world a form of self expression. For parents, the creation of an infant is an expression of familial love. For the artist, like the musician, author or designer, their creation is an expression of emotion and in most instances, love.
Creation is an act of love.
Creation is also dialogue.
For a creator to present their creation is a leap of courage, for it is an open invitation to strangers to pass judgement on the creator’s emotional expression and personal passions. It is an open invitation to a form of dialogue that remains ongoing, long after the creator has moved – and eventually – passed on.
Imagine then a creator whose work goes unnoticed. Imagine a person standing in a crowded room at – say – a party. They speak unassumingly, gently, gladly but also eloquently, of the very secrets of the universe, insights into the human condition or other unique acumen. Imagine them being avoided, ignored, unheard above the burbling pratings of the mundane all around because their words are different and maybe not directed at a specific individual. The autotelic creator will continue to speak regardless, their nature being to bring into the world expressions of their passion, their ideas, observations, insight and circumspection regardless of who may choose to listen. Other creators may elect to cease speaking altogether, and leave the room – perhaps to remain silent, perhaps to find a better room. The tragedy is for the most part the other people in the room remain largely unaware how much poorer they actually are, how their self-absorbed neglect or wilful ignorance has robbed them of their own enrichment, enlightenment or even salvation, all for want of shutting up and listening. That’s just plain sad. The worst part is in some instances some may even go on to question what use is art?
Art is love.
Art is also dialogue.
From dialogue comes understanding. From understanding comes empathy, and from empathy comes respect. Without respect, understanding or dialogue, comes ignorance, misery, despair, greed, superstition, dogma and war.
Some artists create in the face of all the odds. Vincent van Gogh created over a thousand works of art, yet sold only one in his lifetime. Not that this mattered – he created because that was his dialogue with the world. What killed him was his gradual acceptance he was doomed to unbearable loneliness all his life, despite every effort he was able to make to better himself. His canvases spoke to him and his essence, but they were no real substitute for human friendship and love. He exhibited twice in his own lifetime, which is where he sold his painting The Red Vineyard, earning him a little money but accompanied by stinging derision from one of the exhibition organisers (who later resigned over it). Vincent’s deepest bond was with his brother, with whom he corresonded extensively, but this ended up not being enough. Even the autotelic creator appreciates a little respect from time to time.
Imagine an author, whose works intelligently challenge the canon of modern literature, the accepted norms of vocabulary, syntax and structure, wrapping revolutionary presentation around messages that resonate throughout the ages. They write and write and write, and in a bold step they present their work publicly, only to have it snidely scorned by established experts. This despite the messages within holding the keys to expanding the consciousness of readers as never before. Is it the fate of that author to have their creations ignored, shelved in preference for easy-selling ephemeral entertainment? If so, then everyone in the room at that party once again misses out, and once again the world is all the poorer for it.
There appears a demand in the modern marketplace for fresh ideas, new visions, bold passions and courage against the odds, yet the instant such is presented, the mediocre and mundane, presented by mendicants of creativity come to the fore, championed in the name of economics. This fear of the unknown is the price of conservatism, and we as a species are all the lesser for it. A great deal of conservatism is borne of fear, but there’s no place for fear in the arts, which is why art and artists tends to be so liberal. Yet conservatism can rise to rule over the arts, and when it does, again, the world is all the poorer for it.
If to wilfully ignore a creative is one act of cruelty, so is making them wait. Van Gogh had to wait for what must have seemed an age to hear a positive response about his art. Imagine being an author, pouring heart and soul into a magnum opus, only then being made to wait years before publishing or receiving a review. That’s not just disrespectful to the creative, that’s positively sociopathic.
Against a landscape of base atrocities, barbarism, ignorance and greed, the world needs more dialogue.
The world needs more creation, support and respect for creators, and way more love.