Feb 24, 2010

The power of the artist to shape and change the world

Recently I have been contemplating the path of the artist - those individuals by whatever medium: Music, Dance, The Visual Arts, Movies, Theatre, Architecture, that by their very being and self expression can influence our lives. Art and culture shape us, move us, transport us to some place outside of ourselves, pull at our heartstrings and enrich our lives. Just look at Michaelangelo, Monet, VanGogh, The Beatles and Filmmakers like Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron with Avatar. The beauty of creativity and self-expression, creating something out of an idea or thought, creating art. Our culture does very little to support and respect the artist. What would the world be like without those individuals that have a unique and inventive point of view or style that transcends categories, I saw an interview with Michael Jackson recently quoting Michelangelo and it sums up the importance and gift of the Artist and Art: “I know the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work." The artist’s work leaves a legacy and enriches the lives of others long after they’re gone. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh never lived to sell a single painting, 150 years later after his passing,"Sunflowers" sold for 35 million dollars on the Christies auction block in London. I was there studying art at Sotheby's, watching that afternoon ... A few years ago I was invited to do an art show at The Nashville Jazz Workshop here in Nashville, a local Jazz School that features wonderful visual artists. I came up with the title "The Power of Sound: A look at Music's Pioneers". For several weeks, I spend time exploring The power of sound and music through some of music great pioneers - I spent a week watching the Ken Burns series on Jazz. In that time I grew to understand the power of truth and self expression to move and change the world. A very wise songwriter and mentor/friend of mine Harriet Schock once told me "It's the truth that touches people..", so when you think about Jazz Music, I sure she's right. Some of us express our truth with such ease, sharing our light with the world. For some of us, it takes great courage. One can only imagine being a black artist in the 30's and 40's - Louie Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole.. just to be themselves in spite of such prejudice. For most of us, we walk around with blinders on, afraid to show ourselves, afraid of what others might think, hiding our light....afraid of being judged...I'm one of those, still working on it everyday, attempting to peel back the layer of my self, and be ok with it all.. So here's to the artist, wherever you are, those unique inventive and pioneering souls who despite the odds, share their light with the world! As an artist and soul on my own journey of self discovery, and creativity, I thank you.