“Syndrome – a group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.”
Example: Being an artist is a condition characterized by the images of a frustrated, poor, and starving bohemian, destined to make no impact on the world whatsoever.
I began drawing around the age of two or so…basically from the time I could hold a pencil.
Art has surrounded me my entire life and I was always encouraged by my family and friends to create and pursue art.
However, interestingly enough and despite all the encouragement, I was vehemently opposed to becoming an artist in a professional sense.
When I was graduating from high school people would ask me what I wanted to do with my life. My response was always that I would become a doctor. Someone who helped other people. A job with worth.
You see I was operating under the illusion that doing art as a job was, to be quite honest, frivolous.
How would being an artist help anyone but myself?
Sure, art certainly brought pleasure to many people. But could it cure them of disease? Make them feel well again? Cater to their most basic of needs?
For a long time I didn’t think so.
My goal was to become part of the doctors without borders program and travel the world healing people in third world countries. It seemed like the most noble profession I could think of…and don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for those in the medical profession.
Ironically, instead of becoming a doctor, I became an artist. All of my friends are artists and musicians, and most of the functions I go to are performance based. Art is now my full time job.
Artists and musicians work hard.
I think many people, including my past self, see the artist as somewhat lazy, sitting around painting all day and then selling their work for thousands of dollars in some fancy gallery somewhere.
The artists and musicians I know work at least three jobs to make it by. They run from place to place performing, miss meals to go to shows and promote themselves, and basically run themselves ragged in order to make a living.
Being an artist is not easy. And, while I do know a few artists that make a bit of money from their art, I guarantee that every single one of them continuously pushes themselves to the brink of exhaustion to make their creations come to life.
I’m surrounded by them every day…I can see it with my own eyes.
And their art does affect people in the most basic of ways. Humans have created art, almost from the beginning of our existence.
We decorated ourselves with pieces of nature, buried our dead with carved figurines, painted cave walls with images from daily life.
It was a vital part of life, and still is today.
Who doesn’t decorate their home? Who doesn’t go to the movies or play video games? Who doesn’t write, or draw, or read, or watch TV, or listen to radio programs? Who doesn’t keep trinkets or souvenirs?
Art. All of it is art.
And while art may not cure anyone of disease, it certainly can take their minds from whatever it is that ails them.
It can heal emotionally and socially; it can make people feel things they haven’t felt before. It can help them express what’s inside, communicate in a way that others can relate to, even when they can’t express what they wish to say with words.
I still cringe a little to call myself an artist. But I can’t forget that even though I may not be saving lives, creating art and music does not have to be a frivolous thing.
Art can change lives, in ways people could never guess.
Art is valuable.