Artists are weird, socially awkward, self absorbed, depressed and not terribly intelligent. At least that is what I should think if I am to believe what I have heard for years from so many people who find out what I do. You find yourself catering to people's assumptions. "Oh, well geez, I'm just an artist." So it came as no surprise to see this meme pop up in my Facebook feed today.
I am not angry. These stereotypes have a foundation in truth. Most do. In a society that is dominated by value in investment rather than self worth, why would an artist seem like a good occupation? There are a limited few who do very well. It is assumed by some that if you stick at it even though you are not one of these few that you are doing something wrong.
I have recently had my world turned upside down. Once again, my love for art making has come in the way of a relationship. It is a complicated affair. I cannot bring myself to be as attentive as many partners would like. I am ruled an unhealthy relationship choice. I love to make art. I will make art no matter what my time constraints and I will upset the person who is trying to make it in the system. I think that the system is broken. I see no reason to rush from gym, to work, to home, and then to collapse on the couch to have my happiness fed to me via television wavelengths. I will not have my happiness dictated to me to support somebody else's system. This is a social handicap, to say the least, but not one that I am willing to budge on.
I would ask, however, why are artists considered poor? Why is living life outside of the system considered a threat. There are different types of wealth. I feel that I see more than many people. My powers of observation are quite developed. I see more quiet moments of love than I think some do. (I cannot be sure of this, but I've read a lot of hate on the internet, and that hate is not what I see.) I have hope, not in some grandiloquent plan for equality or economic prosperity for all, but that you and I, he and she, us and them can all see eye to eye. I think this starts at the quietest possible spot. It starts in ourselves. We must be at one with ourselves. We must love ourselves. We cannot experience love for everybody else if we do not love ourselves. I think there is something in there that big government and big money don't want people to know. Our system demands that we be dependent on our system. Otherwise there is no system.
I do not think that I am poor. Weird, depressed, so messy, tortured souls; these qualities are all products of perception. What is weird to me is not weird to you, but might be weird to someone else. Is it just me, or did an entire hipster movement just try to make their whole statement to be as "artistic" as possible. Shake all of the stereotypes you can out of that branch, but it doesn't make you creative because you have a handle bar mustache and a South Dakota shirt on while you are roaming the streets of a booming metropolis. It just makes everything at the thrift store more expensive, which is a bit counterintuitive to the number one item on that list of Google suggestions, no?
That said, even the people who adopt the creative guise, are looked down upon. Everyone loves to hate the hipster. What is wrong with the hipster? The only thing that I can see wrong with a hipster is the matter of authenticity. There is, perhaps, not a genuine need to shop at the thrift store, for instance. But as soon as the hipster dons the clothing of the artist, they become misunderstood.
Not all artists are gay, and what is this 1985? Are we still scared that there are men who are attracted to men, women attracted to women, people that don't even identify as a sex? Oh, good lord! What will they come up with next? Reputable third party candidates?
Am I depressed? A friend suggested to me last night, that circumstances make the feelings of an individual, not the fiber of the individual's being. I do feel depressed at times. I see people hating each other. I feel hated at home at times. I will never, at this rate, pay off my loans from graduate school. Is it wrong to feel a bit depressed about that? Let me go get some medication that also costs money so that I can ward off the anxiety of not being able to pull down a job that allows me $450 a month to pay off graduate school in ten years. OR, maybe everyone could chill out for a second, because we all feel different, and we all have emotions. The minute we try to evade our emotions is the minute that we lose sight of who we are and what we want to be.
I don't care if I make a lot of money, if I have a 401K or if I have a new car. I don't care if I have a beautiful house that everyone wants to come to. I don't care if people think I am weird. I make art and art makes me happy. I live life slow when I can and I've found, that life is all that it needs to be. I'm happy. Please don't project your unhappy on to me.
I love you. Thanks for reading.