Episode 078 - ”What‘s the Most Important Role of an Artist?” - Part 2
In today's episode, I have compiled some of our more recent guests' answers to the question, "What is the most important role of an artist?" This delightful compilation brings a plethora of unique, honest, and inspiring answers to that question, and I'm excited to share part two of this series with you today. Enjoy!
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Episode 78 - "What's the Most Important Role of an Artist? - Part 2
[00:00:00] Lindsey Dinneen: Hello and welcome to Artfully Told, where we share true stories about meaningful encounters with art.
[00:00:06] Krista: "I think artists help people have different perspectives on every aspect of life."
[00:00:12] Roman: "All I can do is put my heart in to the world."
[00:00:15] Elizabeth: "It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. It doesn't have to be perfect ever, really. I mean, as long as you, you're enjoying doing it and you're trying your best, that can be good enough."
[00:00:23] Elna: "Art is something that you can experience with your senses and that you just experience as so beautiful."
[00:00:31] Lindsey Dinneen: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Artfully Told. I'm your host Lindsey, and I am delighted to be bringing you another special episode today. We are going to explore all of the different answers to the question, "what's the most important role of an artist?" Over the last year and a half I have gotten to ask that question of so many artists and guests that have been on my show. And I absolutely love hearing people's perspective on this question. So I'm excited to bring it all together for you in this special episode that I hope you thoroughly enjoy.
[00:01:11] Mike Huerter: Probably just be true to yourself. You know, you, you can't fake art. It's, I mean, yeah, I'm portraying a role in something, and I guess people would maybe think that's fake, but for me, I want to do it to the very best of my ability. I want people to--when they, when they look and see me doing something, they don't see me, they see the person or, you know, that I'm trying to portray.
[00:01:38] Gregg Gonzales: I think, I think it's to delight. Truly, I think it's to delight those, whether that delight can be in the form of, "I appreciate it. I think it's garbage. I think it's the greatest thing ever." I think it's to gain, to get a response from the people who are experiencing the art, whether it be music, whether it be a painting, whether it be a book. You want a response. You want, you want them to feel something. So to me as an artist, I want my people to, or I want the people who are experiencing my work to feel something. I know that sounds very general, but to me, it's about feeling.
[00:02:23] Jami Robben: I would say the most important role is probably sharing your gifts with others, just to again, make them happy. I think a lot of times are sometimes can be, you know, just kept to yourself if you're scared of showing other people. But the best thing you could do as an artist is share it and inspire others with it.
[00:02:44] JaJa Smith: To be honest, because we as people have dealt with enough bologna sandwich that, you know, it doesn't do anything for anyone, if you're just doing something for the sake of the adoration or the sake of a finished product. But if you're true and you're intentional and you're authentic, I mean, that is the product that people can truly get on board with. You know, I think that that is to not just to people, but also to the work itself, and then to the artists, because there have been a few times I may have flubbed or played it safer. And then, you know, I stepped back and the scene is over and, you know, I was just like, "What are you doing?" Like you, you know that you cheated yourself and you're like, "Why did I do that?" So the biggest thing to me is just be honest, be authentic with your work and everything that you do. You know, I don't see any need to talk about things that you don't understand. You know, like if, if you're a music artist, that's like, you know, tell your story. You know, you have a story. And it's beautiful. I mean, it's yours and it deserves to be told.
[00:03:49] Darnell Benjamin: I think the number one rule for an artist is to be honest. I think that, to be honest, whatever that means, to be honest.
[00:03:59] Emily Moores: I think that there are a lot of different kinds of roles for different kinds of artists. Like some artists have you reflect on, you know, historical events or connect you to maybe an idea or group of people that you wouldn't have a connection with. And I guess in any situation, whether, you know, like if I'm just creating artwork to be playful, I'm still creating a connection to this like physical, tangible object existing in space. And so for me, I would say artists create connections where we maybe haven't thought about them previously.
[00:04:39] Harlem Lennox: To be themselves and to be truthful about what it is that they are trying to convey, whatever it is, no matter how dark you might feel that it is, or no matter how light it is, because it just-- I feel like if you can feel something and you can get something, some type of meaning from whatever it is, then it is art. And so if you are making, whether it's a piece of music or painting, if you're dancing, whatever it is, if it has meaning, and it is true to you, then I think that is the response. That is the responsibility of an artist. I don't want an artist who tries to be the next whomever. I don't want an artist who, okay, what is everybody liking right now? Let me try to create that. And I understand that people got to do what they got to do to get where they're trying to go. And so maybe they start off that way because they're still learning. But when you get to a point where you're confident enough and brave enough to be able to produce your own work, your own truth, whatever is in your soul, then I definitely think that that people have a responsibility to bring themselves to the art world, because like I said, we need it. We don't need another Van Gogh. He's here. He did his thing. Thank you Van. But I want to see another whomever it is: Brittany, Sam, you know, Godfrey, whoever. Bring me your art, bring me your truth. Or else it doesn't mean anything.
[00:06:23] Christina Stanton: It's to tell their truth, because we all are having such different experiences in this world that what you want is that somebody is expressing your experience somewhere in art, doing something. And you just want to connect with art that's expressing your particular experience that you're having on this planet and is sharing your human experience. And so I just think artists should be telling their truth of how they're viewing the world and their experience, because there's going to be people out there that can relate and want to relate and want that comradery, and wants somebody to quote unquote, "understand them," but I just feel like it's a shared experience. So it's a story that, that can be shared with several people. We're not all having the same experience, but there are people out there who are having, you know, the same struggles, and the same highs and lows and joys. And they're looking at life in the world and God, and in the same way, do you want to connect to art that is speaking to you personally.
[00:07:33] Jeffrey Holst: I think that artists bring perspective to everything. If we didn't have artists, our world would be very boring. So I think perspective and entertainment are probably the two things that are most important.
[00:07:49] Lucas Zellers: The role of an artist is to tell us what to think about. And I think my experience with monsters and the study of them and sort of the practical use of monster theory is that art gives us a way of saying things that we couldn't say, or feeling things that we couldn't feel or experiencing things that we had no other way to experience.
[00:08:13] Kristin Beale: The important role: to entertain and not to entertain others for that is a big plus, but to entertain yourself, to keep yourself happy to stay while you're doing it for it to be a good, you know, way to keep yourself happy. And, you know, it's a major plus if it can bring happiness to other people too.
[00:08:34] Doug Motel: Well, I think the, the role of the artist is to lead us in our evolution. I think that you know, Darwin pointed out that we evolved from creatures in the sea, you know, we keep evolving and I think that there's an assumption that evolution is just kind of like on autopilot, but I don't. I believe that we could actually hasten the pace of our evolution. We can you know steer and direct our evolution and the ones that do that are the artists. So the role of the artist is nothing short of saving humanity.
[00:09:15] Gloria Grace Rand: Well, the most important role-- I think it's just being true to who you are and to trust yourself to be able to communicate whatever it is that you want to communicate. Because if you're going about doing something in the arts to please someone else, it's not really ultimately going to be successful. I think you've gotta be able to do whatever it is from your heart to really be able to please yourself. And it may not please everybody. And that's okay. But as long as you are conveying what you want to convey from your heart, then it is going to touch someone else's heart.
[00:09:58] Donna Kay Yarborough: There are many different roles that people have depending on their abilities and what their focus is. So like I mentioned earlier, some people just want to bring joy into the world. And I think that is lovely. Joy is defined on many different levels and that can be a pure focus in me. I I flavor joy on top of a baseline of perspective. I am ever the educator, even though I am not officially teaching in a classroom, my goal is to always teach in some manner or another. So making this tasty nugget of learning I think is how I function. And a lot of people out there function, there's other things you can do. Sometimes you just want to make a pretty thing, or sometimes you just want to decorate. And that again is very, very valuable in this world, but mine is teaching.
[00:10:59] Christopher John Garcia: To make art. I mean, really, that's what it comes down to, I think. Wanting an artist to be a philosopher, a spokesman, any of that? Really not as important as the fact that they just create the work.
[00:11:16] Jeff Leisawitz: To authentically create. I mean, that's it. So you create with the truth of their experience, whatever that is. It's not about building skills, although that's great if you do, right? I mean, you look at it again and in music, punk rock, you know, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols and, you know, bands like that, they sucked as musicians, but you could feel it, right? They were putting their heart and truth into the music and that's why it resonated so much.
[00:11:50] Shawn Kilgore: To keep it alive, to keep it going.
[00:11:53] Natalie Cordone: I think for me, it's to tell the truth, whatever your truth is in that moment, to be vulnerable enough, to be honest, in a way where you are sharing something real, sharing a piece of yourself with people that you might never meet or really get to know.
[00:12:13] Corry MacDonald: Oh, artists are the way-showers. Most of us are stuck in our, our brains, myself included. Why do you think I share this? I have to learn what I'm sharing. So the artists seem to know that when they go into that flow state, when they go into that still point inside and bring something into the world that was never seen before, that they're dovetailing with all of life, with consciousness itself. And so they show those who've never gone there before what's possible, and they bring something new to form, which is sheer magic.
[00:12:48] Sandy Rodriguez: I think that they're --okay-- it has two types of importance. One would be important for oneself. I think that as an artist, the importance of art to yourself would be allowing you to express feelings and modify them, so it's something that is both a source of expression and also a source of comfort to yourself as an artist, I think. But as to society or more as a whole, I think that, firstly, it can make society better by adding more beauty to everyday lives, but it can also shine a light on things that might be social ills or social problems. So it's simply another way of communicating. As a journalist, as a former newspaper editor, I would say that the role of art is not entirely different from the role of any other form of media. You can either shine a light on problems or spread the word on something that is beautiful, spread the word about something that is fascinating, bring more beauty to the world.
[00:13:53] Sabrina Osso: It goes back to freedom to liberate. I like that word that you used during our interview: to, to liberate, liberate all emotions, whether it be happiness, sadness, anger. It could be, yeah, sadness, happiness, joy, liberation of all emotions, because once you release it, then you can get to the next level. So, yeah, liberation, I would say.
[00:14:24] Anthony Saldana: Tell the truth. Just tell your own truth and also try to find your own. I know that stories have been told and retold, but try to find your own angle to, to put your own expression on, on a different take on a story. But I, I really believe in, in being honest in your work.
[00:14:47] Jason Figueira: I think persistence is also something very important for an artist to have, because when you have a passion to tell a story, you don't give up telling it. There are a lot of obstacles that come up in any different kind-- dancing, whether it's painting, whether it's film or so many things that come up in your way. But as long as you have your passion to tell a story, you will overcome those obstacles. And I'd say, you know, there's an expression: a genius is 90% hard work and 10% ideas. So really it's about how much work you put into it. So I would say persistence is absolutely key for an artist to have, is absolutely a key quality rather, for an artist to have.
[00:15:30] Sharon Glassman: I think if you truly believe it, see it, want to share it. That I think is probably what makes art, art. There's something there that's just intrinsically real.
[00:15:47] Christopher Boorman: Well, for me, the role of an artist is to share their art. It's to share with other people how they see the world, to share how they feel about the human experience. I hate to sound trite, but I'm reminded of that question, "If a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody around, does it make a sound? So if you're creating art and you don't share it, then are you really an artist? You, you might have a hobby and that's just fine. You can make art for yourself. But I think for it to be art in its truest form, to be an artist, art needs to be shared, it needs to be enjoyed.
[00:16:31] Bryan Colley: Well, that's a, that's a tricky question. I mean, I think the role of the artist is to, to offer ideas to the world and hopefully they can offer an idea. No one's thought of before. And of course, you know, everyone is born ignorant, so everyone experiences new ideas all the time in the, in the course of their life. It's not like there's this one set of ideas everybody knows. Everyone has a different experience. So, so everyone has a way to experience art and some people gain something from it and other people don't because maybe they've already experienced that or, or they don't understand it, you know? So, so you need a wide field of art out there because there's just different art for each person.
[00:17:17] So you go through life learning things. You get an education, you read books, you, you know-- I'm a media junkie. I watch films and I listen to music, you know, it's consume, consume, consume. And I think at some point you want to contribute to that or you want to give back and it's like, "Well, I've learned all this for what reason?" It's like, so that I can take my experience and my knowledge and offer my ideas or my observations on that. So that's where art comes into play, I think. And I think it's something everyone can participate in. It's not just for professionals. Everyone can be an artist and offer something to the world.
[00:18:01] Jessie Katz Greenberg: I think that it's just to share your perspective, whatever it is. And, and again, I mean, you'll, this might be very obvious from the way I've answered, I'm answering these questions, but I just feel like, you know, art is for everyone. So I just think the most important role is to share your perspective. And if that perspective is, you know, something deep that people have to think about, or if you're making an important political commentary or you're, you know, making things because it's cute and your perspective as you want to cheer people up and make them happy. And that's the point of it then. All of that is valid. So I think it's just sharing your perspective, whatever that is.
[00:18:42] Patricia Karen Gage: I think it's liberation, freedom, total expression, and to help shift the misconceptions of, of reality. And it's an opportunity to interpret whatever it is that you, as a human being are here, are here in your own path to experience. And yeah, it's, it's the artist journey.
[00:19:09] Sally Brown: I think to express themselves and make their voices heard because we're, we're documenting life in a creative way for history. So just continuing to do it and using their voice in different ways is just, is the most important role for them. So, yeah, just doing it.
[00:19:28] Will Blaine: I know that artists do different things. I think that many artists like to make political statements and, and things like that, but I, I don't think that's the most important rule or role. I think that that artists should do it for themselves primarily. I, I've, I've seen people that are artists that want to become famous. I don't particularly want that myself. I, I mean, I don't, I never desired to be famous. I just like entertaining kids, basically. But I think that a person needs to do it as a, as a way of expressing themselves. That's the most important thing above everything else.
[00:20:02] Phillip Andrew Bennett Low: So my instinctive response to that is leeriness, because I, first of all, I obviously do believe that there is an important role for artists. I'm a professional artist. It's, it's something I've devoted a huge portion of my life to. It's my passion. I am always a little fearful that there's a danger because we've all known that sort of the artist with the sort of messianic complex, you know, the idea that I'm creating something because I believe it's important. And this approach generally creates art that is not that enjoyable. And I'm, I'm resistant to that. That said, I do believe that art is important, but I, I tend to flinch from that as a starting place for making something. But if I had to say, what is the role of art? Again, the first thing that leaps into my mind is, it's to provide a kind of fun house mirror. It's to provide a reflection of reality that distorts it in some way or shifts our focus onto a specific aspect of it.
[00:21:14] Aunia Kahn: The most important role of an artist is to not worry about what everybody thinks. The most important role of an artist is to do what they want to do in, in themselves, what feels right for them and to not cater to anybody else. Unless of course they're catering for a reason, like I said you know, a minute ago, like, you know, I want to sell my work and I know this kind of stuff sells, and this is what I'm creating, because I know I can make a dollar and pay my bills. That's great. You know, but I-- the role of an artist is to be who they want to-- I think the role of anybody, I think the role of an artist is the role of anybody, really, to be who you want to be without explaining yourself. Of course, unless you're harming people, that's a whole other thing, but, you know, be who you want to be, express how you want to express, live how you want to live, without the expectations and pressures of society and other people. That's how I feel artists and people not should-- cause I don't like the word should-- but would benefit in living life, being free, free of, free of all of that, to just be what you want to be, do what you want to do. Say what you want to say.
[00:22:31] Justin Alcala: The most important part is communicate and inspire. If you have to find a fundamental way to connect to someone through your medium, and once you communicate with them, you inspire them to take what you said and make it their own. And for books, any characters' story, once I get it out in the world, it was no longer my story. It is the reader's story. What they think is far more important about the protagonist /antagonist, the plot than anything that I've dreamed up, it is their world to be inspired and kind of take it into their own lives and contribute.
[00:23:05] Natsune Oki: Artists are the key player in terms of creating something new and creating a future of a future. Like it really like, you know, until now it's it was an engineer, but because now we've built some infrastructures for people to be more creative, possibility is unlimited, like with the artists combined with technology, like it's, it's going to be like crazy. Like it's going to be our future.
[00:23:33] Rachel Moore: I know it's kind of a, that's been kind of a weird idea lately --the truth, but I think to shine a light on things that maybe for various reasons, society or people have said, you know, we can't look at this to shine a light in a way that is accessible. I think that if we just like, you know, shove things in people's faces like, eh, that's not really doing the job of art in my opinion. To invite people to see things differently, that's what I think the role of an artist.
[00:24:01] Lindsey Dinneen: Well, I hope you enjoyed all of the answers to the question. What's the most important role of an artist. As you can tell, we have such a diverse group of guests who have come through the show and it's been so much fun to hear their perspectives on some of these really interesting questions that lead us to think deeper about different aspects of art. So thank you for joining me. And if you're feeling as inspired as I am, I'd love if you would share this with a friend or two and we will catch you next time.
[00:24:35] If you have a story to share with us, we would love that so much. And I hope your day has been Artfully Told.
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