You’ve done the work. Wrote the story, painted the painting, soldered the jewelry, sculpted the clay, or weaved the basket. You’ve put in the hours at the workstation, lost yourself in the art, creating work unique and powerful and meant to contribute to a collective of voices echoing from generations past. Then you take the work into the world. Now it’s time to dance with the “crabs in the barrel” and the “fake In’dins.”
There are two things most dangerous: apathy and stagnation. For me? The former leads to the latter. It’s a cycle of violence I’ve always struggled to overcome. It’s like when I’m gourd dancing with my family, and I’m trying to predict by cadence and rhythm the switching of the beat so I can anticipate the appropriate next move–a move which keeps me in sync with my community but ultimately with my choices.
One of my favorite lines in The Crow is when Eric (Brandon Lee) has T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly) duct taped to the drivers seat of his car, as its filled with explosives and aimed at a pier leading toward a harbor. T-Bird can’t believe Eric has come back to life as The Crow and as he struggles through whimpers he says, “Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.”
“I gotta keep my Capricorn mind straight,” said the planet of Saturn to the writer writing this post. Okay, so that first sentence had a weird third person shift–almost like a third person shift to a different third person gear, but the first third person perspective was oddly different from the latter, which was equally bizarre but uniquely awkward. See what I mean? I do need to keep this Capricorn mind straight. Saturn was right.
Getting bogged down in the muck is an artist’s nightmare. You’ve done the initial work. Maybe you painted the paintings, recorded the songs, or wrote the novels, and then you have to take the creation and offer it to world. Just when you thought you were done. There’s a million more hurdles.
So I’m about to rant. I know…you’re saying to yourself, “Oscar, you always rant.” But this is going to be a special kind of rant. I’m going to unburden myself with all the reasons why artists need to be supported. In every way, emotionally and financially. We don’t live in an age of benefactors! If artists are going to be the voice for the under-heard and disadvantaged, then we need fuel for the fire, we need people surrounding us and giving us the energy to keep fighting.