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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Responsibilities of the Creative

Cause & Effect - The Casual Disregard of the Breaking Ice

There are many responses I get from artists regarding responsibility. "I have no responsibility except unto myself" is the most common heard. "That is why I'm an artist, so that I have no responsibilities" is another often heard. We seem to think that because we work alone in a studio or work space most of the time that it absents us from having any responsibilities. But exactly the opposite applies.

As an artist I personally feel that we have an increase of responsibility. For me, the responsibility of teaching other artists weighs the heaviest. But there are other responsibilities that are equally as important. Helping our community, taking up causes and standing for equality for all seem to me to be part of what it means to be an artist. 
But you'll note that I used the word "Creative" in the name of this article. That's because I feel these responsibilities fall to anyone who is a master of their creativity. 

Over the years a lot of singers and actors have gotten told to shut up when they take up a cause they care about. How dare they! What right does a mere singer have to tell us how to live our lives??? But we do have a right and even more we have an obligation.

Any person who has a voice that others listen to, also has an obligation to use that voice wisely. That includes all creatives. Hell I think it might include us even more. 

At the time of the writing of this article there is a great furor over various singers and performers cancelling their venues in Mississippi and North Carolina due to extreme anti-LGBT laws that restrict the freedoms and rights of citizens that may not fit the mold of what some consider right and proper. Those pulling out of these states include Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Sharon Stone (just to name a few) and of course those on the other side of the issues are telling them they have no right to stand up against these abominable laws. Again "HOW DARE THEY!" seems to be the overall sentiment. 

They dare because they MUST. Why is it only the venue of politicians and preachers to talk about whats good and right in this world? Politics give you no more insight into the world than a hard working musician. Preachers (even though they wouldn't agree) have no more of a lock on morality than an author does. The difference is that the preachers mandate comes from a book written thousands of years ago. The authors comes from his/her personal experiences of what is good and bad in this world. 

The creative have a right to talk about what is good and bad because they've most likely experienced it at some point in their life. Its not that the preacher hasn't, but my point is that both have a right to talk to others about the conditions of the world. 

But its the word "obligation" that most disagree with me on. Why do we have an obligation to speak out more than others? Well I guess everyone has an obligation to speak out on issues that effect the world. But we have a unique platform. Its "Emotion". Artists can blend their message into their paintings. Writers can blend into their stories. Musicians into their songs. Each impacts others in an "emotional" way that other people do not have access to. 

For example, take a climate scientist who is discussing global warming. All the facts in the world rarely will elicit an emotional response from the listener.  In fact the opposite often occurs. The listener shuts down. But an artist has the ability to paint the world that the scientist discusses and create emotion within the viewer as is shown in the photo at the top of the page. 

In the end I think its our ability to harness emotion with message that makes all creatives a powerful voice for change. 

So the next time you say "I have no responsibility to change the world", think on this and realize that you DO and you CAN.


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