posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 07:16 PM
I forget who said it, but there is a Picasso begging on every street in Paris. I’ve hung out with writers, visual artists, actors and musicians and
they way they talk about successful artists differs from how most people do. We've all heard local guitarists play as well as the best recorded
guitar work out there and we've seen artwork as striking and original as the famous works. These are artists who never got anywhere (considered by
the "in crowd" to be "folk artists" or "outsider artists.") Likewise, we share a 'no duh' understanding that someone like Brittany Spears is
an entertainer, not an artist (musician,) as she can't even sing or write her own songs. I'm using her because it's an obvious example, but the
entertainers (or hacks, as I boldly assert) tend to do better than those with real talent because while the legit artists are putting all their time
and energy into their art, hacks are putting all their time and energy into social climbing, building connections, learning how to manipulate and to
build an image as an entertainer (in other words, how to sell.)
Thus, Brittany Spears is a "successful artist," while most of the Sinead O'connors and Leonard Cohens of the world are...you don't want to know.
Some of them manage to find the humility to accept that they are very talented and that this one way which they feel that, as outsiders, they can
express themselves to a world which doesn't understand them can still be expressed to those few who will look or listen, and this is good enough for
them. I am happy for these ones. Most I've known are quite self-destructive and full of deep feelings of resentment, anger and despair. This negative
attitude of course goes against one's chance for success, as walking in the room with the right energy and a bright smile can get you a lot further
than staggering in, half drunk or high, and singing a whiny song about how life sucks. I really, really feel for them, but they get sucked into what I
call the 'negative vacuum;' where bruised egos meet and share their sorrow (not openly but in sad music, poetry or scathing criticisms of the
hacks.) It doesn't help.
I wish there was a program which could reach artists at a young age. So many commit suicide in their teens or early 20's, or become depressed and
deteriorate slowly through years of chemical abuse. It seriously is an epidemic which is never talked about. Artists don't like admitting it (they
prefer just moping around or quietly killing themselves,) and the general public knows nothing about it. Psychologists out there must understand.
This is where art critics are supposed to step in (those with an “eye” or an “ear”) to shine light on the gifted and criticize the hacks, and
articulate why this is so for those who don’t get it viscerally.