Monday, February 1, 2016

On The Pedigree of Creatives

It was handed to me recently that artists don't really matter.  The government and society in general don't place high value on the arts.  We provide, for the most part, disposable entertainment.  Granted, Wall Street runs the machinery.  Finance and labor drive economies.  Life in the creative arts is difficult and very few of us will win that lottery or get over that wall.  I frequently hear things like, "You should have gotten an education" or  "I don't feel bad for musicians and other artists.  They chose this life instead of choosing a job with security like everyone else".  
This whole thing got my hackles up, which isn't easy to do these days.  I took a breath, straightened myself up and in my best James T. Kirk said the following; 

Well, first, I do have an education.  I have two college degrees, one doctorate and countless hours of clinical practice in which I've helped innumerable people, thank you.  So do many people in creative fields.

Second, we didn't choose this life, it chose us.  Something inside compels us to create every day.  No, at first it isn't a secure or safe life.  We struggle with money problems, self-worth issues and the opinions of those close to us.  Sometimes they believe in us and sometimes they shake their heads at us.  Sometimes we want to throw our hands up and say, "Yeah, you win, where do I sign?".  But we can't.  We would love a measure of security and for some of us it will come but we do it because that's how whatever god is running this show made us.  And you'd better be thankful for it.
Forgive me for sounding arrogant here but...

We, people like me (and maybe you)  make everything beautiful for everyone else.  Everything painting or photograph your walls, every image on your expensive TV and tune from you sound system, every book on your nightstand, every sheet on your bed, every fancy amenity in your car, every play, ballet or performance you pay to see comes from us.  Everything that makes this life beautiful comes from some artist somewhere who was compelled to create because they have to, not simply want to.  Don't tell me we aren't important or we are disposable.  

Every one of us is descended from Hemmingway, Picasso,  Warhol,  Beethoven, Descartes, Milton Glaser, McQueen, Kerouac and Balanchine.  Their blood is our blood, their pedigree is ours.  We come from that clan, guild, tribe or whatever you want to call it and without the contributions of all these people, my people, right down to the child who's macaroni art is stuck to your fridge, your life would be a lot more monochrome.  So go ahead and call us irrelevant but remember where everything beautiful in this life comes from.  Every painting, song, story or dance and every little thing that brightens your day comes from people like me, my family, my blood. 

By now I was almost shouting and the room grew rather silent.  I sat and composed my Kirk and settled in.  But I stand by my statement no matter how much of a tin-plated blowhard I sounded like. 
If you're a Creative and that little voice in you calls you a failure, remember who's blood flows through you.  Remember you come from Michelangelo and Tchaikovsky and even David Bowie.  That's you in there and this world needs you, me and every single one of us who endeavor to make the mundane beautiful, the grind tolerable and finds beauty in the things most would never see. 

It's because of you. 


  1. Poetry. Gospel. Truth.

    Preach, Tommy!!

    You sound far from a tin-plated blowhard. This is music.

  2. Ugh. Whoever made you feel like that, deserves a lot worse than they got. That being said this is beautifully written and/or spoken. 🎨🎡🎢🎼🎭

  3. Ugh. Whoever made you feel like that, deserves a lot worse than they got. That being said this is beautifully written and/or spoken. 🎨🎡🎢🎼🎭

    1. Not a lot of people understand but the ones that do we call our tribe.