Here’s to the Artists

Being a creative person in 2019 can be complicated. On the one hand, technology allows any individual with a computer and an internet connection to create music, video and other creative content and share it instantly with a potential audience of billions around the world. That can be incredibly empowering and has allowed many people to find careers and an audience that they likely never would have found 10 or 20 years ago.

An artist at work (Photo credit - Tarryn Nero)

At the same time, it’s also easier than ever for certain people to hide behind the anonymity of the internet to attack anything and everything they disagree with, for reasons that are legitimate or completely biased and unfair.

In my experience, artists feel things very deeply, maybe more so than other people.

Many, many artist friends I know understand what it’s like to put your creative work out into the world, only to have a tiny minority of the audience go out of their way to attack, disparage, to make less of it. I have personally laughed and cried at the same time at some of the comments I’ve seen about me online after TV performances. They were so mean and so clever that I had to laugh. They also cut me to the quick and were deeply painful for me personally. But for the person leaving them they were simply an activity to pass the time. Almost every artist I’ve spoken with about this issue has had personal experience with it and can tell you exactly what the negative comment said, even if the ratio of positive to negative feedback was a thousand to one.

In my experience, artists feel things very deeply, maybe more so than other people. We feel compelled to share our art, whatever the medium, because it’s our attempt to make sense of the world around us, and often our effort toward improving that world in any way we can.

For all of these reasons, I especially love a video that Apple created for the 2018 holiday season. I strongly encourage anyone reading this blog to watch this short, beautifully made clip.

Being a Scientologist and an artist can be especially fraught. I have personally experienced the bigotry that can go hand-in-hand with being a member of a minority religion, especially one that is so new and sometimes misunderstood. If there were one word that I could use to define Scientologists as a group, it would be “help”. Scientologists are driven to help improve the world around them more than any other group I’ve been a part of. It’s one of the things I love most about my Church and its members. Spiritual improvement and the desire to help others, thankfully, go hand-in-hand.

There are tools in Scientology that have thankfully helped me understand why a small percentage of the overall population feels compelled to attack anything creative or positive. It’s not an exaggeration to say that those tools saved my life as an artist. I would absolutely no longer be creating music and other art forms the way I am today if I didn’t have a basic understanding of this kind of human behavior, where it comes from, and how not to let it affect me or my willingness to create.

What I say to every artist I speak to about this topic is simply this: keep creating, no matter what. The world needs art and artists. They create the future and bring out everything that is best and brightest in people. And those who would attack you for your beliefs or simply to pass the time only have power if you let them. Understanding what drives those who denigrate, I actually feel compassion for them and I’m also able to simply ignore any amount of negativity they might generate because I know it’s not what’s real or important. Art is important. Inspiring others is important. Uplifting the culture and giving others hope and a sense of purpose and excitement about the future is the most important work anyone can do. Artists bring their own special energy to that endeavor and deserve support and encouragement and validation. Here’s to the music makers and the dreamers of dreams, to anyone brave enough to share their creations with the world.

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