Monday, August 3, 2015

Why Artists Hide: On Artistic Freedom and Self Expression in a World of Professionals

Many of us grow up with talent and passion for the arts. As we enter the professional realm most people sacrifice artistic endeavors in order to participate in culturally approved "grown up" or mainstream hobbies such as golf and spin class in order to appear professional and disciplined. Others shut down early on in the game because they feel that they aren't good enough, even as children. Although most people love to sing and paint there are many reasons that people feel obligated to hide their love of the arts.

We each have a unique imprint to leave on this world whether it is in the form of poetry, painting, pottery, theatre, photography, music or all of the above. There may be some people who have always thought that anything creative is boring and uninteresting but I simply cannot relate. I find that most of people with that attitude tend to be carrying barriers put up by the overbearing views of families and society. I believe that many people in this world feel unable to express themselves for fear of a negative social or economical impact.

Many of those that are still creating well into adulthood eventually give up their ambitions because they are not profitable enough. Others find ways to make it profitable by compromising the fruits of their labor, creating what they know will sell rather than what is flowing through their veins. Some struggle trying to make ends meet because they refuse to compromise. A select few have the resources, connections and luxury to be a truly free and respected artist.

Personally I have decided to keep on going even though I need to have alternate employment in order to remain financially secure. Songwriting and blog authoring are both very important to me however I certainly hide them from my workplace. I truly believe that my music and blog posts are harmless and even potentially helpful to others who can relate but it feels risky to share any sort of artistic endeavor in this society. I strongly believe that it doesn't have to be this way.

In our society we are taught to be closed. We are taught to "leave everything at the door" when we enter our schools and workplaces. In some ways this is good, work can be an escape from your personal troubles or at least a replacement of troubles. But perhaps life could be more open. Perhaps we could share more. Perhaps that would alleviate some of the weight depressing the masses instead of drowning hardships with tasty food, excessive media, juicy gossip and who knows what.

I believe that oppressing artistic expression is ultimately damaging to your psyche and emotional well being. Creatives who suppress their artistic energy often suffer from depression and anxiety. Some creatives go on to live vicariously through the creativity and expression of others who have been more successful. This can work to some extent, however I believe that having an artistic outlet is important in order to truly express and communicate the entire spectrum of emotions.

When I first "came out of the closet" as a songwriter I was a bit shocked by those who supported me and by those who did not. I had been writing songs for ages which I largely kept to myself outside of a few that I shared in Blues Band and Man Shoes. Many of my friends and family were supportive of my decision to begin sharing with the world, even more than I had anticipated, however there were a few people whom I considered to be near and dear who straight up told me that it was a bad idea.

I was certainly overenthusiastic, daydreaming about being a rock star as always. They were worried for my family's finances and reputation. I truly needed an outlet. One friend mentioned that I should write and share children's music instead of my music. I actually do write songs for my sons sometimes but my deepest expression lies in the songs that I write from the heart.

Sharing my music on Soundcloud and blogging with my best friend here at 11:42 Style are both extremely satisfying. Personally I feel like these projects are two of the best things that I have ever done in my pursuit of self discovery. I believe that it has certainly helped me professionally because I feel more balanced and at peace but I don't dare talk about either of them to my coworkers or clients! In the future I would love to see our society evolve into a place where authentic self expression is truly celebrated and shared beyond art, music and poetry class.

 & ♡ KM

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