Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Where Have All Artists Gone? The Conclusion: They're right here.

It's a question I often ask my coworkers: “What would The Breakfast Club be about today?” Would it be about five misfits learning that they're more alike than not, or would it be five kids on cellphones? I think the question is appropriate. I also ask about the common experiences kids have these days. Are pills and video games as prevalent as I think they are and can you really bond over such stuff? Also, what are the art and music and creative classes happening in schools these days? I don't feel like art programs are nearly as common anymore.

If we remove spending for art and theater and music in school, what will happen to our future?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Where Have All Artists Gone? Part 2, Your Artist Community

In those analog days I knew a great many people. At any given time I probably knew about 40 to 50 people. I had classmates, coworkers, and neighborhood friends. I still have about the same amount of people now. This group of people is fluid, they change, people come and people go. This 40 to 50 number of people is a very accurate assessment. This is strange only because I'm around this many people and I'm intimate with this number of people, so how is it possible that I have around 800 friends on Facebook currently?

When I was in my 20s and living in Denver's Capitol Hill the 40 to 50 people I knew were all doing something. We were all around the same age too. None of us had much, no mortgages, few had cars and no one had any kids. But there we were. I knew carpenters, musicians and people who worked serving breakfast so their afternoons could be spend making art.

Making art is not easy. It's not convenient. Oftentimes making art isn't even very much fun. When I think about sitting at my desk and writing, yes, I want to do it, but riding my bike or drinking gin sounds like a lot more fun. In fact if I could spend my days riding my bike and drinking gin, I just don't think I could ever get tired of it. I would, however, feel like I'm not doing the thing I should be doing, and that's writing.

The artist community that I knew in my 20s is mostly scattered now. Most of us have jobs, careers even, that do not reflect our artistic endeavors. Many of us have bills and debts and all of us seem to have children. The part of life I'm in now just cannot revolve solely around making art. Although, I think it should.

Yet, I feel like we talk about it. We talk about art, or writing, or music. We talk about the things we are doing, what we want to do. And I'm grateful that we do not talk about the things we did do.

My community is more varied now than ever. I don't hang around with artist solely. I do not always have someone to talk to about reading and writing. And the people I know these days find it strange that I do not know one spectator sport from another and I do not watch tv.

Your community, I think, defines who you are. I have friends that when we're together we party into the small hours and drink like the dawn will never come. I love these people and I love these times, but I'm grateful they aren't common anymore. If you want to be an artist, and no matter where you are in life, a young student, or a middle aged parent or an older empty nester, you must surround yourself with other artists. There are artists all around us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where Have All Artists Gone? Part 1, Was it easier back then?

At the risk of sounding like a sentimental old man with recounted tales of the good old days, let me deflate the notion instantly.

First, the good old days were anything but. Pick any decade and really think about the condition of the world, our country and you'll know that times have never been any better, or any worse than they are right now. These are the good old days. These are the days, and they will continue to be the good days until the last day. Also, there we have just as many freedoms along with just as many distractions now than we ever had.

But I do have to wonder if it was easier to just be an artist way back when. I suppose I should define way back when and I should describe the zeitgeist. For the sake of this post, I will classify back then as the world in analog (before say the W administration).

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Where Have All Artists Gone? The Preamble

We took a walk through an unsavory part of town today. I mean, sort of, there really isn't much in our little town that is unsavory. We got derelict neighborhoods, abandoned factories and we still haven't finished repairs from the 2013 floods.

Along the St Vrain river greenway between Issak Walton pond and Main Street, we walked through many an urban providence. Nearest the pond, which had been recently treated with a water herbicide, the views are of junkyards and quarries. Then past Boston Ave and Left Hand Brewing, it's vacant lots which are anything but. Later on, near the railroad tracks, the homeless encampments bring back memories of the Occupy Movement of 2011.

Sure, it's an industrial district, a warehouse and shipping area complete with trailer parks and railroads. I felt icky there. I especially felt icky when two shady characters were shooting up in a picnic pavilion.

At supper, we were recounting the views of the day. Janice mentioned these types of warehouse areas, mostly abandoned, should be a place for artists. How right. But where have the artists gone? I don't know any artists in our town. I do, but they're much older, live in nicer houses and made their money in real estate, banking or oil.

We talked about the artists we knew when we were younger, in our twenties, in early 1990s Denver. Perhaps it was easier to be an artist then.