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.

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