Monday Nov 15, 2021
Monday Nov 15, 2021
Monday Nov 15, 2021
In today's episode, I have compiled some of our more recent guests' answers to the question, "What is the most important role of an artist?" This delightful compilation brings a plethora of unique, honest, and inspiring answers to that question, and I'm excited to share part one of this series with you today. Enjoy!
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Episode 77 - "What's the Most Important Role of an Artist?" - Part 1
[00:00:00] Lindsey Dinneen: Hello and welcome to Artfully Told, where we share true stories about meaningful encounters with art.
[00:00:06] Krista: "I think artists help people have different perspectives on every aspect of life."
[00:00:12] Roman: "All I can do is put my heart in to the world."
[00:00:15] Elizabeth: "It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. It doesn't have to be perfect ever, really. I mean, as long as you, you're enjoying doing it and you're trying your best, that can be good enough."
[00:00:23] Elna: "Art is something that you can experience with your senses and that you just experience as so beautiful."
[00:00:31] Lindsey Dinneen: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Artfully Told. I'm your host Lindsey, and I am delighted to be bringing you another special episode today. We are going to explore all of the different answers to the question, "what's the most important role of an artist?" Over the last year and a half I have gotten to ask that question of so many artists and guests that have been on my show. And I absolutely love hearing people's perspective on this question. So I'm excited to bring it all together for you in this special episode that I hope you thoroughly enjoy.
[00:01:11] Ashley Taylor: I wrote about this one time and I'm going to try to summarize what I said. I believe that the role of an artist is to observe. Observe and express. So observation is a very important part of-- if you're the landscape painter, you have to spend a lot of time looking at the landscape that you're going to paint. And you have to observe the details in ways that you may not ordinarily if you're just looking at this picture, but trying to put it down on paper, you have to consider all of this at great detail. And so a metaphor that I love is -- as an artist drawing or painting or doing something visual like this, you have to always ask, "Where are the shadows in what I'm drawing, where the shadow is falling?" And that tells you: "Where is the light and where's the light coming from to cast these shadows?" and so when I expand that into sort of a metaphor for what the artist is doing, I think, I think that's what we are supposed to be doing personally is like, okay, I'm looking at life or I'm looking at the situation. Where are the shadows? Where are the dark things, the bad things?
[00:02:24] Right? But then if, if these are the shadows, okay, there's gotta be light coming from somewhere because shadows don't exist without light. I mean, if there was no light, you'd be looking at a blank black piece of paper. And we all know life is more than that . Anyway, so all that to say, I think the role of the artist is to say, "Where's the darkness, where are the shadows, where's the light? How do I represent both fairly?" And then let you draw your own conclusions. Like I can infuse my conclusions into what I make. But in the end, art is up for interpretation. It's usually subjective. And so, you may look at my story. And say, " well, the darkness is way more important than the light there. The shadows, you know, outweigh the light in this." But somebody else might say, "wow, look at the way the sun is shining." So that's what I would say to be a careful observer of the world and to draw out where the good things are as well as the bad.
[00:03:30] Bryant Williams: Artists needs to be truly authentic. You know, in this day and age, you know, whether people like that or not, it's--art is subjective--and be authentically you.
[00:03:40] Krista Eyler: I think artists help people in the world, see things in a different way. I think I think artists help people have different perspectives on every aspect of life. I mean, what would we do without, you know, the great playwrights who have shown us corners of the world that I will never see or make music from different countries that I, I didn't grow up in that tradition, so I would never have heard it. I mean, an artist's job is to enrich life for others. I don't, I mean, I inherently, I think the creation of art is kind of selfish because we have to, it comes from our brain, comes from our hand.
[00:04:25] We're very happy or sad with it. But I really think art is, for me--it's so cliche--but art is for everyone, and artists need to create for people out in the world who are non-artists, so they can see a different perspective of the world--they can hear something, see something, do something different that will be better and change, possibly even change your mind and then change how you operate in your daily life. I mean, that is a profoundly important thing that art can do is change how people think. And I mean, that's powerful. It's very powerful.
[00:05:02] Rick Wright: You know, I think there's some responsibilities that the artists have. I think honesty and, personal, personal perspectives. I think there's things that happen in this world that we need artists, creatives, performers to react to, to communicate about, guide, challenge. I think that's one of the more important jobs right now. There are brilliant, passionate artists out there that are that are making a difference. And I think that's super important. And I'll be honest that I don't necessarily think my own work is challenging any norms in society, per se, but I think those that are out there doing that really have my, my respect and I, I value that we all have a duty just to be honest with ourselves and you don't have to put up a front, you know, just be, be the person you are, do the work that you want to do and put it out there. You can choose how much of yourself to put out there. I mean maybe you're a little bit conservative by nature and that's fine, but you know, just those, those little, little pieces of truth are, are valuable.
[00:06:15] Roman Mykyta: I think the most important role of an artist is to be truthful about reality and how they see it. And along with that, to be honest, that opens up a lot of different doors, whether being truthful and honest is being very joyful and expressing the beauty in life, or it can be expressing the pain that we all feel, and then the way you treat that, whether it's with humor, with seriousness or drama, I feel like there's a place for all of those things. I'm sensitive personally about not overloading audience with what's negative.
[00:06:52] It's really important to be honest, to be raw and to express pain, honestly, but in a way, I feel like we are so inundated by bad news, and just other dramas and political things that I almost feel like if we're so out of balance that way, I would encourage artists to-- it gives the audience a bread and life from the other side. 'Cause in my personal life, I feel like in the people who I know we need more of a goodness color and light than we need more anger, but ultimately it's important to just be honest and truthful.
[00:07:30] Danielle Guy: Once again, going into the true thing, just tell the truth. I hear this all the time with actors where they're, where they say, "Oh, acting is my escape." And that's, those typically are the actors that are kind of hard to work with because it's not an escape. A lot of these characters are created out of some sense of reality. And I feel like we do them a dishonor by taking someone's potential life or potential situation and putting it on as a mask to escape the reality in our own. So it's just, you know, doing honor to the text doing honor to what has come before us.
[00:08:09] Erin Paige: To be authentic. I think it's vital as an artist to be as true to yourself as you possibly can. To be as authentic--oh, I just got covered in goosebumps-- that's, that's how I know I'm speaking from my authentic self, I always tell people. Yeah, just to be as authentic as possible, and that serves others. If you're not showing up in your most soulful or authentic self, you are denying those of us that are looking at your art, watching your art, listening to your art--you're denying us that divine gift. So please, please, please. think it's vital for artists to be responsible in their artwork by being as authentic as possible. And that's, that's what I have to say about that.
[00:09:04] Elizabeth Cooper: I would say being true to yourself and your passion. A lot of art is--it's interpretation of what, what you see around you and what inspires you. So you know, I would say that it's really being yourself and letting yourself and what you see shine through.
[00:09:27] Jeremiah Kauffman: I can't speak for all artists, but for a lot of us, the role of an artist is to, to move people and to hopefully elicit, inspire some kind of change in others. Some kind of, so, all right, you know, it could be producing positive change in society. So the role of the artist might be, of some artists might be, let's take-- the, the novels that were written about the canneries and the meat packing plants. That was a form of art, but it was designed to move people to make change and make positive change in society. The role of the artist is to entertain. You know, the role of the artist is to help other people love more deeply, to feel more deeply, to elicit joy, to elicit critical thinking too. Encourage people to also become artists. See, if I'm writing and I don't inspire anyone else to write then what was, what's the point? You know, I hope that as a writer, I inspire other people to write. So an artist is also someone who, whose role is to encourage the continuation of art.
[00:10:45] Katheryn Krouse: I think an important role for an artist is to just be authentic and true to, true to themselves. And even if that's not always the most likable approach to things, I mean, I think that that's an important role.
[00:11:02] Heidi Loubser: So, okay. Maybe this isn't a role but I think I would say--to be telling, or, you know, in dance or other forms we're not telling, but to be sharing the truth. I think of artists in some ways is a huge part of like the global marketing team. I mean, if you think about what people's opinions or worldviews or just what they believe about it, any number of things, art is often a huge part of, of how they got there. You know, we're not creating those ideas obviously, but I think artists are usually the ones expressing them or propagating them or suggesting that this is closer to what it should be, what we should be fighting for.
[00:11:47] Or even if it's, as artists are bringing joy and we're just bringing some humor and laughter and, and entertainment, you know, which is totally real as well, that's suggesting that that's valuable in life, right? So in my mind, there's a lot of different things you could be expressing with art, but it's the most important thing for me is just that what you're expressing is, is true. It lines up with reality, which doesn't mean that it's not fictional. I mean, obviously you could do a play about a fictional story, but you're, you're sharing truth through that. Not that it's factually correct, but you're, you're promoting and you're encouraging things in life that are really important and matter.
[00:12:33] Grace Strachan: To share their gift. To make sure that everybody is aware of their gift and to be proud of their gift. I think there's too many artists that, you know, I mean, I always remember hearing people say, "Oh, they want to be an artist. What are they going to do to make a living?" I find that sad. I find that very negative. I think what's wonderful about life now is that most people have more than one means of income. So artists have the advantage. Now there's a lot of ways that they can make a living, maybe not making okay, total living, but at least help support their art. And so I think the biggest thing is that people, when you have somebody that shows artistic talent, nurture that and, and have them share that with the world.
[00:13:27] Julie Ulstrup: Well, I think it's to connect. To connect with my self as an artist who I am so that I can connect with the people in my art and the people who are looking at my art, experiencing my art for many, many years.
[00:13:50] Kevin Dinneen: You know, I'm going to kind of cheat because I think it's up to each individual artist, and I think all of the roles of art are important. So you can think of the role of an artist portraying a social issue to bring about positive change. That's so important, but if you have an artist who is really gifted and really enjoys entertaining, a lighthearted entertainment, then I think that that's where they need to go. Then that is just as important of a role as, you know, bringing a social change or whatever, 'cause that's also a social change actually. And maybe, maybe an artist feels that he or she is is called to educate through art or inform through art. I think that they are all important and I feel like it's important for each artist to embrace his or her passion, and not conform to what they were, what he or she was told is art.
[00:14:56] Oh, it's not art if, you know, people can understand it. Or it's not, it's not art unless it's on canvas, or it's not art, unless it's to the point where it gets into a museum, or whatever it is that that people are told is not art. If you're it, whatever it is, I think whatever an artists' passion is, I think it's important for them to play that role. 'Cause they're going to do it better than if they were doing something else and they're going to do it better than someone else who has a different passion as well. So I think they're all important. And the most important thing is to follow your passion.
[00:15:34] Elna VanGreuning: I think they give other people a way of escaping. Not everybody, you know, has the talent to be an artist. Or maybe everybody's got the talent. We just don't work on it, maybe. You know, I always think I can't sing or draw. So therefore I want to, you know, stress that art can be different forms. And I think artists brings a form of art to us that maybe we cannot make ourselves or participate in, but can appreciate. And I think it's very important because I think we can't just work all the time. I think it's a stress. It helps with stress and I just think for your own psyche, it's wonderful to enjoy something beautiful.
[00:16:27] Liza Lomax: The most important role of an artist... being themselves and being their authentic selves. I think, you know, artists take a risk at everything that they do because you could be easily rejected or easily accepted. And if you show your authenticity through your work in anything that you do, not just art, but I mean, we're talking about art right now, but to show your authenticity through your work, makes it very valuable.
[00:16:58] Trenna Reed: think probably connecting to the audience, whether it be the person looking at your painting, or the person watching you perform, or watching the movie you created, just finding some way to connect to the people who are consuming that art.
[00:17:27] Kent Rader: I think to bring joy and happiness and a different end, to bring a different perspective, but especially today, we have a lot of difficulty in the world and if we can help someone through that, that's what I think we should be doing.
[00:17:42] Meghan Spencer: I think creation, and this is something that I've been thinking about a lot, actually in the last, in the last year. And even in the last six months as we've been dealing with all, all the crazy that is 2020. I think for me, especially, but I think for artists in general, creation is the part that matters. And we have this like funny joke at our studio of saying, "Well, that's a choice." And normally it means like you're doing something silly or weird or whatever. But at its core, it really means that as an artist, your choices are all that matter. And I can have an opinion about your choices, but at the end of the day, they're your choices to make. And making those choices of how you want to make the art that you're making is on you, and whether or not other people like it or agree with it, or even understand it, doesn't really matter.
[00:18:52] Lindsey Dinneen: So I believe the most important role of an artist is to share beauty, hope and joy with the world. And I realize that there are so many things that artists can express. And I love that. I love that art can tackle very difficult topics and open up conversations about things that need to be discussed. And I, I so admire that. I think that there's a place for that, but I think ultimately, opening up those conversations and dealing with those difficult topics can lead to hope and optimism that the world can be changed and that things can be improved. And whether that just starts with the one person who was inspired by that, or whether that spreads out through an audience that thinks, "Wow, I've never looked at it that way before. And I am empowered. I am empowered to make a change. " And I think it's so important that artists can take life and give it this gorgeous rich goodness.
[00:20:16] Robyn Jameson: Well, the role of the artist is to create and to create authentically from the heart. I think the role of the artist also includes sharing what they've created.
[00:20:28] Lantz McDonald: I think honesty is probably the highest up there for me. I think that with a lot of art that is deemed not great or not good, it often has to do with the amount of honesty being portrayed. And if your sole focus is to just make a dollar or trying to, you know, slam an idea in somebody's face, it's not going to come off as well as if you're pulling from your heart and expressing yourself with honesty. There's, there's satire and stuff like that, but at its core, it still has an honest or a truth to it. And I think quality of art is very dependent on that truth-telling. So I'd say for anyone who's wanting to be an artist or who is an artist--let's face it, we all are at some extent-- just be honest with yourself and you will absolutely make something great.
[00:21:28] Helen Ransom: I think it's storytelling and it's trying to capture that moment, whatever that moment is. And, and the role of the artist is to tell that story the way they see it. And, you know, so for me, it was like that competition image that I've entered of the mom who was just done with the day and trying to capture that in a way that maybe people who, you know, if some men could see that be like, "Oh, that's why the dishes are still dirty when I come home, because she's done. She's done what she can to keep the kids alive." And I think the role of the artist is just to tell that story and to draw attention to things in the world.
[00:22:11] Crystal Tiehen: You know, it's interesting because I wouldn't even call it a role. I believe we are all artists because we are all co-creators. This is a belief system that I, I choose to really lean into is that we are all co-creators. And so having it as a role is something to say, I'm going to prioritize this. I'm going to prioritize the fact that I have the capability to be creative. I have the capability to be an artist and, and really being able to open up those doors for anyone that is willing to embrace it.
[00:22:56] Alden Miller: The showing or expression of the art, because it does no good for it to be in your head, in your head alone.
[00:23:04] Emerson Mertens: So I think for me, the most important role of an artist is really to share truth, hope, and beauty through my art. And that may look different depending on the type of art or the topic. It might not always be obvious on the surface, but I think that at least one of those things usually lies at the heart of nearly everything we share as artists. So to give an example of what I mean, an artist may create a piece that reflects a very difficult subject. So it might not really be positive or, or joyful in the presentation because of what that subject is, but there might, there may still be that truth that can be learned from that or a spark of hope that's conveyed to the audience. So no matter if we're painting a picture of colorful, pretty butterflies in a field, or I'm choreographing a dance about a really hard struggle like anxiety or loss. I believe that as artists, we should always try to look for those opportunities to bring that truth, hope, or beauty into our art in, in a way that really highlights the meaning and the purpose behind it.
[00:24:30] Kim Pierce: Ah, well, from the perspective of a makeup artist, it can be a little different from any other medium because makeup artistry quite often is to serve a client's needs. And once you're not necessarily putting out your own artistic vision, so for headshots or weddings, or even if you're doing like a commercial photo shoot where you have a director and they're telling you what they need or want, you're fulfilling someone else's vision. So, in these instances, my role is to execute that dream, that picture from someone else's head that I've never seen, and adapt that to the client or the model's facial structure and their skin tone and make whatever vision they have come true for that. And so that role is important to my livelihood and it also brings joy. It brings fulfillment when the client is satisfied, but that doesn't always fulfill what I need creative creatively, if that makes sense. I feel like I'm always grappling for an opportunity to serve up my own idea of beauty and my own artistic sense. But I think that part of your job as a makeup artist is to achieve both, you've got to satisfy the paying client every time obviously. And you also have to make sure you're taking time and any opportunity to nurture your own creativity, because I mean, otherwise you're going to burn out if you're just doing the same thing over and over, and you're never stretching yourself, eventually you're going to be over it. So only until you can manage both roles as a makeup artist where you're fulfilling the client's needs, but you're also edifying your creative spirit, I guess just like cultivating that within yourself. We can't really move to the next level of artistry until we've met both of those needs.
[00:26:24] Anh Lee: I believe it's really getting their story out there because again, stories can come in so many different forms from sculptures and ceramics and everything that you can imagine. I know a lot of people of color are really trying to get their stories out there in the industry. And definitely there has been much more opportunity for them than there has ever before though. So, in COVID-19 the opportunities now, people can start connecting with each other much more easily, rather than going face-to-face and location that might cost them, might have much more cost to an artist anticipated. So really taking the opportunity now to share these stories, or even put these stories in development. So that way they could bring more awareness to the world or even enhance a beauty of a particular culture.
[00:27:18] Maggie Rader: Oh, to connect, I'd say. You know, we were joking before we started rehearsing. It's like, "Oh, why does live theater still exist when movies are around?" And if you mess up, you can just start over and you only have to do it once then. But that's why live theater is still around. It's so much about connection. And I feel like out of all the, and maybe that's why I love the stage. It's, I feel like when you're doing live theater, you get to connect so much more than in other artistic mediums that I love, and enjoy, but it's not my particular passion. So yeah, I think the most important role is, or thing you can do, is to connect.
[00:27:59] Tessa Priem: When I first heard you ask this question on the first podcast that I listened to, one of my thoughts was honesty. Just honesty, honestly relating whatever it is that you're trying to create. I suppose I've also heard that art shows us what it means to be human. I mean, but that, well, I guess that kind of goes back to your former question. But, I think, for me personally, as an artist, like it's my big goal to be real and honest with people as I possibly can. I don't want to lie or hide because as you mentioned, it is very scary to reveal what you've made. It's very scary to reveal yourself. So in that it does require a good bit of bravery. And so I guess for me, I really just try to work on being real and honest, but I also want to be like lighthearted and silly at times too, because I can be a little bit serious sometimes. So that bringing that joy and fun, and I listened to your podcast, Lindsey, and I know that's what you've wanted to bring to people through your company, like the sense of joy and happiness and people's lives.
[00:29:24] Shari Augustine: I don't know generally speaking, but for me, I enjoy sharing things with people to hopefully make an impact on them or make a difference in their lives. You know, one way or the other, whether it is looking at things from a different perspective or just appreciating the beauty, feeling the music or feeling the movement. When I was doing, I did the liturgical dancing for a while and when I did that--liturgical dancing is dancing in church--and it was always my prayer that the spirit moving in me would move the spirit in the person who was watching. So that's kind of, I like to have an impact on people by sharing my art.
[00:30:23] Debbie Dinneen: Keep an open mind and try, just keep trying and try anything. And then, teach if you can, if you have the opportunity.
[00:30:34] Joe Pilgram: I believe that as artists, we should hopefully be able to, when people see it, that it reflects whether it's the personal things going on with that person, or maybe it's things going on around them that, that, content shapes context, is it? No, I want to say it's the other way around that context shapes content. And a Rodney Mullen, professional skater that I've told you about several times that that's, what he talks about is when he sees, you're going out and he talks about how the environment, how can the environment change the very nature of what I do. And I think as artists, that's an ebb and flow ever changing. A lot of the times that as artists, I don't think we ever stand still.
[00:31:33] And like you, hope to find, you hope to be content. I think that's what we strive for is to be content, you know, or definitely happy with something that we're sharing with the world that you're, you're putting out there. I think, you know, being, being content with it is know, a, a big thing with art. We can always nitpick and tear things, you know, make things better. We feel, but, it never seems like your work is done. You could come back two years later and look at the same piece that you did and feel differently about, you know, your, your concept of what it was based on. And, you and I have probably experienced this with choreographers that set something on you, and then they say, "Oh, so-and-so is coming back to restage this piece on everyone." And in your mind, as an individual artist, as a dancer, you think, "Oh, this'll be easy. I already know this piece inside of the house," and the choreographer comes in, and there's a lot that's changed.
[00:32:51] And, you know, to, to maybe finalize on that is, you know, you see different quotes around. And even at my work, one of my work buddies has a thing posted up that says something along the lines of "Perfection is the enemy of the good." Like, you can have something that's really good, but maybe not perfect, but to get something perfect, it's like, you're going to reduce morale. You can tear yourself up terribly, emotionally trying to get something 100% perfect. And finding that contentment and going, "Yeah, I think I'm, I'm okay with that."
[00:33:32] Lindsey Dinneen: Well, I hope you enjoyed all of the answers to the question, "what's the most important role of an artist." As you can tell, we have such a diverse group of guests who have come through the show and it's been so much fun to hear their perspectives on some of these really interesting questions that lead us to think deeper about.
[00:33:54] If you have a story to share with us, we would love that so much. And I hope your day has been Artfully Told.
[00:34:04] Different aspects of art. So thank you for joining me. And if you're feeling as inspired as I am, I'd love. If you would share this with a friend or two and we will catch you next time.