(Photo by Alex Borland)
The goal of an artist is to bear witness to the circumstances and conditions of society and find a way to transform those conditions by personal expression. Hopefully, that personal expression is able to educate and enlighten his/her audience and others. It doesn’t matter if the artist is a musician, poet, photographer, painter, or a singer. He/she has the fundamental ability to channel whatever the world brings them (social conditions, politics, injustice, etc.) and express their vision to the world. This ability illustrates how important the role of the artist is in society. There was a time in the world, in many different societies, where the artist had a prominent position in the way governments and communities functioned. Seeking to change perspectives through the logic of their artistic interpretations gives people a different way of looking at the world, a different way of examining social norms and elements that directly affect communities.
Ask any person who is creative, and they’ll give you a myriad of reasons to why they create the masterpieces that they do. Their motivations and experiences are vastly different from each other, but they have similar reasons for creating their interpretations of the world. Some of those artists will tell you that it is also extremely difficult to create, and they could easily go for months or years without creating anything that is significant or substantial. The goals and ambitions of artists and creative people aren’t always the same, and it would certainly make for a very boring world if they were the same. The finished works, projects, pieces, etc. that they end up producing can alter perceptions, educate, and challenge assumptions that some people develop in their childhoods, without running into any resistance, until they are confronted with an artistic work that begins to reshape their deeply held beliefs. The ability to confront, challenge, and reshape isn’t a trait of all artists. Many don’t set out to be public people. Many actually would prefer to practice their craft in silence and obscurity.
Our goals and ambitions for creating may be different, but we strive to produce projects, albums, events, and books that reflect our subjective experiences. The essential hope is to transform whatever energy that inspires us into something that has a broader presence in the world. These productions that come from a greater part of our most authentic selves have the potential to serve a greater purpose. Why else would we dedicate our time and energy to creation? Why else would we interweave our truest emotions into a vision that becomes tangible for our audience? As the world transforms, the goals and ambitions of artists will change; usually that change will be based on the society where they practice their craft. We all know that people are perfectly capable of becoming products of their conditions and environment. The trick—especially for the artist—is to transform the environment into something beautiful.