I'm surprised by the need for people to express themselves artistically, even though as a writer I am one of those folks who's got voices constantly chattering in my head and they won't shut up until I put their stories on the page.
For example, last night I passed a coffee shop where a folk musician was rocking out on a mandolin. Considering the venue, he was probably playing for tips. I'll bet this gig was the high point of his week even if it did zilch to pay his bills.
We see how artists express themselves but we seldom ask why, especially if they do something that seems a bit left field.
Photo credit: Westword
This last week I attended an exhibit at the Art Salon by the graphic artist Alon Paul. He put together an exhibit titled Muse:365, his homage to Madonna (Ciccione--the singer). What Alon had done was create images of Madonna, one a day for a year. I could think of other, more conventional outlets for my art, and the concept of the show seemed a little unhinged for sure.
Then I read Westword's article on Alon and the show, and what I discovered turned my head around. Alon was the son of a single mother. She was only seventeen when he was born, and as Alon wrote, "It was a kid raising a kid." The lack of money was a constant challenge and so Alon grew up in the finest trailer parks, as he put it, of Nebraska and Wyoming. They moved twenty times before his sophomore year. It was a rootless existence and Alon felt adrift, confused, and neglected by society. At the age of seven he discovered Madonna and became inspired by her drive and defiance to critics and popular opinion. She became the compass to his life, and Alon recognizes that his obsession with her is his crazy, but it's a good crazy.
Denver chalk art Larimer Square, 1st Place, credit Facebook Alon Paul
If Alon wanted success then he had to emulate what Madonna has done. Work hard. Focus. Shun the negative. When he decided to honor her with a show, he failed twice at producing work. Alon decided that if Muse: 365 was important, then completing the art became an exercise in discipline and sacrifice, and serves as an example to all us creative types.
For a taste of Alon's vision and Muse: 365 at the Art Salon, check out this YouTube video:
Great post, Mario. It's always great when we can turn our adversity into art...and hopefully stay a bit sane in the process. And, yes, as you say--turns you around, when you see the reason behind the effort...!