Journal Entry: Sun May 29, 2011, 5:06 PM
I know I don't usually talk about really serious things here and usually joke around a lot of times, but allow me to be serious for a moment if you will. (Also, keep any comments at the end respectful please, I would do the same for you, I expect the courtesy in return. And please, if you comment, read it all through before you do, thank you.)
There's been something happening in the world for a while that I've noticed for a good part of my life, but really only started to understand in the last few years. I guess I should say the lack of something.
The people of my generation (or age group per se) have morphed and "evolved" our current society to be what it is today, and what it has become is completely and utterly complacent. (Most of the world, not all of it. Nothing is ever truly a blanket statement.) Everyone has become lethargic and apathetic to the rest of the world. And largely, they, we, all of us, are repulsively misinformed. Some probably think 'but I watch the news everyday,' well that is good, but learn to take it with a grain of salt. Every single bit of information we get through any source but our eyes has gone through someone else's filter. A corporation, a group of crazy people, a simply biased individual (which we all are). Why are we not questioning this information anymore? Why are most of us not researching what the real stories are and just taking the "sound bites" for truth?
So we all think everything is fine. Or, actually, we don't think it is, and we read about it every now and then, but our lives are not perfect and we focus on the daily minutia of things, and we think again and again, "what the hell can I do?"
WE ARE ARTISTS.
When has true change ever been in the hands of people in "charge"? Never. When has a revolution been caused by a large corporation, no matter how well intending it may be? Never. No, these changes come from us. Not just the general public (that can all do their part in their own way of course), but it comes from the artists. It's always been the artists, writers, musicians, the creators of the times.
In case you need a reminder or a history lesson, look at the case of some of the major art movements through time and understand what they really were.
The Expressionist movement began around 1905 in Germany. One of the overlapping groups of this movement was called Die Brucke, or "The Bridge." Their use of colors as symbolic and angular lines to convey different emotions and the simple validation of feelings being represented through an artists work were revolutionary, and quickly disbanded (some killed). The small group formed under tumultuous times and were the beginning of WWI meant (for the most part, though it exists in our art today thanks to them) the end of it.
DADAism came soon after WWI began. Artists were forced to flea the horrors of war that were being brought to their doorsteps everyday. This movement (or non-movement as they would have called it) rejected art because the powers that were destroyed everything that gave art meaning, and thus changed the way society thought. They were some of the first to use abstraction and collage and photomontage to create images to shock the viewers. And it worked.
Basically, these people had some serious balls to do what they did in the time that they did it.
So why now does it seem there is no unrest in our generation? Is it because the broken bodies, rape, and horror are not directly in front of us? Because the newscasters are no longer allowed to show us those gruesome images? It is not because the world is finally at peace. If you only get one thing from this, at the very least, let it be that. Don't let yourself be blinded, take back control of your sight.
We have a great legacy of revolutionary social changing artists and we are not taking advantage of the path they have paved.
We no longer (in most countries) get killed for our art and our voices.
So let's use them.
Look around at your world, there are hundreds of issues to be fought for and against; Women's Declining Rights, LGBTQ rights, Racism, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, etc etc etc, the list could go on forever. Many of these aren't as blatant as they were, say, in the early 1900s, but their secrecy makes them no less potent. You don't have to be directly affected by these to stand up for those who are. Look at the world and the amount of revolutions that took place at once; Haiti, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and many more.
There has to be a point when the people say, "We've had enough."
Then what am I trying to say? Drop everything, riot in the street, quit your job, beat people up, stop drawing what you love and only draw political art, go fight in a crazy battle? NO. I'm saying, never pass up the opportunity to do something. We all have and we all do every day, myself included. Find your voice, reflect these times in what you do. Most importantly, actively seek to make a change.
And never say "There is nothing I can do."
There are those out there who are already doing things like this. Not everyone is meant to be a spearhead or cause social unrest, but everyone can bring light to those who are. Seek them out, join them. Also, I don't mean anything like "don't appreciate what you have" in fact, hold on to it even tighter now, because things are about to change.
Our art is one of the most powerful weapons there is.
We are the molders of this society. The artists, the painters, the sculptors, the writers, poets, fashion designers, graphic designers, every single one of you has it in you to shape the world for the better.
Don't be content.
Stop this crime of complacency.