Yes, you, with the starry eyes and the wildly beating heart…
you, with a love for beauty, truth, and that which is meaningful…
you, the writer, painter, composer, sculptor, singer…
you, the artist.
Can I tell you something?
You are important. You matter, and you matter a lot.
I know–believe me, I know–the whispers you hear everyday from the culture, from your friends, from inside of yourself. The whispers that say to you “Art is silly and frivolous,” or “You’re an artist? But what else? You can’t be just an artist,” or “Nobody cares if you make art. It doesn’t matter.”
I want to remind you, you beautiful, creative soul, that we–and others–will use any excuse to keep from creating things that are valuable and meaningful. Pablo Picasso once said that
Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.
I want you to remember the reason why you started making art, whatever that reason may have been. Whether it was to leave something that would last beyond your lifetime, or to declare truth and justice, or to entertain with a brilliant story, or to make something that echoes the beauty you can’t help but notice, you started with a reason, and I want you to remember it.
Because it is going to be with that reason that you will be able to wield your instrument of war best. “I didn’t know I was fighting a war,” you might remark to me. Oh but dearheart, we are. It is a war that started long before us, and will continue on long after us. This war is the fight that every human fights, whether they realize it or not. It is the battle to make life something more than living and dying with no thought to the in between. It is the struggle of doing something meaningful with the life we have been given. As artists, it is our job to record the stories of people (real and otherwise) who have succeeded, to help others see the beauty of the struggle we all experience, and to highlight everything in this world that makes life meaningful.
What a magnificent opportunity you have been given, creative soul.
Your art matters.