hmmm- it’s a sort of ‘if a tree falls in the woods…’ perspective. i tend to think that God will find a way to get the message heard so get to know Him, let Him be your audience, and your ‘curator’. I do not imagine that any of those voices would have remained unheard. just a late night thought.
Is an artist only as good as those who love him?
So this Westmont alum named Joe Bunting emailed me: “I like how you said, ‘I was made to start things.’ I feel like I’m that way too. Do you ever have too many things to start in your head, and not enough time to implement them? How do you sort through the good ideas and the bad ones?”
I checked out his blog and was tweaked by his thoughts on art:
“My view of the role of the artist is shifting as I absorb a lot of the ideas in the blogosphere and in books, people like Seth Godin, Kevin Kelly, and Joe Taylor Jr. I’m starting to see the artist as a servant of the ‘tribe,’ as Seth puts it.
tribe needs the artist for entertainment and prophetic vision, but just
as much, the artist needs the tribe’s enthusiasm, energy, and support.
Last night, I needed–really needed–my
friends Travis and Graham. I needed someone to play for. I needed
someone to interact with my songs and join the conversation. I needed
someone’s ears to try and make them happy.
“An artist is only as
good as those who love them. An artist can be good, great even, the
best. But without people to play for, who’s minds are ready to hear
them, their artistic seeds will fall on rocky soil and wither.
can find countless artists throughout history who weren’t counted as
successful until they had a great champion of their message, a critical
voice in the masses, a curator who tells the world why they need to be
listening to their artist.
“Blake would have been nothing without
Alexandar Gilcrist, the unexpected biographer of his life. The Beatles
might have played in Liverpool and Hamburg for the rest of their lives
without Brian Epstein. Jesus wouldn’t have been half as successful
without John’s preparation and Paul’s translation.”
Impressive thinking for a college student, I thought. So I posted a response on his blog:
Very provocative post, Joe. What about an artist who finds his audience
too late (think Van Gogh)? In his own time not loved, yet loved by
future generations… Or someone internally tortured like Munch? There’s
an element of timing associated with the audience one finds. Does the
artist need to feel applauded to be good? Or, does the art transcend the
approval of men? What do we do with the happy, vapid sentimentality of
Kinkade loved by millions?
Maybe it’s not about love at all, but the act of provocation and
response. Maybe it’s a connection of any sort with the right brain, a
connection that proves to you and me the viewer or listener that we’re
alive and not autonomous – the very act of connection itself an
important outcome of the art.
* * * *
I specialize in the art of taking young people who are waking up to the kingdom, young people who have seeds of greatness in them, and launching them like cannon balls out into a world where that greatness can be nourished. Joe fits the profile well.
I don’t know much about art in its intrinsic forms and shades, but when I’m engaged by an artist’s skills and giftings I wait to see God glory demonstrated. Seth, as an artist, you have something I yearn for day and night. You said “I specialize in the art of taking young people who are waking up to the kingdom, young people who have seeds of greatness in them, and launching them like cannon balls out into a world where that greatness can be nourished…” I pray that one day I could say this line and their will be evidence to prove it. But if I can answer that question posted, like you, I’d say No! Jesus (all things were made by Him and for Him) yet, He’s so unloved by many. He deserves better; doesn’t He?
Good post. I like Joe’s heart. He’d be good to have on the team.
I don’t know if I’m allowed to reply to these comments. I’m sorry if it’s bad table manners. But I’m going to anyway.
I totally agree with you. But I challenge you to think through the practical logistics. How can the message be heard without someone telling them? And how can someone tell them unless they are sent? The argument that I’m building through posts like this and the one I made on April 25 is that the whole community is responsible for the success of its artists. This also means if the artist is honored, every part is honored with it. If you want, think about this in light of Rom. 10:14-15 and 1 Cor. 12:21-26.
So true, he does deserve better. But I put him in my post because I think he operates in this way too. He deserves better, but he chose people like Peter to champion his message to the world. Maybe the question, “Is an artist only as good as those who love them?” is misleading. Let’s change it to, “An artist’s message is only as succesful in the world as those who love them.” Jesus relies on people who love him to distribute his message. He might not have to do it that way, but most of the time he does. I, however, AM forced to. Incidentally, if you want to be a young person launching pad, don’t forget the artists in your community. Sometimes they’re not very good at launching themselves.
Sincerely, your post is making me think of this more than I thought I will, and it’s paying off big time for me. For instance, consider that God was so unknown in Egypt that He needed a name to be announced to His own people. Regardless of His unpopular status, He used an unwilling Pharaoh to become “successful”, if I may use the “new” word you introduced. Love Him or not, He can and will use everything to make Himself famous in all the earth. The story of the Exodus is all about God insisting He must be KNOWN and His work or Art, announced to all mankind.
But I get your point, it’s our love for Him that will advance His word, will and way to the ends of the earth. “Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter thrice in John 21:15-17. You are right Joe. Love is a major ingredient for “success”. BTW I love your Blog…will post soon. lol 🙂
I’m glad I’m making a little sense, and I think what you say about Egypt and Pharoah is right on. God has made himself “infamous” to his enemies and anything that sets itself up against him or tries to take his place. His “success” (by the way, I like the quotes you put around “success,” apt lesson) is built upon it. I confess, to bring it back to the artist, that I try to apply this lesson a little bit too, as you can see on my blog (see the “Please Leave if…” series). Thanks for engaging with my thoughts Uche!
I am so that same way about starting things!!! How do you do it! What are the best ways of dealing with all the things to start?
When I saw this title I was automatically drawn to it. I just knew I had to read it. It has really made me think this morning. I tend to be a little critical of my art at times because I want so much for it to be perfect(though I know it never could be). I do believe my art is a gift from God given to me for some purpose so whether others love it or not I must continue with it. I have never sold one piece of my art but only given it as gifts on special occasions or to members of the church for some special occasion. I still feel it was a blessing and therefore have been told many times it has touched and even changed peoples lives. Some art I do never gets compliments though and is even hated but I still feel like the gift was from God so therefore I was meant to be a good Artist.
It’s a hard gift to be given. Stay with it as long as you can. You won’t get compliments if you don’t work hard at it and take risks. You might not get them then either, but you’ll have learned something.
I hope you drop by my blog and leave a comment. I’d love to hear more about your art.