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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 checke…
By Seth Barnes

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.

“The
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.

“You
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.

* * * *

Footnote: Joe found the World Race and it tweaked his sense of adventure. Check out his response.

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.

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