Let me have some real talk time with you guys. I've held off on this post for a cool minute because I never wanted this blog to be political. However, I feel this is something that isn't discussed as much as it should be. I've had a few conversations with people on this topic but they always ended up getting really argumentative on both ends rather than constructive. I want to extend some of my ideas and thoughts on the whole idea of art vs. artist vs. person though because I feel like people don't really understand the difference, so what better way than this blog?
Ima start off by saying I am not here to say that anyone is right or wrong in the way they think or feel towards artists they listen to, or artists in the media. You can and should listen to whoever you want to. As well as, NOT listen to whoever you choose not to listen to.
what does Art vs. ARTist. vs. Person even mean?
I used to tell people I think we should separate art from artist, and ill explain why in the next subheading, but there's another level to this that I think people have neglected looking at, myself included. Let me try to break this down simply. Artists create art. Thats easy to understand. Plain and simple. But where does everything else come in? Where do all the life choices, the mental illnesses, the personalities, the interactions, the political views, etc fall under? Are they a part of the ART, ARTist, or PERSON.
I can choose to paint a picture of someone being murdered. I (as a PERSON) am going to paint (as an ARTist) a picture of someone being murdered (the art)
1) Does that choice (as an artist) make me a murderer (as a person)? 2) Am I a bad person for painting that? 3) Is someone bad for appreciating the skills of the painting itself (the art)? 3a) What if the painting (the art) isn't even skillfully painted? 4) Is someone stupid for still liking it (the art) even if its not skillfully painted (by the artist) 5) Am I a fake artist because I painted something i've never experienced or done?
1- As an artist I created art from the perspective of a murderer. As a person, no i'm not a murderer for that.
2- All I did was paint it. As an artist, I painted it. So no, i'm not bad person for painting that.
3- The painting was beautifully painted. The colors, the textures, the brushstrokes, the depth, the detail, were all well executed. Thats undeniable. So no, someone is not bad for appreciating the skills of the painting itself.
a) It doesn't have to be skillfully painted. I wanted to paint it and I may not be good at it but I still wanted to do it, so I did.
4- People can like my painting even if i suck at painting. Different strokes for different folks. One mans trash is another mans treasure. Sometimes we relate to chaos because we too, are chaotic. Sometimes we like things for no good reason, so no they're not stupid for still liking it.
5- Being an artist doesn't always mean your art is a part of you. As an artist, I want to show people how real things can be. Even if i haven't done/experienced it, as a person, i'm not naive to it. So no, i'm not a fake artist because I painted something i've never experienced or done before.
Each question and answer shows how easily we can confuse all three: art, artist and person.
Should we separate an artist from their art?
Separation of art and artist comes down to being able to differentiate talent and personal liking. The separation of art and artist is being able to accept that 1) ARTISTS are creatives and 2) Art is completely and utterly subjective.
Oftentimes, we're set on the idea that artists need to remain the same to be a good artist. That they have to upkeep a certain image, or stick to a certain vibe. It's unsettling and confusing for us to watch artists making constant shifts in styles. However, that is one of the beauties of art. It CAN always change, and it does. Some art can be horrible to one person, but life-changing for another. I think that we can like artists as a whole, or we can like some of the art that an artist puts out. I also think we can not like an artist as a whole, but still like some of the art they put out. I respect Kendrick Lamar as an artist, but I don't like his art. I'm not particularly fond of his music. So there I make a separation of Kendrick as an artist and Kendricks art. I don't disregard Kendricks musical accomplishments or his influence simply because his art doesn't hit home for me. I shouldn't say I don't like Kendrick Lamar if I simply don't like Kendrick Lamars music.
I love Travis Scott as an artist. I love the way he dresses, I love his shows, his performances, his vibe. Travis Scott as an ARTIST is a songwriter, singer, rapper, and producer. But do I always love his rapping? No. Do I always think he has the best songwriting? No. Do I think every song is good? No. I understand each piece of his art he puts out, isn't everything he is as an artist.
Should we separate an artist from a person?
I do think we need to take a step back and really look at how we differentiate an artist from a person. I had been thinking about this for a couple of months now. Mostly around the time 6ix9ine started gaining traction in the music industry. His entire presence was automatically overshadowed by the drama stirred up around him over the accusations of sexual misconduct. Im not really going to get into that too deeply, for multiple reasons. One being, I honestly don't know all the facts around it. That being said, Im not going to speak on it as if I know what did happen, what didn't happen, who did what, who didn't do what, etc. Another reason being I want to show that his choices as a person don't directly relate to music he's making as an artist.
My bf was always singing GUMMO and I just took it as a joke all the time, didn't take it seriously at all. Then I took the time to actually listen to his music on my own because I pretty much do that with all music. I'm not even gonna lie I actually sorta liked it hahaha but I didn't even understand why. At the time, I wasn't keeping up with any media news at all so I didn't really know about all the legal stuff going on with him. But, for some reason this guys rainbow hair, 69 plastered, loud self really didn't allow me to take him or his music seriously, aside from having a guilty pleasure for it. Within time, it was undoubtedly taboo to like 6ix9nine BECAUSE of all the criminal charges. So for a cool minute I denied myself any enjoyment of his music. However, it really got me thinking. It was such a huge deal. Everyone was talking about him, hating his every move, just slandering him to the ground. It confused me how his numbers were doing so incredibly well, despite everyone claiming and refusing to listen to anything he put out, so as to not support "a person like him". I slowly started admitting to my secret liking of his music to people. And to my surprise... I soon began having people admit the same thing to me because I was open about how I felt instead of slandering him. Arguing or discussing this topic with people rubs them the wrong way. I've been seen as this "bad" person for supporting a "bad" person. When, enjoying someones music in general has no attachment to any feelings towards the person themselves. Simply put, his numbers are doing well because people support the artist more than the person. However, people are denying it because they think supporting the art = supporting the artist = supporting the person. Which isn't true. Art and artist do go hand in hand. And the artist IS the person. But the person isnt ONLY an artist. Supporting an artist can end at that. Supporting the art they're putting out.
The only way I was able to get people to sort of see where I was coming from was by presenting other artists/performers who had been accused/charged of things. Because, let me tell you... there are PLENTY of other people who have done wrong, and their wrongs are or have been overlooked. A friend of mine, Cash (@cashionout - instagram) put it into perspective really well with some of peoples favorites right now.