I was perusing facebook earlier and came across a post by someone that I respect and admire that I responded to and I'm going to reuse my response here, as it is applicable to today and to the them of this blog in general and some current issues.
Being grateful is important and yes fortune can turn on a dime, believe me I know that all too well. I like people making art even if it isn't avant garde or underground, there are always those whose creations have or are geared to mass appeal, and that can be a binding thread in a world that sometimes has too few. My hope in any art is that it challenges us to think in some way and that we learn or are changed by it and that by its legacy and prosperity, that it makes the world a better place by it having been created.
Great art isn't always defined by the risks it takes in confronting social values, as making people think about or question those values doesn't require them to be shocked. We see something and maybe we realize something about ourselves in process. Maybe that thing that we see helps us to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, or gives us the confidence to succeed. Maybe its a wake up call about something we should be mindful of. The question is what do we do with what we learn in that way?
Yes there are people who try to steer or control art and the artist during the creative process so they can see themselves in its reflection and that is the ultimate narcissism as is forcing the painter's brush. The artist should be free to create and if someone shows up in that reflection, that is a sincere (perhaps silent) nod to that person or to people of their demeanor and a way of saying, "the world is better because you're in it" and I see you and you're beautiful. Love yourself. It could just as easily go the other way too. This includes every art form there is. Painting and Graphics, Movies, Theatre, Music, Television, Literature and Verse, Fashion, Sculpting, Architecture, Body shaping, and of course Parenting. There are others that don't get recognized as well, but they're there. The artist though should never feel ashamed or be made to feel narcissistic because they sign their art (or have their picture near it as is the case in most written works).
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Is art the social mirror or is it the guiding force? I think that it's both. That is why the magical brush of art and creation should be wielded with care. "Be gentle for she is delicate".
Read the story of Echo And Narcissus as I think that it tells much.
Thank you for challenging my views enough to really think about them and express them and enjoy whatever you may be celebrating today. You're a great artist.