Hey everyone! I have been attending my school’s Debate Club for about 3 weeks now, and so far I’m loving it! I get to meet up with other kids who love talking about interesting topics just as much as I do. Last week, we discussed a topic that I felt really interested in writing about. I think it’s relevant to today and really important to think about especially in today’s world.
Should we separate the Art from the Artist?
Since most of the other kids seem to be a lot more knowledgeable than me, I had to ask what exactly this meant. It does not in fact solely apply to legitimate painter-artists. Which is what I originally thought it to be.
Artists can mean anyone who produces art. The exact definition according to Merriam-Webster is one who professes and practices an imaginative art. What qualifies an art to be “imaginative”, well that’s really up to you. To me artists include singers, actors, authors, and some others not quite as prominent.
For my practice debate, I was put on the affirmative side of the argument. Which was convenient because that also lines up with my personal opinion. To try and convey my opinion, I will first define what the art produced by the artist means to me.
Art. A work of art produced by the artist is a piece of the artist that has been molded into a physical form. Artists put themselves into everything they produce. Whether it’s a large or small piece is irrelevant. The artwork still contains the artist.
When looking at and criticizing my point, my first thought goes to song artists who don’t write their own songs. We often look down on them and think “Wow, they sing about [insert emotion/experience here] and they didn’t even write the words. How inauthentic and lazy.” But this is not true and honestly it’s a bit ignorant. The fact that some artists sing someone else’s words is quite a feat. They can produce such feeling and passion through words that they didn’t write. Not all storytellers write the stories. Some are just talented at retelling the story. We don’t look down on actors for not writing their own lines. Which is essentially the same thing, except the actors are just executing the words differently.
Okay, now to continue with the main point.
It’s necessary to join the art with the artists. When looking at the two separately, you lose some of the value and context needed to fully understand the art. Sometimes I find myself liking a movie even more when I know the backstory of the artist. I’m a big fan of everything relating to Harry Potter, so it was really interesting to me when I was told that the actress who played Minerva McGonagall had continued regardless of her having cancer in a portion of the films. She acted and played her character phenomenally despite her illness. If I had focused on her art solely, I would’ve missed the opportunity to appreciate it even more.
But it can go both ways.
Sigh. This next example I’m about to use it a little hard for me write about. I’m not sure exactly where my personal opinion lies on the matter, mostly because I have no idea what’s true and what’s not. The most recent allegations that have been made against Michael Jackson. The pop star who rose to become one of the most influential artists ever. It’s hard to find a person who’s never heard the name Michael Jackson before. Some of his songs move me in such way that I just have to get up and dance. It may be the beat, or his voice, or maybe just the messages that are conveyed through some of the songs. Whatever it is, it gets me pumped.
Or at least it did.
Ignorance truly is bliss. I wish I could ignore the possibilities of MJ doing the things some people are accusing him of. But I can’t. And yeah, I get it. To a lot of people, there’s no way he would’ve done that. But what if he did? I would be lying if I said his songs still sound the same. Radio stations in Canada have stopped playing MJ’s music for this very reason. Unfortunately, I can’t say I blame them.
By looking at just the art, it’s kind of like seeing it through tunnel vision. But when we back up and look at the full picture, we see the art in it’s entirety. This may be true for only me, but I feel like I would be lying to myself by focusing on only the “good” parts of art. By supporting the art, I support the artist. Let’s take R. Kelly. What if I just ignored the awful things he’s done and continued to support his music? By listening, I am giving him my support. And my support can easily be translated into my money. Which then goes to support him and his lifestyle. It’s so much easier to be comfortable within the ignorance, but it’s a lie. By being honest with myself with these things, I feel like it makes my life have more substance. But I don’t know, it could just be me.
Have an opinion on this matter? Don’t hesitate and leave a comment below! Thanks for taking the time to visit my little alcove, see ya later!