May 15, 2015

Artistic Generosity

B. B. King, singing his heart out

B. B. King has passed away, and so I’m listening to him on Pandora this morning. His emphatic passion combined with his precise control is one of the things that makes him great. He throws himself into his performance. I heard a bit about him on NPR as I was driving to work, and he said he treated each performance as an audition, and you can really tell.  He gives everything of himself.

I love B. B. King.

It matches something I’ve been thinking about a lot.  Being a public artist means you put yourself out there, heart and soul.  Ideally, an artist is an instrument of the people.  Each person who hears/views/reads his or her work should be moved, and to be moved, that artist has to give it his or her all. 

Not only that, but they have to be there, to show up.  You have to make yourself available all the time.  That’s why the most successful writers are always putting stuff out there, doing blogs and putting out new work as much as possible.

We know how we are as consumers of art ~ we’re insatiable.  We want new stuff from our favorite artists as soon as we finish the last one.  As it should be.  We want to re-experience that feeling we had when we read our favorite book or first viewed our favorite painting or the ideal time we listened to our favorite music rich with our listening history.

That’s a lesson I need to take to heart.  Not only do I need to throw heart and soul into what I do ~ I need to be putting it out there as much as possible. It’s a convenient excuse to say that I’m busy.  If I’m going to be an artist and a public intellectual, I need to put my money where my mouth is.

The amazing B. B. King.