Deep down inside everyone has a hidden artistic talent and or proclivity for the esoteric. Some of us play musical instruments, others act, paint, write, sing, cook, spoken word, dance, tell jokes?
I realize that while exercising my artistic chops I feel like I am functioning at the highest level of productivity and bliss. It seems the heart, mind and soul is firing on all cylinders when creating something new that can hopefully inspire some kind of emotional reaction for the good of those around us.
Mentors have told me that real art occurs when the focus of the effort is centered on the quality of the work itself, rather than a commercial or egotistical outcome. A true artist needs to devoid themselves what others think and concentrate on what they have to say through their medium.
No doubt the majority of real artists have day jobs. Those fortunate enough to do art for a living are considered crazy, unless they are rich, then they are considered eccentric.
I truly admire those who can play music and write songs. Many of those troubadours will never make it big, be on TV, or release a CD, but are authentic accomplished artists, oftentimes with better ability then people who find themselves famous. Most expensive pro quality musical instruments are sold to non-professionals.
Occasionally in resignation we get our kids to take musical lessons to sublimate our regret for not keeping up with the guitar and becoming the next Santana. If someone could come up with a way of selling an air-guitar, someone could make a billion dollars on Viet Nam-era males at old school parties alone.
Art expresses an outward expression of what seems to be going on in the soul. This works well when a hair designer comes up with a new color and cut, giving someone a new hipper identity. It can work to the determent when you see some junk sculpture that reflects an urban blight, or the ravages of future shock tasered society.
We really have to give it up to the musicians who have full time day jobs yet take their bands up and down the state playing no money dive gigs, just for the joy of entertaining people, laying it all out there, in the outside hope that the music will get them somewhere. Good examples of this are my friend Dan and his band Tabu, Jr. DeVille and Gwen Cardenas. Someday they will find that the joy of doing the music was its greatest reward in itself
As a writer, I am glad that I don?t have to take my show on the road and play dives across the country to display my chops. The downside is that the feedback good or bad is few and far between. If we had a band and took the show on the road, I could know immediately if people laughed or I completely bombed. Ironically because of email the feedback comes sometimes quicker than a beer bottled tossed at the stage.
My wife and I have found that in our midlife, the expression of the artistic muse vastly improves the quality of life and keeps us vital, inspired and in the mix. She takes flute, piano and occasional voice lessons. I have taken up the electric bass, some blues guitar, and have been called on to paint the house.
We have found that if you want to improve the quality of life, make an effort to let your creative juices flow. As a writer people have given me their work to critique. It is always encouraging to find folks who have a hidden talent, or comedic timing, the ability to decorate, or an older friend of mine, a retired teamster who is the best cook I have ever met.
My Dad was a weekend musician; being a guitar player defined his identity. He was at his happiest when playing for a house party or rehearsing every afternoon for a pizza parlor gig two weeks off in the distance. Music helped him transcend the mundane life 9 to 5 life of a warehouseman and transported him into a world where he was a special somebody with skill. His gravestone has a guitar etched on it; maybe mine will have a PC.