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Friday, April 23, 2010

About Art, Artists And Integrity...

The following piece is an essay of sorts, created by this writer, with several quotes attributed to their original authors. It is not my intent to take, steal or profit from the hearts, intellects, and spirits of others.

I hope you will read it, especially if you are a starving, budding, or even a successful creative artist.~ L.M. Ross

"I am for integrity, if only because life is very short and truth is hard to come by." ~Kermit Eby

What is the purpose of Art and True Artists? Is it not to be a vessel, a conduit of the truth inherent in human nature... and to reveal its glorious beauty and the ugliness of its underbelly, too?

From a very early age (seven), the creative arts have been my rescue, my best friend, and my salvation. It began with turning observations and internal sensations into rhyme schemes penned well enough to be called a Poet... then this morphed into other forms of expression: a Portrait Artist, Photographer, Lyricist, Short Story Writer... and finally, Novelist.

The great poet Langston Hughes called people like myself: "Genuis Children."

Please, don't get it twisted! I wouldn't dare go so far as to claim I possess any stroke of genius. WE are all stars, and my star has existed without even a miniscule inkling of self-important brilliance.

I was, however, always that different kid... you know, the wierdo, a little too mature for cartoons and comic books, and a tad too cerebral for childhood games. Always happiest or at least more content to find other ways of expression, I sought to create a world all my own.

Truthfully, I'm not sure I was ever cut out to do or be anything else, other than to be creative.

As Creatives, I believe this becomes our calling. It is what keeps us alive and breathing air. And we breathe out loud... with either our esoteric voices, or our observant eyes, with our communicative bodies, or our brazen brushes, with our curious minds, or with our miraculous pens. We breathe and we lean into the winds of Truth. That truth is all the things we as human beings are. It is ineffably beautiful and radiantly mysterious. It is hauntingly hopeful and precariously pessimistic. It can be pleasingly sensual... or hideously ugly. What we do is primarily speak the truth, lead with truth, and we continue to push those staid white envelopes in order to convey a core message of some essential Truth. This is the essence of Real Artistry. This is the path, the promise, and the purpose of what true artists seek to convey.

I'd like to think that people who are artists are placed here by God to narrate human existence; and then to make some divine sense of it.

This is probably His way of channeling His Voice, His Vision, His Hope and His Dream for us as a society.

Or maybe it is His way of playing a very cruel joke on us.

In a more perfect world, I would like to believe, that as artists, we are men and women of honor. Of course, sadly, that is not always the case. Dishonor runs rampant in the world and in the arts.

This ramble is really about putting one's life, experience, mind, heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, years, and faith into the oiginal creation of a thing, and then for its creator to be cheated, taken, stolen from... by who who poseeses great hubris. but who lacks a soul...

"Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share and sought advantage over no one." ~ Robert Brault

Still, we endeavor to stand strong, tall and fearless in the face of philostines and narrow-mindedness, haters and ignorance, and most of all those steely, unfeeling monsters of greed and avarice that seek to stand in our way.

"Integrity has no need of rules." ~Albert Camus

I have known my share of teachers and innovators, of masters and muses and demigods, too. Some of those wondrous teachers have held my hand, kissed my cheek with the brush of confidence and lifted my spirit by their sheer unfaltering belief in my talents. Thank You, God, for placing those beautiful people in my path!

"The voice within is what I'm married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from. That's my true partner. It's always there. And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner."~ Byron Katie

I have also witnessed the acts and the actors acting out in actions of artificiality. I have seen the rise and fall of true genuius... and heard that rusted crackle of jackals who SWOOPED down out of nowhere and schemed to engineer their fall.

"A life lived with integrity - even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune - is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come. ~Denis Waitley

There are always monsters among us. Although they may take on human form, these are, in fact, the vilest serpents of pestilence. Their main objective is to put a plague upon the house of creativity. They may not show their slimy tails, their razor-like saber teeth, or openly display their blood-dripping claws, but they DO exist. They may look like people you know, and people you might even trust, but they are, in actuality, demons with an insatible lust to corrupt and destroy the rushing breath of a dream.

"There are many winds full of anger, and lust and greed. They move the rubbish around, but the solid mountain of our true nature stays where it's always been." ~ Rumi

I have tried, even in my weaker moments, to always stand tall in the face of demons; to not topple and fall from that perch I'd erected from the words and deeds of my life, or from the actions of my own dreams. Still, I am a human being, in some ways fragile, as a guilded bird, with one poetic beak of song.

I get lost in the utter wrongness of it all, caught up in the perpetual b.s... become frustrated and angry... and I falter sometimes. You see, I have been dishonored! I AM BEING dishonored! The monsters have torn into my flesh and sucked my blood with a ravenous greed.

"In art, the only one who really knows whether what you've done is honest is the artist." ~Bruce Nauman

Note to the struggling Artists who may some day read this:

As creatives, I, and you, and we all must continue and perservere, to fight and bleed, to rally and breathe through the attacks, through the assaults, through the attempts to break us in two, and yes, even through the failures. Through it all, we must remember that we are only spirits having these intensely (sub)human experiences, many of which, can rob our souls, IF we allow them! We must never be victims of man's avarice, but instead become keen students of it. We must never define ourselves by mishap or circumstance, but instead, be examples to the massess of how we rise!

"Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself – and thus make yourself indispensable." ~Andre Gide

Success, True Success is in The Rising from the fall. The deepest and most pure Truth of all lies in one's own personal integrity at any cost. And although we may not always know the rewards and glories from our accomplishments, and we may not be on receiving end of what we are truly owed, God Pays Attention!

"The elegance of honesty needs no adornment." ~ Merry Browne

And so, we MUST press on, with our spines erect, steadfast in our mission; even if we might never become those happy shiny people dancing in the fool's gold bling of some shallow and fraudulent man-made fame. Still we remain... Artists! Chosen people who innately possess the gift to express and exquisitely narrate, who sing and manifest all the songs within this wondrous thing called humanity.

For this I will always be happy and proud. For this, I do not whisper in shame, but instead, Shout Out Loud: I AM AN ARTIST!

And would like to thank the, perhaps, tens of thousands of people who'll I'll never meet, who have experienced my work, who were encouraged, touched or repulsed by it; who were alarmed or informed, who were either soothed or moved by it. I find my glory in those golden moments when I have channeled and connected, when I've sang and danced with those shimmering, beauteous, mercurical muses... and made them whisper YOUR naked name.

"Honor is self-esteem made visible in action." ~Ayn Rand

That's it. That's all.

Snatch JOY!


L.M. Ross

copyright © 2010 by L.M. Ross