“Would you look over Picasso’s shoulder
And tell him about his brush strokes?”
-Dr. Dre, Deep Water
Hello, I started off the post with the above lyric from Dr. Dre because I don’t think it could have been said better than that.
People giving unsolicited opinions is one situation that cannot be avoided when one makes art and the issue of where to draw the line is always going to pop up at different times of one’s journey as an artist.
Picture a situation in which you are an excellent artist and you have made a great piece of art that resonates with the people and you went viral or blew up and now it’s time for you to make the next great piece of art.
Now here comes the sophomore album dilemma : which direction do you go? Do you go with the numerous fans who would be screaming they want more of the old stuff, you have your team telling to switch up your style, you have your sponsors dictating the next direction you should go and you have your soul telling you to just…do…you.
Ha! This is where the line gets blurred. If you decide to not listen to any one and just…do…you, it is seen by others as hubris, pride, overconfidence whereas you see it as keeping your artist integrity. I mean, the main reason they all love your work in the first place was because it was YOUR work, right?
I often think along that line. See, I am a very stubborn writer. I do not like to edit. Matter of fact, I do not show my team my work until it is done. Like I cannot show you my rhymes when I’m in the middle of the piece and you’ll tell me to change one line and just mess up the creative process for me. So when I’m done and I show you and even if “we” are not going to put that out, then I rip apart the piece of work( not literally) and get on another one rather than have you edit my message. See pretty stubborn.
There are a few reasons why artists are stubborn about you “ruining” their creative process. One is the fact that anything that gets put out automatically has your name attached to it-you’re the artist. So whatever you put out is what you’ll be judged by and you have a responsibility for your art. You should be able to defend your art and the reason why you made it.
Another reason is the creative process differs from person to person. For example, I like to discuss with the team only before and after the creation and never during, because it ruins everything. I feel like whatever I create should either be accepted or not. There is no place for turning back to revise or edit.
This is because I believe art should be flawed. Not flawed like grammatical errors or things like that. I mean, it should have that imperfection that is a constant trait in all humans. I mean, art should not strive to be perfect, it should just be honest.
Well, I make a very good argument, don’t I? While all of the above is true, it is also very important for the artist to listen to other people’s opinions too if for no reason than the fact that the art is made for the people. Granted art is meant to be a personal thing. But it has to be shared.
The artist is just one person who looks at things from his own perspective which is always flawed. The artist needs to also see others’ perspective of things, too.
But this is where the problem lies. Who does the artist listen to? Is it every Tom, Dick and Harry with an opinion that he should listen to? Is it okay to listen to critics and change your content based on their own (also flawed because…human) views? There are situations where your sponsor has a different standpoint from yours but need you to create something that makes it seem like you have the same point of view as they do.
This brings us to the question: is the artist a product also? And where do we begin to separate the art from the artist?
These are questions that I cannot answer for you.
So I’ll end this post with:
“Don’t answer that, let these thoughts flood your mind uh
And let the message sink in. ”
-Vickers, Some Random Freestyle
- Shout out Duchez.
- And #SMH is coming