Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Artist’s Struggle with the Normal

“Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand -- a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods -- or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.” Willa Cather
I often get the impression that society uses the government, the mainstream media, priests, and psychologists to enforce the concept of normality. They claim, without any real authority, the power to define what is normal. They use surveys, statistics and selective historical trends to create the illusion of a “typical” man or woman. They preach that normal is inherently good and that all of us should strive to fit our bodies, hearts and minds into the mold that they dictate. Everyone who is willing to forge a new path or question the conventional is discouraged, punished or rejected completely.
At the other end of the spectrum artists, dreamers and hedonists resist this process. We reject what is normal and forge paths that are often bizarre, disturbing and completely fascinating. They are often misunderstood or unappreciated but the power of their voice is undeniable. For better or worse artists fight against the tide of normal in an attempt to forge new paths and create a new reality.
The irony of this struggle is that many of the people who bend to the pressure of normality spend their lives looking up to the rebels…desperately wishing they had the strength and the insanity to join them. Billions and billions of people striving to be normal have lived and died, forgotten in the spectacle of existence. It is the artists and the rebels who lead us, shape our world and live in our collective consciousness long after they are dead.
My hope with the Sex and Violence series is to pull further away from the grip of normal life and forge my own path. I might only succeed in being discouraged or rejected but if there is a chance that someone might appreciate it one day then I can’t ask for more than that.
 "To be nobody-but-yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." E. E  Cummings
Have fun.

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