That’s so brave:
A phrase usually reserved for people going off to war, or fighting crime, or saving people’s lives. But that’s the first thing that I hear when I tell people, “I’m going into the arts”. There’s no such reaction when it’s said that you’ll study law, or politics, or even mathematics, but it’s suddenly “brave” to pursue a career in the arts?
But I thought society told me to pursue my dreams.
I thought society told me that this was achievable.
In the days of dress-up, I could imagine being anyone I wanted, and that was okay.
So when did that stop being okay?
A child shows his parents a drawing he has just finished, demanding to know if they are scared. The parents laugh and ask, “But why would I be afraid of a hat?” The child is confused; why, he’s drawn the most frightening thing imaginable: a boa who has eaten an elephant whole.
So, here I am, a confused child, wondering why a hat as a drawing is more sensible.
Art is the expression of the unsaid, be that a form of communication when words hadn’t been readable, or a message the artist is just trying to put somewhere other than their head.
And that’s the thing: art is subjective. Yes, art is meant to provoke feelings. Yes, it might mean something different to the artist than it does to you. You might not “get” it. But you don’t have to. And I don’t think I realised that until reading this in the perspective of another artist in Station Eleven: You don’t have to understand or like it, because I do.
But is that also the reason we fall out of love with the thought of art as we grow older and more sensible?
Bob Ross explains, “We have no limits to our world. We’re only limited by our imagination.”
After all, someone had to imagine even walking on two legs before it was actually done.
Since the beginning of humanity, art has found a way to thrive. From the paintings permanently stained on rock faces scattered around the globe; to the invention of weapons, clothing, jewelry; to the design of typefaces that we see everywhere around us — art has always been at the core of humanity’s existence.
The very fact that art has been a global concept even before people moved from one land mass to another reinforces the survival instinct in creativity.
So, maybe I am at war. In a society where doing what you love is against the standard, maybe it is “brave” to follow your dreams.
But it shouldn’t have to be.