I’m Just An Artist

One thing I’ve never understood is how we decide whether art is good.

Why do we make fun of poetry written by modern teenagers, but uphold Arthur Rimbaud as a famous French poet when most of his poems were written when he was a teen? Why do we make fun of songwriters who write about love and breakups, yet we revere Shakespeare, who had a lot of dick jokes?

Why are things seen as immature not worthy of being art?

Art is an expression of emotions. The point isn’t to please the audience, it’s to use an outlet to put your voice in the audience’s hands, for them to interpret for themselves. No one person is going to respond to a work of art, be it performance, music, literature, or art itself, in the same way because everyone interprets things differently.

In fandoms, groups of people who are fans of a certain thing, people mock those who contribute with art, writing, edits, music, or other things that are seen as not as good. One particular example is the Mary Sue critique within fanfiction. A Mary Sue is usually an over powered, too popular, self-insert character who solves every problem, and it is mocked immensely by people who view themselves as better writers.

But the problem with that is that in doing so, they are mocking a writer for wanting to be a part of the world they wrote the fanfiction for. Mocking a person for wanting a world where things go well for them. A person who probably feels lonely or lacking the kind of attention they need.

Why do we revere people who excell at math and science but degrade those who go into the arts? Art takes talent, even “bad” art, and it takes dedication, just like math and science.

You think every physicist started off perfect at what they do? Art takes practice and there’s no such thing as bad art: it’s just stepping stones to the point you want to be at in your art.

Mocking people for their art when they’re trying to improve won’t help them improve, it’ll discourage them and you might end up never getting the chance to see their full potential.

But maybe I’m just an idiot who can’t understand the guidelines of art, who doesn’t realize there are explicit rules.

But also maybe, to quote Bo Burnham: “I am an artist, please God forgive me. I am an artist, please don’t revere me. I am an artist, please don’t respect me. I am an artist, feel free to correct me. A self-centered artist, self-obsessed artist; I am an artist. I am an artist, but I’m just a kid. I’m just a kid, and maybe I’ll grow out of it.”

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