Yes, you, me, them, her, everyone. Listen up. I consider myself an artist, and I know that many of you do, too. Whether you readily admit it to people or not, even if you keep it to yourself that you think – no, know – you’re an artist. I am talking to you, the artist who is afraid of using the label because you don’t think you know what to say or if anyone will want to hear it. I want to hear it.
I am an artist. Visually through my art and fashion, vocally through my pieces through Odyssey, etc. I am an artist. I am an artist who is afraid of using his voice. Afraid that no one will want to hear what I have to say or care how I feel. So, recently I retreated. I waved my white flag and ran and hid. I hid from my own thoughts and creativity. I let fear, especially the fear of what others may think of my art, dictate my actions and stifle my voice. But the truth is, I am an artist who is first and foremost responsible to myself and my own ideas. I am responsible to communities I hold dear, I am responsible for loved ones who I couldn’t live without, but at the end of the day the person I am most beholden to is myself. The same goes for you.
This particular article is not to give you insight into my own personal agenda. Because the fact of the matter is that no two people have the exact same agenda and ideology. Mine isn’t important right now. What is important - what should be important to you and your art is what motivates you. Art, whether through word, music, paper and pen, theatre, etc. is individual. What one artist sees and creates is solely their own. You may share your art and share your message so that others may interpret it, but at its core it is yours. No one will ever relate to it and be connected to it in a way that you are. So, why are we so afraid of our art? Why are we so afraid of our voices?
Your art is yours. But when you share it with the world, you open yourself to vulnerability. You open yourself to judgment. That is scary. What if you can’t find the right words or the right brush stroke? What if your message isn’t what people close to you want to hear? So, excuse the language, fucking what? The world needs artists more than ever. We need your statements to be bold and powerful and thought provoking. We need your voice. Yours speaks for you, but it will also speak for others. Sure, it may cause people to criticize your ideas or criticize you. But there will always be a dozen people to praise you…even if it is just your family.
So many people in our generation want to change the world. So many people want to save somebody. I’m here to tell you that you can do that 100%. You will do it. When you least expect it. But you can’t do it if you’re afraid of your own voice. If you’re afraid to put yourself out there because of judgment and criticism, then it’s going to be a lot harder to change the world. Is it going to sting sometimes? You bet your ass it will. Sometimes you’re going to get torn apart and you’re going to feel lost and afraid to jump back into the ring. Well, it’s time to jump back into the ring. It is time to stop waiting for an invitation to the big leagues. Stop being afraid of “what if” and start embracing it. What if someone hates what you have to say? There’s a hundred people who love it. What if someone challenges your work? Good, nothing in life is gained without a little challenge. What if someone sees your work and their whole world is changed? What if you actually save that life? What if one day you look back and the world is changed because you had the courage to embrace your art? What if YOUR world is changed?
The world is a terrifying, divisive, and desolate place without art. We need art more than ever. We need your voice. Stop hiding away from the world, because we are waiting for you. We are waiting for you to join our ranks and embrace your artistry.
Won’t you join us?