Compared to other types of people, I guess you could consider artists to be meek, in many cases. Of course, there are artists from all walks of life – some are serial killers, too – but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that creative people tend to be gentle.
Of course, people who are gentle – and different – are easy targets for bullies. So, writers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians – anyone who is creative – are often ostracized and ridiculed because they’re special or have a passion. I won’t go into the list of insults I’ve been called, but I will mention that we’ve probably been referred to as “emos” (overly sensitive, emotional, and full of angst – per Dictionary.com) at least once in our lifetime, or told that the arts are not necessary and sometimes, even useless.
So I find it incredibly curious that during this very difficult time – with coronavirus, and murder hornets, and civil unrest – that us “emos” are the ones holding it together. We’re the ones trying to keep our fellow humans entertained. We’re the ones offering encouragement and pep talks. We’re the ones who, in many cases, have been offering up our art for free to try to help those who are having a hard time coping with the stresses of daily life.
According to an article on WEForum.org, “Artists are finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.”
And that’s absolutely true.
Musicians, both famous and unknown, are offering live concerts for free from their living rooms on social media. Authors are making their books free so people have something to read while shut in. Dancers are filming their home performances and posting them for people to enjoy. Many artists have written and performed music parody videos to cheer people up. Actors and filmmakers are finding creative ways to make short works and share them. Basketmakers, blacksmiths, and more have posted online tutorials showing people how to make wares. And they’re all doing this for free. All this in a time when other people are losing their shi… I mean, minds.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had people hang up on me, unfriend me on Facebook, yell at me – for reasons I still don’t understand, and get angry at me when I returned something they insisted I borrow – but I apparently had for too long … Wut? People’s nerves are raw. They are not equipped to handle this type of environment. But then, why is it that artists can… and not only do, but actually rise above and become the glue holding everything together?
There are a lot of theories on this. One artist told me that he deals with ongoing depression and has already imagined every worst-case scenario possible, so this isn’t actually that bad to him. Others prefer the isolation brought on by stay-at-home orders and are flourishing with this free time. While other people are bored out of their minds being forced to stay home, creative people are seeing this as an opportunity to make art. And some creative people, especially writers – are escaping into the worlds they created to help them cope with what’s going on around us, which is a tactic nowhere new to them.
I would love to see a study on why creatives are so resilient during this unprecedented time.
In an article from April this year, Architectural Digest quotes a meme: “As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series or read a book or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists.”
Keep doing what you’re doing, artists. My hat’s off to you all. Rock on.