November 14, 2011

Thoughtful GotB

"Who Killed John Key" -- Sam Mahons

Using Stumble Upon (one of my favorite sites), I found an article about Sam Mahons "Who Killed John Key?" He was asked if he was afraid people would be offended by the image. He responded "All art is expression and metaphor and the job artists have is to make people feel uncomfortable. Now once you've made people uncomfortable you've got their attention. And once you've got their attention you can begin to change their mind." Which made me question what I think my job is as an artist. While I agree that art should make people think and question their beliefs or the current social/political ect system, I never considered my job as an artist (or musician for that fact) one to make people uncomfortable. And I have heard these kind of comments from artists of all kinds. I even read a magazine article last holiday season in which a woman claimed gifts should be something that takes a person out of their comfort zone.

I always viewed my job as one of uplifting society; inspiring "ordinary people" or "the average Joe". I think the world is full of uncomfortable people, what the world needs is more people who are inspired and fulfilled. Don't get me wrong, I love artists, musician, architects, and any creative people that strive to wake people up or change their perspective. And we need these people. But I find this idea of "uncomfortable to change people's minds" can be taken too far; I find artists that rely purely on shock value to be tiresome and pretentious. 

I'm not saying any of this specifically about Mahon as I don't know much about him. It was his quote that made me think on the nature of art and artists in general. I think the real job of an artist is to change the world. How each individual artist accomplishes that goal is up to them. But I don't think that changing the world can be found simply in making people uncomfortable. What do you think the nature of art (music, poetry, literature, ect) is or should be? 

BTW, I think his contest for this painting is brilliant and should be a lot of fun. Good way to get people interacting with art.

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