I watched a TV segment about Edward Albee recently. He is the Pulitzer Prize winning playright whose most famous work is ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’. The interviewer was asking him if he considered that the subject matter would be offensive to some. His response was, yes he knew it might be but that the play was telling him what needed to be in it, not people who may or may not be offended by it.
Art Creating Itself
That is how it is with me as well. My imagination starts somewhere and then once I put pen to paper the images tells me where to go and what to do. It tells me what it wants to be. The more I listen to that the better the work. The more I listen to a possible future offended person the more I will create something self-censored, something that looks like someone else’s work, not my own.
That is why I often draw nudes. The content and message in the depiction of a nude says something I want to say. Clothing the person would take that element of the idea away and if I bow to that pressure I am diminishing my power as an artist to create something expressive and valuable. If someone is offended or interprets the work in ways I don’t anticipate that is ok, I even like hearing about that and learning from it. But I can’t try to extrapolate what that might be in advance just to save someone somewhere a possible hard thought or offensive reaction.
You Creating Yourself
So it is with creating your whole self as well as a work of art. Chisel and hammer out who you want to be, not who you would be if you offended no one. Because if you turn yourself into who someone else wants you to be, you become hard to know, admire and love. The world ends up seeing a watered down you, diluted with someone else’s ideas of who you should be instead of the full flavored you. And you’ll end up offending someone anyway.
Drawing and Commentary by Marty Coleman, who is who he is.
Quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 1749-1832, German playright and poet, among other things.
Trivia Question from yesterday answered
Question: Which U.S. President sewed his own clothes as well as some of his wife’s?
Answer: Andrew Johnson. The 17th President was trained and employed as a tailor early in his life and never gave up the practice.