You can’t please everyone. We’ve all heard that one before, right? I mean, it’s pretty obvious. There are so many choices in the world, especially in this day and age. Free will gives us the capacity to make those choices and to express opinions. For every idea that comes into the world, there will be those who find it compelling, and those who will hate it.
This clearly applies to art, perhaps more so than other idea forms, because art is intended to be subjective, and to be provocative. Remember the Sensation exhibition that toured, landing in New York City about ten years ago? One of the pieces was by an artist named Chris Ofili. His rendering of the Virgin Mary included a small amount of lacquered elephant dung. It created a near-hysteria in the media, and if asked, most people would only remember that it included elephant poo. It challenged people, however, to step back a little and think about what constitutes art.
Who hasn’t had an argument, or at the very least, an impassioned conversation over the merits or crappiness or a movie, for instance? I remember going to see Gladiator (the Russell Crowe extravaganza, and not the Cuba Gooding Jr. fight-flick), with a group of people I didn’t know very well. I hadn’t mentioned my background in this particular time period; I usually go to movies to have a good time, not to dissect them, unless it’s a really BAD movie. After it was over, the people I’d gone with trashed the film, in particular that Commodus would “never” have fought in the gladiatorial arena, as an emperor, they believed that it just was not done. I chose that moment to keep my mouth closed. They would not have, probably, enjoyed a lecture in Roman history from someone like me…but I strongly felt that they were wrong, especially about the movie being a bad one. And that Commodus had indeed played around in the arena. But that’s where the art-as-subjective thing comes in. My take on the thing was way off of theirs.
Another example would be how my husband adores the Rocky movies, the Godfather movies, in short, anything that is gritty, “real”, and full of pathos. He thinks I don’t like them because I don’t get them. Sorry, honey, I just don’t like to watch movies that are on those subject matters, that’s all. Just like he’d rather not sit through anything that reads, “Jane Austen’s” whatever.
When I write, when anyone writes, my preferences seep in, I write what I understand, what I enjoy, what I believe. Any artist does that. I prefer idealism and optimism over observations of who’s a bum, regarding who needs to die because they went against the family, or of turtles in their glass bowls. Writing, at least from my point of view, is all about what’s in my head…or what’s in the head of anybody who picks up a pen, pencil, keyboard, and lays it all out there. I know that not everyone is going to like what I write. But I keep on doing it. There are so many motivations, some of which I have touched on already, but the primary one is how much I love doing it.
I also like drawing, painting, and cooking, but I don’t think I do any of those as well as I write. I think. I hope. Um, I have to go check the oven, before I burn something.