The trendy, indie coffee drinking, egotist is not an artist at all though, in my opinion. This type of person is what I like to call, a bum, which is distinctly different.
The artist and the bum exist in close proximity to the outside eye, but with careful investigation, it’s easy to see that the two live vastly different lives. While their clothes and their tendency towards “cage free” or “grass fed” place the two together, there is a long list of characteristics that set them apart. Just to give you an idea, here are a few…
The bum seeks to tear down, the artist seeks to build up. The bum sees a show, reads a book, or hears a talk and spends hours picking it apart with negative critiques to make himself feel better. The artist carefully considers the piece, the good and the bad, and then let’s what she has learned inform her future work. She doesn’t waste her time tearing others down, she’s too busy building something better.
The bum talks, the artist does. The bum spends her time getting in heated debates about art, politics, and society, taking everything personally and never truly listening. The artist discusses with an open mind, but is constantly aware that discussion only exists as a means of learning and collecting inspiration. The artist spends the majority of his time creating his own work, which goes a lot further in adding to the conversation then any words ever could.
The bum stands against, the artist stands for. The bum’s only beliefs lie in what he believes in wrong or not good in the world. The bum sees so many problems, but never seeks to find any solutions. The artist allows her heart to be broken by wrongs or injustice, and then uses that heartbreak as inspiration to make a piece, start a cause, and spread the word to right that wrong. The artist is constantly asking, how can I make the world a better place with the gifts I’ve been given?
In every artist there is a bum, but in every bum, there hides an inspired artist. It takes a certain amount of ego to be an artist, and it does take a critical eye. But never let your ego and critical mind become your identity, because then you’re not an artist at all, you’re a bum. Bums don’t change the world, bums tell everyone how it needs to change, and then do nothing about it. Don’t be a bum. Be an artist. Artists change the world.