“An Artist’s Dilemma” by Tom Fair

September 16, 2021 – Los Angeles: You are an artist. You live on a planet that is in a terrible state of turmoil. Lives are ruined daily by domestic violence and drug abuse. Criminals, roaming the streets of sprawling metropolitan areas, create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and danger. Pollutants infest the air, the water, the very food upon the family table. Still untamed diseases, and natural disasters continue to cut down the life expectancy of the average individual; and there is the seemingly endless threat of war, each year creeping closer and closer to home.

What can you, a single artist, do in the face of such universal degradation, anxiety and destruction?

What indeed!

Perhaps you’d better hang up your bass guitar, toss your paint brushes in the nearest trash can, donate your toe shoes to United Charities and hike down to the local Armed Forces recruiter to help “make the world safe for democracy.” Or perhaps your tastes run more toward joining the throng of picket-carrying protesters down in town square, crying for the reversal of government policies.

Or – you could drop everything else and really concentrate on eliminating the one threat that concerns you more than anything: lobby for AIDS research, or stricter gun control laws, or key ecological issues. Yes, you could really make a difference…get down to some serious citizenship here, and drop those childish frivolities…the world needs you on the front lines…Whoa — whoa — whoa — NOW WAIT JUST ONE DARN MINUTE!!

You are an artist. You’ve been dedicated from early life to creativity – THE VERY OPPOSITE AND THE ONLY REAL SOLUTION TO DESTRUCTION!

Why then would you drop the most effective action you are capable of in order to “protect the world from danger?” Get it straight, Mister and Mz. – you, as an artist have the POWER – the power to enlighten, to amuse, to entertain, to inspire. You can bring out the sun on a rainy day, revive fond memories of happier times, make the weary heart beat more brightly or bring calm into a savage environment. Why would you do anything but paint, sing, sculpt, dance, write or emote? What would it benefit the human race to have you serve as an office clerk for “Save The Rain Forests” or patch up wounded soldiers in the Arabian desert?

The solution to the world’s problems is MORE – not less – creativity.

So get with it: step up the production of your art; and when you’ve accomplished that, pass the torch on to others. Become an instructor or a director in the art that you’ve mastered.

There are those on earth whose aim is to transform each living being into a battered, shattered corpse.

But our aim should be just as insistent and just as strong: to place a paintbrush, a chisel, a saxophone, a baton or a movie script into every human hand; to bring the Arts into bloom in the life of every individual on Earth.

Among the greatest of aesthetic skills is the desire and the ability to awaken the artist in others around one.

If one can accomplish that, he is among the saviors of the world. Damn the torpedoes then – carry on!

We will tolerate no rain on our parade.

Copyright (C) 2003 by Tom Fair.
All Rights Reserved.