Please like me.
In the world as it exists at this moment, there a millions of us that determine our self-worth by how many 'likes' our last post received, how many 'friends' or 'followers' we have or how many people click 'favorite' for something we've done or said. Honestly, who doesn't want to have the warm glow of a spotlight shined on them from time to time? This should be o.k. , shouldn't it?
The sad reality is that we love those that are saying what we want (or think we want) to hear and completely cut out of our lives those that push us to think a little more about what we believe. In the end, not only do we miss out on the much needed pro/con balance that we all should have to make well-informed decisions, but we also miss out on the mental and emotional exercise of thinking progressively.
But what about when we as artists allow what has become our need to be liked to temper the work we do as well as our personal opinions and preferences when it comes to addressing certain subject matter? A little disagreement and discourse are what make the world go round, right? Of course, not to the point that it becomes destructive (Also known as filibustering. But that is, ahem...a whole other topic entirely.), but there is nothing wrong with disagreement. The world of art is built on the act of disagreeing.
A World Built on Disagreements.
Have I totally lost you?
Well, just think about it. I am going to scare myself now by actually remembering things that I learned in school: If you've taken any 20th century art classes, do you remember the day that your professor talked about the Impressionists? What about Pointillism? These artists had a decidedly different way of looking at the world that most traditional artists and art aficionado didn't agree with in their time. Most people thought they were crazy (well in the case of Van Gogh he was a smidgen kooky, but I digress...) What about Dada? People really thought those artists had lost it because they'd wandered so far from the path of the traditional. Of course now we all have the benefit of 20/20 vision. We can at least respect their way of looking at the world and the act of art-making if not their genius. More than likely, if these artists had been on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter their artistic self-esteem would have been in the toilet. No pins. No likes. And definitely no followers. What would we have missed out on if these artists hadn't had the courage to stand by their decision to disagree? You got it. Probably no Impressionists. Then what would we have put up on our dorm room walls in college if not cheap poster reproductions of "The Scream" and "Water Lilies"?
It's Our Responsibility.
It is one of the many responsibilities of artists to disagree. We have the opportunity to be reporters, truth tellers, messengers, therapists and psychologists. We see the world differently. It is meant for us to help others see things differently as well. And a lot of the time people aren't going to be so happy with what we tell them. When we choose to RESPECTFULLY disagree, we expand someone's world a little by (hopefully) prompting and exchange of ideas. Because I truly hope that someone would ask me why I think the way that I do instead of stomping off in anger. That way we can chat. I can learn something and they can learn something.
So next time you click the 'like', 'favorite', 'pin', 'follow', 'friend' or whatever the button may be, think a little more about why you do it. Why not go ahead and click favorably even when we don't agree but appreciate and respect when someone has challenged us intellectually and made us think. Thinking is good.