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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Who Do YOU Make Music For?
Friday, March 13, 2009

I recently completed Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman’s book Everything I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger and I want to share a short passage from it about art that really struck me.

The artist who says, “I don’t really care what other people think, I only create art for myself,” isn’t really an artist at all. Art is simultaneous acts of creativity, expression, and communication. If you don’t care how the art affects others, you’re expressing very little and communicating nothing at all.

Essentially, Kaufman is saying being an artist requires a relationship with an audience, even if it's just one other person, and if you’re doing something artistic JUST for yourself, although the act itself may be artistic, it doesn’t make you an artist. To use myself as an example, would I really be a writer if all I did was keep a journal that I never let anyone see? Kaufman says no (and I happen to agree).

I have always thought it was a bit of a cop out when artists would tell me that they made an album “just for themselves” and if anyone else likes it that’s fine, but other people liking it isn’t “the point.” How can that NOT be “the point?” That’s almost a preliminary excuse for poor record sales (“I told you I did it just for me.”)

Now, this is not to be confused with the artist that says they made something about themselves. Something made about oneself is usually done in an effort to connect with people, making it totally different from something made for oneself.

I know a lot of artists come to this site, so I’m going to make this post a quick one and end it with a question; what are YOUR thoughts on this idea? Do you agree with Kaufman, or do you subscribe to a different philosophy regarding art? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:42 AM  
  • At 4:04 PM, Blogger Mr. Jones said…

    Well, I would say that I create music with the thought of "whatever the reaction is, that's the reaction".

    That is to say, I create in an art-first perspective, I don't concern myself with how people will react to it while I do what I do. I just do it, and let people express how they feel about it after it's done.

  • At 2:29 AM, Blogger Rekstizzy said…

    very cool entry..

    i think artists can definitely improve exponentially with their audience in mind.. and when I say audience I don't mean just the demographic I mean like picturing being in front of the crowd on stage. How would they react to each line kind of thing... even like, are you giving them a second to react to a punchline?


    hey man, i noticed you're a writer for beyondracemag, i'm supposed to start writing for the next issue.. just saying wussup

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