I recently recorded a podcast episode on Onions Talk with American artist Andrew Simonet. The conversation was about art, systemic change, care and the questions we ask ourselves and the world.
How can artists adapt to Covid-19? How do you sustain yourself as an artist? What does it mean to be an artist? How are my skills as an artist relevant right now? What better questions does the world need? How do we support each other?
The conversation with Andrew was emotionally profound. It reminded me of many things, including the fundamentals and essence of creating art. It was an apt reminder of how money is for survival and to live. (What are the essentials that you need?) The art is separate from the institution and the art market. The practice develops and evolves from experience. The diversity and depth of experience come from exploring, discovering, falling, hurting, connecting, healing and then repeating the cycle. The role of an artist as a culture creator is beyond data and algorithms, impact reports and logical analysis that this system narrowly defines and views the world.
We operate from different planes. The profit maximising business world is logical and rational. It doesn't factor in the human experience. It doesn't consider our pain, hurt, and exhaustion. It exploits because that's the most efficient and productive way of increasing revenue and cutting cost. The arts consider the human condition - the love, the pain, the joy, the grief, the gratitude, the hurt, the kindness.
We need to bridge the two and we need middle ground. If we continue speaking in our own languages, if we continue seeing the world from only our perspective, we will never create a world that can hold so much more love and abundance.
Perhaps purpose driven social enterprises and Bcorps are the emergence of that middle ground. But so much more needs to be done and can be done. We need more questioning and ethical considerations. We need to be able to hold difficult conversations. Fellowships for artists in enterprises can be an amazing and beautiful way of transforming the old story.
What are your thoughts?
The podcast episode can be listened here.
Andrew Simonet is a writer, choreographer, artist in Philadelphia. He is the author of “Making your life as an artist” and “ Wilder”, founded Artists U which supports artists leading sustainable lives and was a founding Co-Director of Philadelphia’s Headlong Dance Theater from 1993-2013.
Check out his works at: https://www.andrewsimonet.com
Artists U http://www.artistsu.org/who-we-are/#.YDzwky2w2u4
Making Your Life as an Artist: http://www.artistsu.org/making#.YE9YzC3Mzrk
and his new novel coming out June 1: A Night Twice as Long: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780374309329?aff=macmillan
For The Reconnection Playground workshops, go to website.