In a world where young aspiring artists are sometimes told that they need to “pick a real career” or that “art is not going to pay the bills”, let’s talk about the power art has to change the world and why we need artists.
Art is one of the most important fields in the world. Why?
Art amplifies voices. Art creates dialogue. Art inspires change.
Let’s stop and think about it for a second. What do you do when you’re bored? You consume art. The acting and writing on TV, animation in video games, the music you listen to – it is all art. We are constantly consuming it and it shapes who we are. And even though it may feel passive, the art you choose to look at can shape your mind, your values and your own voice. Art holds immense power.
So what do we do with this?
As a young artist, you get to decide what you bring to the world. No one has ever had your perspective before and no one will again. The stories you tell in what you create may have the power to change someone’s life.
Don’t be scared if you don’t have a clear vision yet. Without you even trying, your art is going to reflect your world. Your influences, your values, it will all show itself. This is necessary because when people from the same world are all making the same art, we think that’s what the world should look like. But that is just not the case. We need to showcase our different lives to show that we are all here and just as important.
Let’s talk about an example of this with artist R. Alan Brooks.
Brooks is a writer, podcast host, professor and full time artist. He loved comic books growing up but was told they were not the way to feed his family. He grew up and became an insurance agent. But then, one day at 40, he decided to leave it all behind and pursue what he wanted to do – write comic books. He takes on topics of police brutality, white supremacy and focuses on the marginalized members of his community. His choice to pursue the arts brings messages to people who might need them most. In his Ted Talk he talks about how his books inspired a police officer to leave their job after seeing the impacts of police brutality from a different perspective. His art has changed lives, and so can yours.
Your art can change people. What do you have to say to people? How do you want to tell your story? You get to decide, so go out and make your art!
Check out the Ted Talk by R. Alan Brooks and other inspiring talks on the power of artists here
- Amanda Gorman’s Ted Talk “Using Your Voice is a Political Choice”
- R. Alan Brooks Ted Talk “When the World is Burning, is Art a Waste of Time?”
- Thelma Golden’s Ted Talk “How Art Gives Shape to Cultural Change”