Magne also wrote, "i think the best thing we artists can do in the short term, is to try and fill the world with beauty." At a time like this, it's more important than ever for artists of all kinds to continue to create art; to offer respite, inspiration, reflection, diversion, truth and joy - and so much else besides. So many artists are giving so freely these days, despite the fact that arts related industries are among those experiencing significant economic loss and instability. It's wonderful to see what people are doing for one another in terms of creative expression and connection in this space - there is so much art to experience these days that I wish I had more hours in the day to surround myself in it and drink it in.
I wanted to end this post with an extremely inspiring post made by another artist I admire, Amanda Palmer, early this year. At the time, she was touring in Australia as the fires raged and decimated forests and property and animal life. It was a catastrophe the likes of which I still can't fully comprehend. Here is a partial quote from this post:
"I got some comments from people criticizing me for posting about a touring artist when my focus should be on the news, the catastrophe, the fires. how can we talk about art and music when the world is on fire. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO. just because there are houses on fire doesn’t mean that there aren’t artists on fire. in fact, when the flames of the world rise, so must the art-flames rise to battle pain and suffering with the quenching firehose of art and togetherness and connection and reflection and expression, we’ve been doing this as a human species from the dawn of time. during world war two, winston churchill was called upon to cut funding for the arts so that all money could go towards the war effort. and he purportedly refused, saying: “Then what would we be fighting for?"
"whatever happens, whatever burns, don’t lose hold of the art and the music and the comedy and the painting and the singing and the dancing and how important it is to who we fundamentally are. we lose our stories and we die. mourn. march. protest. yes. and wig out and cry and dance. me and lizzo and a thousand other touring artists ain’t going anywhere, we will dance you through the flames til the end of time."
Two months later, she played the last show on her tour and went straight into quarantine, and many touring artists had to end their tours, including a-ha. The artists went home, as we all did, and yet thanks to the words and art and music from many artists, they are still with us, they are dancing with us through the flames. I find that whole quote (and the photo) so beautiful, and I think Amanda expresses much more extensively a message similar to what probably Magne intended as well - artists create and fill the world with beauty, and I'd argue, hope. I am so grateful to the artists in these dark days.