By Brittany Meister
This is just one instance of a response to the King John Festival art prompts. We are still accepting admissions, in all forms, until July 9th. See our facebook for more details on prompts!
What is the purpose of art in 2017? Why does your work, and your identity as an artist, matter?
One of the reasons that I love being an actor is developing and nurturing empathy and connections. I’m interested in what it’s like to be other people. More so, I’m interested in their stories and what we have in common and what we don’t have in common. It’s an opportunity to walk in another’s shoes. In 2017, I feel like that is especially important.
National and Global events and people threaten to tear us apart. Empathy is what will keep us together, at least in part. My identity as an artist, in this year, is to foster that understanding of those that we do not want to understand. We are humans. When we forget that, we treat each other with indignity. It breeds racism, sexism and many other isms. Injustice.
In a rehearsal room, you have anywhere between 4 and 25 imaginations, depending on your production. Each one of these people brings a unique life path and experiences and perspectives with them. They bring those with them into their character and in that they create something like themselves and yet unlike themselves: a way of viewing a person that no other performer has ever had or will ever have. In that way, we start to melt ourselves into other stories. We try to see how the hitman feels that he has honor. We try to follow a meandering path of a power-hungry widow who hides her grief. We try to understand how it may feel to try and carry the weight of a country along with your morals.
My work as a painter is different. It’s for me and my personal journey. I sketch my mind and that landscape that only I can see. The colors are for me. I put it on a canvas or on paper to share with others if I feel like it, but ultimately it is selfish. It is relaxing or cathartic or whatever I need it to be and in that respect that’s why my work matters. Maybe not to anyone else, but it matters to me.
An artist’s work is important to whomever it touches, and each artist is different in not only their work, but their goals. My art is just as important for my well being as I hope it is important to the world as a whole. Art is how we remember our stories. It’s how we remember our feelings. Art is how we reach across barriers.
Art is how we retain our humanity.
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