Back in the “good old days” it used to be that artists would mostly make themselves seem unattainable, mysterious, larger than life… The machine surrounding artists deemed it to be in an artist’s best interest to appear a distant star; cooler than thou, better than thou. Artists were treating interviews as platforms to further their agenda, but would avoid speaking about anything deeper or more personal than that. A strict wall existed between the audience and the artist, behind which who knows what happened.
I became an artist in this atmosphere. My team went one step further: in addition to not speaking about anything personal in my interviews, I was told not to even reveal my last name. Apparently this was for my protection, but in hindsight it seems laughable to me. My guess is that the powers that be were trying to make me into some kind of mythical creature, and this was one facet of the ‘well planned and thought-out image’ that they were trying to create for me. Well, mythical creature I am not. In any given entry of my blog this must be exceedingly clear.
This week I saw a cute video circulating on Facebook, in which Zooey Deschanel was singing and playing guitar with her friend. The clip had apparently been filmed on Skype, and was obviously captured in someone’s, possibly Zooey’s home. This is the kind of intimate access many, if not most artists allow these days. The times, they certainly are a-changing. The walls are coming down and we are starting to see that these once so mysterious people live much like everyone else.
So, in many cases in the artist-world today, glamour be gone. This job isn’t necessarily particularly glamorous to begin with, and now the audiences are getting to see it. I personally think this is a healthy state of affairs. There is a different kind of glamour in getting back to basics and really connecting with people. I don’t think that any specialness is being lost here–I find this climate way more interesting for both artist and the audience. I too am much more drawn to an artist like Tom Waits who allows access to who he is, than for example someone like Michael Jackson. (Although perhaps in that case access would have been hugely frightening…..)
I too am sharing much more of myself publicly than I ever thought would be appropriate as an artist. Moving forward on this path forces me to internalize this simple truth, as I get challenged again and again: who I am is enough. And I’ll add to that: where I’m at is enough. Without that knowledge, true openness and sharing, and therefore progress too, would be impossible.