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“I think the role of the artist is, is to take whatever it is they believe in and put it out there so the public can see it.” - David “Lebo” Le Batard

"The four [traditional] roles of the artist include: creating a visual record of the people, places, and events of the their time and place, helping the audience see the world in new and innovative ways, making functional objects and structures more desirable by bestowing upon them beauty and meaning, and giving form to immaterial ideas and feelings."  - Henry Sayre


We have discussed a broad range of topics in the last 45 weeks. With many through lines and many connections to the same aspects of being an artist. But, what are we responsible for at the end of the day? This week, I’d like to discuss what we think our responsibility is as artists: to ourselves, our audience, our community, and our future.

My Answer:

For me personally, at this time in my life and practice, I find I am responsible for setting a good example. I am authentic, clear on my values, consistent[ly creative], responsible in what I create and how I share it, and I take care of myself. 

Thoughts and Actions:

It can be hard to imagine the four traditional roles of the artist from every artist’s perspective. But lets  take a look at it from the perspective of the performing circus artist.

The performing artist often makes a record. I can think of many shows I’ve seen where the characters being portrayed are very real. The thing that comes to mind first for me is all of the themes of isolation depicting the Covid times.

By definition, the performing circus artist helps viewers see the world in a new way… defying gravity alone is a new perspective. Performance pieces can tell amazing stories and shift perspective.

The human body bestows meaning upon any apparatus it interacts with… turning any object or place into a tool to tell a story.

The act of story telling or act creation is to give form to an idea or feeling. Often both.

I think your responsibility as an artist varies only slightly depending on what you are creating and who you are creating for. But largely, the traditional roles apply in the same way to everyone, At least, it’s a good starting point. 

And an interesting thing that came up in our conversation was entertainment vs art... I personally think that entertainment is a different thing than art and can be considered a tool of the artist.

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