It’s Only Art
If you’re an artist, it’s easy to wonder if what you do really matters in the vast scheme of things. With a few billion people in the world, does one person’s measly contribution really matter?
Yes! It matters greatly. I know it’s a cliché, but art can change the world. True, not all art changes the world, and a lot of art changes it for the worse. But art can powerfully influence the world around us. We should never say, “It’s only art.”
Is it only architecture? Just ask Isidore and Anthemius when they laid down the blueprint of the great Hagia Sophia and said, “We think we can do this.”
Is it only a painting? Just ask Michelangelo after he finished the Sistine Chapel.
Is it only a story? Just ask J. R. R. Tolkien after he wrote a little book that began with “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Is it only music? Just ask the Beatles after they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.
Is it only a dance? Just ask Michael Jackson after he performed the Moonwalk on Motown’s 25th anniversary special in 1983.
Is it only a movie? Ask George Lucas about May 1977 when he flew to Hawaii during the premiere of his new space movie because he was sure it was going to flop. It was a little film he called “Star Wars.”
It’s never “just art.” And you’re never “just an artist.” In God’s economy, there are no “justs.” He designed you with a specific set of gifts and talents to be used at this time and place in history. You’re a one of a kind, my friend! If you don’t what you do, it simply won’t get done.
So please don’t think of yourself as “just an artist.” You’re so much more.
You’re a dreamer.
An unlocker of potential.
And a thousand other things.
But one thing you will never be is a “just.” And you will never make “only art.”
If you ever hear someone say, “It’s only art,” they are correct in one sense. It only has the power to change a life. It only has the potential to inspire a child who will one day do some extraordinary. It can only make grown men cry, give hope to the hopeless and alter a person’s entire perspective.
Art only has the power to change the course of history. So yes, I guess in the end it’s only art.