If you are some sort of artist or creative person and you’ve endured the past 2 years without giving up, you deserve a medal of honor…seriously. We all suffered varying degrees of trauma and though we are not out of the woods with the pandemic effects, we are reaching a stage of creative resurgence. Tours are booked, concerts and the rest of the entertainment industry is rolling again, so it’s now time for those quarantine projects to come to life. This can be rather intimidating and anxiety-inducing, which lots of creatives struggle with, but we have to figure out a way to use this new era as motivation to see things through. On top of that, challenging ourselves to open up to feedback and criticism from others is the vulnerability we need to improve our craft going forward.

When I was a teenager I was on a real destructive path and when I came out of it, I told myself I was done lying. I wanted to live an honest lifestyle. Sometimes that doesn’t always mean I’m being nice, but the line between being respectful and honest can be rather thin. I get a bit conflicted at times when it comes to giving feedback. The old saying of staying quiet when you have nothing nice to say often pops in my head while I choose my words carefully. When I find myself discussing things with other creatives I always maintain my honest integrity but also try to not potentially provide anything discouraging.

Now that I have been talking to lots of people on the PODCAST, as well as WRITING FOR PUNKNEWS, I’ve found myself digging deep into my ways to communicate with artists. I try to give the feedback that I’d want to be given to me in some ways. Spending a couple of years in isolation and sitting alone with new music of my own, I realize now more than ever how important feedback is.

Even though shows have come back, I always found myself a bit skeptical about using a crowd as effective feedback on things…especially if the crowd numbers aren’t too high. People are generally encouraging and nice, but unless we are getting into a conversation, a walk-away complement is as functional as a cat-call to me. Keeping in mind I have a uniquely cynical personality, I still try to be as observant as possible when it comes to performing, but even that can be tough if the focus is on giving the best possible performance.

I had a couple of conversations with artists to pick at why we create and what we are looking to do with our creations–especially when we are no longer kids. Yes, it is fun to get on stage or showcase an art gallery, or even broadcast theatrics, but ultimately I feel like there has to be something deeper than that. Again, the amount of hardships that artists or creatives go through today, especially in the past few years, has to point to some internal strength that harbors hope or discipline commitment. A similar (but more negative) question to ask artists now is how they still haven’t given up.

As of right now, I believe most artists are looking for connection. Speaking for myself, I feel like nowadays it’s rather simple to put your work out there, so everyone is doing it…but in a room full of people screaming, how does one expect to be heard? Social media and technology give the world digital creations at their fingertips in compressed versions free of charge. Even at the highest level, we’ve all heard stories of how artists can barely make money with large amounts of success. So there has to be something keeping us committed to our “non-essential” creative duties and I believe it has to be finding a way to connect human beings in a way that invokes different thoughts and feelings. There will always be an aspect of art being a fun entertainment experience and a way to celebrate, but on a deeper level, I think artists want to feel a unification and even a sense of community through their creations.

That being said, creative feedback to me is just the stepping stone that can bring artists closer to where they want to be. I’ve seen some videos about COMEDIANS COMING UP that described a sort of camaraderie around judging each other’s material. They even take pride in things not going well because they know how to workshop with fellow artists. Though I can’t speak to performing comedy, I envy this level of feedback that pushes artists forward. I think it can be a huge catalyst in propelling artists into their true potential.

All that being said, my final note is that vulnerability is necessary with art. We need to be honest with each other. Sometimes we need someone to tell us of our shortcomings so we know to improve. We can’t be scared of failing so we never take risks. Let’s go out there and suck so we know how to get better. Above all though, we need to support each other…and I think words can be more valuable than money. We need people to care enough to extend their perspectives across the board, but it’s especially important for other creatives to open up to one another. We are the ones who have that understanding of what it takes to stay creative in this world and it’s important we share with one another so we can keep it up. 





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