I heard a story on NPR yesterday morning about two Pakistani girls, musicians. (Listen here: http://www.npr.org/2011/04/07/135188648/music-in-the-time-of-extremism) In Pakistan, choosing to be an entertainer holds negative connotations and is highly frowned upon. Regardless, their music flourishes. When asked about the content of their songs and the object of their lyrics, they say that their desire is to create music that is optimistic and reminds us that good things are around us all the time. It deeply inspired me. While they could easily use their music as a means to vent their frustrations, they simply choose not to.
“The more violence that starts taking place outside, the more sort of serene and calm our music begins to get. I think because it’s a way of creating an alternate universe…You create work that would reflect the world that you want to be in rather than the one you are in,” one of them says.
Art is about creating the world that you want to be in.
I thought of one of my favorite paintings, Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Illuminating a starlit night with his brushstrokes, he brought the world as he saw it to life on canvas to help us see things in a different way. Where one might not have considered a mundane cypress tree such a prominent part of the landscape, his mind’s eye saw it in the forefront of his work. Where we may have seen a dark velvet night sky, he saw swirls, glowing orbs, and streams of light.
It made me think about my music. Not just that — it made me think of other things I’ve created as well. My photographs. My blog. Even the way my room is arranged. It’s all a reflection of how I relate to the world. It’s an effort to construct my own space in this world the way that I would like it to be. Art has little to do with trying to fit into the world around you and much more with creating the world around you as you go.