Yesterday I noticed a tweet from Amanda Palmer linking to her response to criticism of her latest project and addresses the “catch 22: every artist and musician has to deal with this paradox of “demands” from different folks and the only answer has always been (in my humble opinion) to stick to your OWN personal schedule, make what YOU feel like making WHEN you feel like making it and let everyone sort out their own shit.
you’re NEVER, ever ever going to make everybody (or anybody) else truly happy. you can try. it’ll bite you in the ass. at the end of the day, you only really answer to yourself.”
I read this with a, “Holy shit, thank you!”
After addressing the specific issue surrounding her current musical experiment “8 songs in 8 hours” (with Neil Gaiman, Ben Folds, and Damian Kulash), she moves on to the broader fact:
in the age of total connection with the audience, the audience really does get very bossy.
i have some news for you: it doesn’t work.
you don’t EVER have to buy an album you don’t like, and you don’t EVER have to blindly support an artist.
no artist is your bitch. no artist owes you anything.
there’s a long, rich, inevitable history of people wanting The Expected and artists turning around and feeding them Something Different.not just different and unexpected content, but unexpected delivery systems, media formats, colors, lengths, tones, the whole nine yards.
but this is what artists DO.
if artists simply played it safe and repeated themselves to please their fans, musicians would still be banging a couple of rocks together to the collective grunting approval of the crowd.
but let artists do what they feel like, let them follow their bizarre (and often totally incomprehensible) muse and the results are often pretty phenomenal. not all the time, not every time, but enough of the time.
enough to keep the heart of humanity running on something other than practicality and survival.
As an artist (in whatever way/form/medium) the possibilities of where to go with your work can seem endless and daunting. Having other people (even “fans”) feeling entitled to force their opinions into that process can make it unbearable.
I’m all for listening to ideas and am open to advice, but in the proper way and in the proper context. I also reserve the right to ignore your ideas if I think they’re crap or misguided. Just like you are free to ignore my art if it’s not to your liking.