Lonnie Spangler's Music Blog
Artist or Craftsman?
December 2, 2010Posted by on
One of my fav musical authors, Bobby Owsinski, wrote in his book How to Make Your Band Sound Great that “art is something you do for yourself. Craft is something you do for everyone else.”
His point is about gauging how you might want to balance the two. Stand on the far edge of the “art” definition and your work might limited to a very small group of people. Jump to the extreme of “Craft” side and you run the risk of pleasing many but you might not be taken seriously by your peers.
Hmmm. Something to think about, huh? I’ve had this argument with myself and others when choosing material. Where is the line between trying to reach out to people and “selling out?” (Is anyone really able to sell out anymore?)
Seth Godin has his take on being an artist too. In his book Linchpin Seth takes a lot of time to describe what qualities make someone an artist. He is coming from a different angle (and trying to make an entirely different point.) He believes that all true art contains a “gift” element.
I think I get what he means. You can buy a cd, for example and you purchase a craftsman’s (craftmen? Craftwomen? Craftpeople?) work. If a song on it plays while you kiss your wife-to-be for the first time and now every time you here it you feel the exact same emotions, or if it helps you to see the world in a new way… that is a gift and that is ART! I think that the disc, the sound, is the craft. The way the listener interacts with it is the gift (and, in my opinion, what makes it art).