Saturday, April 12, 2014

To be or not to be, an artist

It's only recently that I've begun to think of myself as an artist. I've been calling myself a filmmaker for many years now, but calling myself an artist is new. I suppose I'm still getting used to it. But I realized, my constant craving for wanting to create, and that I do create, probably makes me an artist.

I recently came across this comic strip, and I really identify with what's expressed here:

Life is hard, inevitably. There's always ups and downs, but creating something, anything, seems to always cheer me up and make me feel energized and motivated. It feels like I'm doing something worthwhile.

On a related note, I came across this article the other day, called "Real Artists Have Day Jobs". It's very nice to hear that. While it is a blessing to be able to have work and I certainly recognize that, having a job while creating or wanting to create also gets draining, day in and day out. However, as this writer noted:
"While I don’t know you personally, I know that you are a real artist if you can answer “yes” to any or all of these questions:
Do you make art?
Do you make art because something inside you tells you that you must make art?
Do you make art because it’s the only way you can feel like yourself sometimes?
Do you make art because it brings you joy, and also pain, but the good kind of pain, the kind you need in order to remember that you are a real person with worth and value and power and all of the feelings (yes, even the shitty ones)?
Do you make art because it’s fun?
Would you make art regardless of whether anybody paid you to make art?
Do you stay up at night after the kids have gone to sleep, when you really ought to be in bed yourself, or at least doing laundry, just because it gives you a few precious minutes to make art?
Do you sit at your computer in your office and make plans to use the money from your office-and-computer job to buy supplies to make art?
Do you make art that some people love?
Do you make art that some people hate?
Do you make art that some people ignore?
Then congratzel tov, my friend. You are a real artist."

I can answer "YES!" to all of those questions. 

"Art does not require an MFA. Art does not require a BA. Art does not require a high school diploma. Art does not require any formal education at all.
Art does not need your full-time attention. Art does not demand that you starve in order to afford paint and canvas and brushes.
There is more nobility in hard work than in pure luck (though every artist can use a bit of that.) You’ll make better art after a day at the office than you will after a lifetime in an ivory tower.
Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Real artists make things other than art, and then they make time to make art because art is screaming to get out from inside them. Screaming, or begging, or gently whispering.
Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not a success. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not good enough. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not the real deal.
More importantly: don’t ever tell yourself any of these things.
Believe me when I tell you that no matter how much time you spend at the office, it’s just a side gig.
You are an artist, full-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Now go make your art."
"You are a real artist right now."

Thank you! I have made myself some art, and will continue to, God-willing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yasmine Hamdan 'Ya Nass'

Back in the early days of The Ashraf Obsession I wrote about Soap Kills, an underground electronic Lebanese band from the 90s'. The singer, Yasmine Hamdan, has released her first solo album, Ya Nass. Fahad sent along the link from NPR a few weeks ago, and I kept streaming the album non-stop.

It's entirely in Arabic, and Hamdan likes to play with different Arabic dialects. I barely understand any Arabic but I can at least tell when she's singing in different dialects, and its pretty neat. The songs themselves flow very well together and the instrumentation is very unique and engaging.

I can't really describe the album much more than that due to my limited skills, so just have a listen to a couple of songs off the album. And also here's another NPR link, this one of a live performance.

Once my CD arrives I can't wait to play this album again and again! I'd like to get some Soap Kills stuff too, but Fahad says "there is no soap kills to be bought on the internet!".

- cross-posted on The Ashraf Obsession