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Artists are creative trailblazers, not imitators, copycats

By Noa Gomez

Grace Nono and Joey Ayala- two Mindanaoan artist-musicians acclaimed for their original caliber. Photo courtesy of Eileen Tabios

Ask any aspiring teenagers who has dance, sang or blow their nose and they call themselves artists. How wrong can they get.

Worse, they imitate what they see on TV and think it’s the peak of artistry. That is pathetic. You call a person an artist if and only he/she has created an original body of work. Artistry takes time, hard work and consistency, you separate the professional and pretender.

If an amateur keeps singing and sounding like Maria Carey or Michael Bolton, then he/she is not an artist in a real sense but a copycat. If a group of Hiphop “dancers” doing the predictable routine in every show, then they are just jumping around. They are not movement artists, a politically correct term for dance.

The same demand is applied to all fields of art. True artists are “originators.” They create their own, authentic artistry. They do not do “gaya-gaya.” No one and no one can come up a thing like he/she does.

That is the mark of a respected creative mind. He/she is the type who think “out-of-the-box” with her own vision, style and execution and even legacy. Unleashing the imagination is what a real artist is all about.

That is why you separate the artists from the entertainers. Entertainers just want you to laugh, feel good and forget your problem for a minute or hour. They want you to escape from your problem and remember it back and be sad again. Nothing but a roller-coaster thing.

An artist wants to entertain you by seeing and thinking critically, see something enlightening, if not transforming you a better person, not an escapist but one who confronts and accept reality.

People who say they want to relax and not think are just the lazy types. Such a loss of wisdom and true relaxation. Widening the mind brings peace, relaxation and comfort.

Movies of national artist Ishmael Bernal and the paintings of Danny Dalena are works of sensible art worthy of appreciation. (Yes young people, google  them.) It is unfortunate that our society is controlled by crash commercialism referred to as escapist entertainment where “you watch and forget about it.”

But entertainment can also be a true art, for entertainment, given the right perspective as an art as well is also a tool of education, done outside the traditional system. That is why there is such term as campus theater training or arts development for youth. It is part of being educated through the creative arts.

One expression of mediocre entertainment is the slapstick common in local movies and radio plays. Slapstick is said to be the lowest form of comedy where actors keep insulting each other’s and making fun of their faces and disabilities.

Look how society still mired in this lowly entertainment. It is not a reflection of an educated society.

In the end we should be guiding, encouraging and inspiring artists to makes sense and come up with substantial original stories. In this way we elevate the taste and consciousness of our people.

Editor’s note: The author is an Asian Studies and Fine Arts graduate from a state university.



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