Nick Cave: “To define yourself as an artist you have to avoid excuses”

Nick Cave: “To define yourself as an artist you have to avoid excuses”

In the most recent publication of his “Red Hand Files”, Nick Cave shared a reflection with some artists who say they don’t feel creatively inspired, given the situation the world finds itself in.

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To the Australian singer-songwriter, through his website, two creatives, Tam and Dan, revealed that they had lost all “inspiration and motivation to create”, and that they did not know “how to reconnect or reconcile making art in a world of war and cruelty ”.

“Have you ever felt estranged from yourself and your identity as an artist?” and “How do you create in this context?”, are therefore the two questions to which the Bad Seeds frontman responded with a new and long message.

“What makes our work so exceptional that it requires inspiration or a muse to carry it out?”, is the question with which Cave decided to open his answer, before writing: “We are artists and we work at the service of others.

It’s not something we just do if and when we feel motivated: we create because it’s our responsibility to do so. In this respect our occupation is no different from that of most people. Does a normal adult only go to work if they feel like it? The doctors? Workers? The teachers? Taxi drivers? We have a duty to do our job, like everyone else, because the space we occupy depends on our participation and if we don’t do it it breaks. A busy artist cannot afford the luxury of revelation. Inspiration is the indolent indulgence of the amateur. Muses, Tam, are for losers!”

He added:

“The idea that you can’t paint because the world is ‘made of war and cruelty’ has to be the lamest, faintest-hearted excuse for not working I’ve ever heard, Dan. How does painting a fucking picture help? It will help because art is the noble and necessary response to the sins of the world. When the world rushes towards us with all its flowing wounds – the desire, the need – we cover our eyes and shrink away, we sit and bite our hands in despair, we run and hide, or we hurry towards it, like running towards a wounded child, with arms outstretched?

If we want to define ourselves as artists then we must avoid the myriad of excuses that arise and are part of our profession. Yes, the world is sick, and yes, it can be cruel, but it would be much sicker and much crueler if it weren’t for painters and directors and songwriters – the creators of beauty – who wallow in the blood and mud of things, while reaches out towards the sky to draw down the heavens themselves.”

In conclusion, Nick Cave wrote: “These are dangerous and urgent times. This is not the time to sit around complaining about the conditions of the world: leave that to the posed frequenters of those most morbidly neurotic spaces, social media. And it’s not even the time to wait in vain for inspiration to find us. It’s time to get to work, to tear the divine idea from its celestial cradle and offer it to the world. Create, Tam! Create, Dan! Create as if your life depends on it, because, of course, it does!”