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August 20, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Things You Already Know But Just Need To Be Told

Art is vital but—

Art is vital but don’t let that stop you being silly.

Art is vital but having somewhere to sleep is more vital. But not that much more. There are three kinds of artists; businessmen, addicts, and everyone else. Always be everyone else.

Art is vital but don’t be scared or daunted by its vitality. Reveal yourself and understand yourself through it. No one is ever too insignificant for art, every story is worth telling. Especially yours. You are the only person who thinks they don’t have anything interesting to say.

Art is vital but you have to remember that your rejection of the low art-high art binary cuts both ways. That means that just as you can’t tear work apart just because it’s highbrow, you can’t protect more populist art from any kind of criticism because it’s low brow.

Art is vital but you have to learn to live with the fact that the gap between things you don’t like and things that are actually bad is usually pretty huge. Stop hiding behind Sturgeon’s law, it fails because it applies a totality to art and art is something that can never be total or controlled.

Art is vital but that doesn’t make your inane pointless conversations about whether something is art, or what art is any less jaw-droppingly wearisome. Just like the people who obsess over the copyright of their ideas or flood their Facebook walls with posts about how they are an artist and artists don’t work for free, the ‘But is it art?’ conversation is a sure sign that someone likes the idea of being an artist or a critic or whatever, more than they actually like doing the work.

Art is vital but you won’t let that stop you labelling people artists or, more importantly, not artists. Stop doing that. Everyone can be an artist. What are you actually trying to achieve by telling someone otherwise? Do you want less art in the world? I don’t.

Art is vital but that won’t stop you clinging to your copies of Syd Field and Robert McKee and telling everyone that their third act is shaky as if those traditional cookie cutter models of narrative have any place as exemplars for the wide open field of story-telling. Yes, structure is important. No, it is not the bellwether of something’s success.

Art is vital but if I hear one more person prejudging a movie based on the trailer I will scream so loud that this very planet will crack open and swallow us all into its fiery embrace.

Art is vital but that doesn’t stop it being something you have to practise. And, for fuck’s sake, please remember that not everything you do is genius. Finish things before you show people. It is hard and daunting but if you wait and develop a voice through trial and error people are going to be much more interested in what you do. Don’t be the photographer that just takes photos of their feet.

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this