Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable

That’s a quote from Cesar A. Cruz.  It really drives home the ability for art to meet us where we are.

As a conscious, evolving human being I believe we are to live in the duality of comfort and discomfort, where the two polarities co-exist in the right balance.  To be all discomfort is to be distressed, obviously no one wants to live such a life.  But to be all comfort is being complacent, delusional or in denial.  Actually the latter may be at the bottom of the façade of all comfort, and such a person will be disturbed when coming to contact with art, because art is an expression of inner truth.

But obviously not all arts do that.  You may be looking for a nice, serene painting of a green field.  Is there anything disturbing to anyone?

The line between entertainment and art is blurry, but the difference may lie in how deep the source is.  The deeper the artist has to dig into her/himself to bring out the art, the deeper it has the potential to penetrate its audience.  Painting has that power, acting has that power, and rock n roll has that power, but only if you dig in and bring out an inner truth.  It takes great skills to do this, but skills alone aren’t enough.  Art requires willingness to lay bare something hidden, something very personal.

There is nothing wrong with entertainment, we all need it.  I play Clash of Clans with my kids, it’s an awesome game.  Making entertainment is a worthy pursuit.

But for better or worse, the kind of music I’m drawn to, and the ones I make, is not an entertainment.  If it doesn’t have blood and guts I’m not interested.  It’s not always pretty or pleasant.  But if I am in discomfort art comes and connects to it where I am, and that connection uplifts me.  And if I’m in too much comfort, the discomfort art wakes me up and forces me out of my safety zone.  A lot of things in life are like muscles.  If we are not challenged, we are not only not growing, but actually atrophying.

Here is my recent song, “Can You Love a Landmine?”  Does it comfort you, or disturb you?