I have a strange way of not experiencing certain things, not encountering certain influences, not witnessing certain art, until it is most relevant to me in my life, when it carries the most impact, and is most appreciated. And yesterday, I discovered the badass that is Amanda Fucking Palmer, and her thoughts on The Art of Asking.
It does seem slightly strange that I wasn’t already familiar with her work; I do recall at least 2 or 3 scenarios some years back in which I was told I should absolutely listen to The Dresden Dolls, I would love their music, I need to check it out asap, etc. However, as I also recall, these moments always happened while riding in the car, exactly one song would be played for me, I would enjoy it, then someone else would commandeer the stereo and I’d forget all about it. Probably because I wasn’t meant to properly discover Amanda Palmer until that moment when she would have maximum impact. As in now, when she is not only known for her role in the dynamic duo of The Dresden Dolls, but also a recognized revolutionary of how we interact with art and support the artists that create it; as in now, when I’m struggling to come into my own as an artist, and a connector of people and emotions and ideas, and could really use a role model who understands the art of putting one’s heart and soul out there, and the art of asking for the support needed to keep putting one’s heart and soul out there.
I’m losing count of how many times I’ve watched this video since yesterday afternoon.
I have been, without realizing it, asking for the wrong things, asking for permission to make my art. I feel like I need to make some kind of business, legitimize my work, start an Etsy, get a day job, do some “real work” to earn the right to make my art. I feel unsettled, and sometimes even guilty, when I create something that is expressly for the sake of making art. But it fills my heart with joy when people respond to my art, when they see me dance, when I gift a pair of wings, when I write something that someone relates to . . . how can I reconcile this joy in creation with the pressing refrain “Is this fair?” . . . the haunting whisper of “Get a job . . .”
Amanda gave me the answer. She says “trust, and ask.”
So I will. I will trust in myself, I will trust in my art, I will trust in my audience, sparse as they might be right now.
I will stop asking for permission to make my art; I will start asking you to trust me.
I’m going to use my art to fall in love with the world, and I’m going to ask you to give a little back if you fall in love too.
I see you . . . thank you.