JULY 22, 2011 3:07AM

THE NICEST COMPLIMENT YOU CAN GIVE A CREATIVE ARTIST

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It is not an award, or many awards, even though formal recognition is genuinely appreciated.

It is not money, even though most creative artists will never make a living at what they do best, and could often do with a bit more scratch.

It is not an appreciation of technical abilities, even though that may rightfully underscore years of hard work and a great deal of talent.

The nicest compliment you can give a creative artist, whether a dancer, writer, musician, painter, actor, director, choreographer, photographer, sculptor, or designer is that he or she through their art made you feel something that resonated within you. It doesn't matter what that emotion was -- joy, anger, sadness, longing, fear, peacefulness, anything -- but that it felt real, from your core. This is the highest calling of any art, and the most noble: to connect with other human beings in ways that often transcend words or time. Art helps us to better understand our world and ourselves, the endless quest for knowledge, for knowing.

If you are an artist and have ever received such a compliment, treasure it always. Its value and lasting effect means far more than any award or check you could ever receive.


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Sometimes the connection and the inspired emotion comes from someone who is full of grace. It's not a requirement of course, many stunning artists are tortured souls who might be hard to like, but I find that when it's discovered that the inspiring artist is also a good person it gives another layer of enjoyment. Without really knowing how you got to the present in the process, that it might have included Sisyphusian angst, I think you fit my definition of a graceful artist based in part on seeing how you interact and in part how you interpret the things you see. Thanks for this, it got me thinking--sorry to be so wordy with a compliment.
Your image of birds reminds me of the Spring Chickadees that nested, sat on the bird nest on my front porch, and the chicadees male and female seemed to kiss.
The male harvested bugs.
He'd bring a worm to Mom.
Then - after the eggs hatched.
He'd guard and Mom harvested.
Chickadees looked as if they kissed.
The birdhouse was a A-frame Gift.
The birdhouse hangs for ` Spring.
My daughter bums gas money`gin.
She teaches preschoolers to think.
She is as poor as a titmouse bird.
She is a pleasure to have home.
She makes me poor as piss pot.
I need a new pot to pea in too.
The economy breaks people.
I rant `Shame on Greedy.
They will croak in a hell.
What fools do we see.
I need a kiss soon too.
I get no satisfactions.
Beautiful thought too.

My daughter gave it to me. Nice.
The hatched birds keep singing.
Who taught birds to be melody?
Empathetic feedback is heady indeed, Marianne, and can buoy a person's flagging confidence. Financial reward is right up there with it, tho, for me, anyway. Even buoyed confidence needs a little physical security to keep a'going.
Speechless to respond to you, @bbd. I'm terrible at taking compliments, but will try to rise momentarily to your beautiful words and gracefully say, "thank you."

@Art, loved the poem. Maybe birds sing because they can fly!

@Matt, it's always exciting to get a paycheck for art-related work. But money is money -- I can earn that in other ways, but no one is ever going to tell me that they "feel" my waitressing skills! ;-) I wish we lived in a place where the arts were better compensated, but since we don't we make shifts and sacrifices to keep doing what we love to do. It's not easy.
I can remember my heart racing when someone first told me that something I wrote made them cry. Well, perhaps I need to be a bit more specific. Many people have told me that my writing made them cry in disgust. I was thinking of nice crying. Not that I am into making people cry all the time but the fact that I sparked an emotion was gratifying.
@DrSpudman, maybe you should be known as DrOnionman! ;-)