Written by Kate Newman
A philosophical question: if an artist lives but no one sees their work, did they ever make a mark?
Can an artist exist in the quiet spaces
the cracks and corners,
the secret paths and back alleys
of the world?
Or must an artist – to earn the title –
create themselves into existence?
Must they scream their presence along
‘big city’ streets and seek an audience
who would grant their work value?
Truly, is the value in the artistry itself,
or just how others perceive it?
Were Dickenson’s poems not just as profound
when they were sequestered in a trunk?
Were Van Gogh’s paintings not just as beautiful
Before his death boosted their success?
And why is it only when we die that others
finally seek the value in our lives?
A value, perhaps, that we were trying
to convince them of all along.
Of course, what is an artist
If not a person trying to live forever?
What is an artist,
If not a figure, or soon-to-be figure,
An old name to be remembered.
Revised, renowned, reprinted.
But what of the artists with no legacy?
What of the poets who were never heard
and the singers that never found a stage?
What if the Mona Lisa’s rival never
found a gallery to rest?
Did those artists exist?
Did they ‘earn’ the title?
Truly, is the value in history’s
ability to perceive and reflect on art
Or in the artistry itself?
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