The best conversations I have, always seem to happen in North End Halifax when I go to visit my old roommate, best man and great friend, Greg. Greg is an artist in many ways. He’s a musician, an architect, a visual artist, a singer, has an amazing back-yard garden, is a great cook, and always hosts the best parties in town. This time he was describing what he saw as a weakness in the current world climate.
“There are no saints, anymore,” He said. “There’s no one out there that makes me think he or she is going to capture the world’s imagination for the next 40 years.” “There are no Madonnas, Elton Johns or Beatles out there right now. There is a lot of talent, but no one with the attention span to go out there and bring something new to the world.” There was more, alluding to the democratization of art and the primacy of the amateur in the Web 2.0 world.
I should also say that Greg was not complaining or lamenting. He was merely making an observation. Also, I should that that, while Greg is older than I am and I am no spring-chicken, Greg is onto the music world in ways that most 16-year-olds are not. Greg is the first to notice the latest, hippest pop artist coming out. He is a Maven in that world and his view should be looked upon as more than just a curmudgeon wishing for the good ole days. He also wasn’t saying that YouTube and other art-sharing sites suck. His view probably is not that the products on these sites suck, but that people are going online because the products in the mainstream media suck.
It seems to me that the future may be pretty uninspiring for artists if we continue to go down the train we are going. While the internet world is full of people who are willing to do crazy things, the desire to get your project up first is really killing a sense of, well, religion about our culture.
It was a good conversation and an interesting view coming from a very smart person.