The difference between the artist and their art

Cancel culture has shown more and more that we need to be able to separate the artist from the art. Yes, the artist is part of their art but while they will always own it financially, They don’t own it emotionally. Everyone who’s ever connected with the character and the story has emotional ownership. Once it leaves the artist’s mind and affects someone else’s it becomes a shared property. People look at art as solely the output of an artist’s mind. When in truth if you listen to most of them talk many, myself included, feel they’re transmitting something not making it in the same way you would make a vase.

Stephen king in his autobiographical writing guide, on writing, talks about stories being found things. An artist is less like a potter than an archeologist. The potter creates something from nothing while the archeologist uncovers something already present and brings it to light. I might create a story idea but the story itself always grows and changes in the telling. Becoming what it wants to be not what I make it. That’s the problem with cancelling people just because someone has a bad opinion doesn’t mean everything they have ever done is tainted. Art can’t be tainted by humans because it’s Something that comes through us, we have no real ownership of it. People change when they get older. Many have a conservative backlash against their younger selves like a more violent casting off of childhood.

The person who wrote Harry Potter was a different person. Hermione created an organization to help the house elves and she spent a lot of time talking about the oppression of the other magical races. Most people who hate don’t really understand that they hate others because it’s so ingrained in their being. JK Rowling doesn’t hate trans people. She is simply leaning on older opinions because that’s what she grew up with and it’s easier to fall back on that than question who you are and what you believe. It’s what most people do.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A sect or party is simply an elegant incognito to save a man from the vexcation of thinking. ” The opinions of our parents work in much the same way. Pre packaged viewpoints we don’t feel the need to examine because they have been with us our whole lives. Acting like someone’s entire life’s work should be ignored because they cling to outdated ideas is just as childish as thinking the whole world should share your opinions.

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