What I Owe to My Audience

I told my therapist about this project, and one of her first reactions was "oh so you can't skip a day". It's creepy when someone knows you that well. Today I spent a lot of my session talking about performance art, because I when I don't want to confront something I talk about things I know a lot of weird little facts. Usually she doesn't let me, today she let it slide, but that got me thinking about art and the relationship between audience and artist.

I spend a lot of time in the folk music world, and as a professional fly on the wall one of my favorite, albeit creepy, things is to do is to watch people come up to musical artists after the show. It's such an intense and strange relationship, when one side has watched the other unzip their chest and leave it open on stage, and the other side has to take responsibility for unzipping their chest and leaving it open on stage. Those artists give so much of themselves to their audience, it's impressive, but the thought of it scares the living daylights out of me. 

I do like a good honest post, and for sure the blog entries that are more personal do better than other ones. I think we're all voyeurs, we're all curious, and we're all ready to whisper that next thing in another person's ear to keep life interesting. I am also heavily edited on here and have the entire internet between me and any readers (even if those readers are close friends), so I think what I'm getting at is we all owe our audiences exactly what we want to give them.

People demand a lot from artists, and a lot of what they demand is emotional labor. There are people in my life that I'm sure only share things with me because of how honest they perceive I am in my art. There are other people in my life that hand me their burdens as if I asked for them and am qualified to help them with them because of how honest they perceive I am in my art. I know so many other artists who have those exact same relationships, some are better at managing that that I am, others are not. I do not mean to complain about this, because trust is so precious and rare these days, but it is often overwhelming and strange. 

I know artists that share absolutely nothing about their lives outside of what is carefully curated, others like me are a little messier and share a version of ourselves for public consumption, and still others are willing to share more of themselves whenever the public asks for more. None are wrong. As per my posts about art practice early on in this blog I don't actually have an answer for what's right.

Maybe I shoot this one out into my friends list that is full of talented artists, what do we owe our audience?