Hopefully you caught the inspired HBO Special Presentation by Beyoncé entitled Lemonade last night. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the project was kept under lock and key for some time. Even as a Bey fan I was unaware until just before the program started that it was about to air.
I wasn't prepared.
My mouth was open for the first 15 minutes. I paused the program briefly because there was a mess of T being spilled, and I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. My friends were already watching, and my text message alerts were ringing at regular intervals. What was happening? Beyoncé was ripping her own heart out all over my TV screen. It wasn't until after getting over my initial shock over the revelations she was offering, that I even realized we were looking at another album, set out to outdo the last surprise release. I was inspired to say the least. And not just because the visuals were amazing and provocative, but because once again, I found myself UNPREPARED. In my OWN artistic life! Let me explain...
Driver roll up the partition please...
When Beyoncé released her last album simply titled Beyoncé, it was a surprise to all. It was not marketed and released unannounced, and was incredibly successful, thus marking her as one to beat (in case that wasn't obvious). Me and some besties gathered around a laptop and watched the entire album unfold on the screen in awe. Laughing, crying, and deeply feeling the beats, lyrics, and visuals we were being served. After all was said and done, I could do nothing but marvel at the work of art that was now embedded in my psyche. And I kept thinking over and over, she did nothing to promote this. We found out through social media, the album dropped on iTunes and that was it. No one knew it was coming.
So confident was she in her work that it didn't need a drop of promotion, because the fans were going to do that for her. And they did. Not only that, but the work, the concepts, were haunting me and I HAD to live up to this, as an artist. For my own sanity, I had to be as creative, as disciplined, as ambitious as this album. I had to be half the artist (with half the confidence!) she is to feel accomplished.
I had to admit to myself, confess even, that I had not always put my work first. I had slacked a bit here and there enjoying my surroundings and life in the city. But after being bombed with Bey, I have to say I got a wake-up call. Bey was telling me, enough shenanigans, it was time to work, and all I could do was say "Yes ma'am" and quickly hang up before she caught me wasting time to take a breath. That inner voice was telling me to do better. I had to listen, and I went to work. I was proud and thankful to be so inspired to step up my game and EARN the right to call myself an artist by daring to inspire another with what I do.
hold on to your edges
I listen to a popular YouTuber and podcaster by the name of Kid Fury. You should look him up if you need a visual and verbal representation of the feelings a Bey fan feels when she "does it again." Snatches wigs that is. Ruining careers. Because she raises the bar for many, including myself, and I'm not even a musician.
After last nights presentation, I was not about to waste time. I could hear the phone ringing, and I knew it was her again. I went to the studio and sat down to work. I didn't care it was almost midnight. This was going to be a tribute. Small, and to the point, it was just the image that I had to release from my spirit. Afterward I had to write this as well. I don't often lack in inspiration, I find it many places, and in many things. I advocate that artists never stop making work: good, bad, and ugly. Making work and staying active in the studio is hard enough WITHOUT motivation, so when it comes, its a great feeling. I always get motivated by seeing great work from others, especially my favorite artists. And YES I fanboy over events like this! The renewed creative energy is a welcome cool breeze. The beauty of the fashion, the sets, the special effects, the poetry, the political air, the heartbreak, and subsequent healing, all lend atmosphere to the music that is not to be missed. And new music for MY studio is the best parting gift when the hype is all over.
Here are some process photos for you of my late night creation. I hope you find something or someone in your life that inspires you to create daily. Lemonade is made when Life hands you lemons and its all you have to work with. That was the basic message for me with this album, and its my message now to you reading this. Life is hard and wonderful at the same time and yet it presents you with the opportunity to make the best thing you possibly can in this moment.
and another thing...
Excuse this sort of rant, but I want to say a few words to dispel any negativity you may face as an artist. I notice that whenever someone who's popular like a celebrity gains attention for
their work, i.e. Beyonce, all the haterade begins. "Too much" they say, "enough already" they mutter. It's as if the moment an artist reaches the attention of the masses, they have to
let it go (as if it were that simple). Don't let this distract you. As artists, we deal in emotions and we work with what we know. Another artist's message may not be for you,
but it is for someone. And maybe someone benefits, and that should be enough for anyone to put aside their judgement (but they often don't). Go make your own I say. Reach and
inspire YOUR audience I say. But for crying out loud don't waste time trying to silence another voice. (As if you could anyway).
I understand many may not be fans, or quite simply they don't appreciate the hype. Celebrities come with much hype, I get it. There's also pretty packaging that many get caught up on. Designer dresses, models, gossip, and the like, but its a all just a frame for the work within its borders. There is much to take away from such a massive project. There are things to dissect and discuss. There are MANY voices to be heard here, songwriters, poetry writers, and collaborators ALL lending to the project. Newsflash: artists rarely create on their own. For myself, I see artistic signals, which offer me inspiration and motivation to create my own lemonade. I saw a project that was much bigger than the fame of one person. It was bigger than just a pop album. It was a heartfelt message from all that helped create it. A reminder even that someone out there knows that life is a struggle, and no one escapes the pain it can cause, but anyone can choose to spin straw into gold.
It's what artists do. Alchemy.
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About the Artist
I would call myself a Jack of all Trades, but mostly because I'm interested in many areas of art if not all! I graduated with a BFA in Fine Art from the University of North Texas with a focus on Watercolor. I always had dreams of creative writing, and in 5th grade I wasn't too bad! Art clearly won out for my attention, but writing will always have a place in my heart!
What better way to write, I say, than to share a blog, and practice my second love while talking about my first! With that said, I hope you all enjoy my ramblings and please hit me up with any questions. :D Contact me!