I thought long and hard about the dichotomy between art and entertainment when planning this blog. Samuel Tinianow said that “every form of entertainment essentially has two genres: commercial and high-art.” I agree with Mr. Tinianow but let me go a step further: it is art that transforms the opinion, enlightens, the cause, makes the audience comfortable or uncomfortable, as needed, to shift opinion. When we entertain ourselves, don’t we mostly know exactly how we’ll spend our time? We usually have a pretty good idea of the subject matter, the film plot, the singer’s favorite hits, etc. On the other hand, when you encounter art, you may or may not know the mind of the artist before the transference occurs, but you are (or should be) prepared to receive some of that “mind,” and this experience should transform the way you live in some way, in contrast to an entertaining afternoon that just fills time or fancy or fends away boredom. Art and entertainment are however intertwined and always will be, for two simple reasons: we tend to avoid things we know to be unpleasant, and all artists have to eat and pay their bills.
Therefore, some of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen (even repeatedly) have shifted my ideas and given me new insights into something intangible with all the power of high art: and, some of the most classic and timeless artistic expressions have left me cold and completely unmoved. Subjectivity is the key–subjectivity with an eye towards what resonates with the contemporary audience. This is where I want to be. I am drawn towards the visual and performing works of art that strive to improve and enlighten; to strengthen and empower. As an artist, I feel driven to share my mind, my visions, viewpoints, songs, impressions…and I wholeheartedly support others who feel the same.
It was at a food court, last Saturday morning, at a regional mall here in Atlanta, where I thought of this idea of entertainment vs. art while eating my french fries. To use a food analogy, we have fast food, and we have haute cuisine. Both have their die-hard adherents. Both cost money. Both get the job done on the most basic level (to fuel the body.) Both do lend themselves well to experimentation and new things, and one can pick and choose favorites from either side. But let’s face it, one of those types of food really doesn’t generally make you healthier, nor is it engineered for your long-term well-being. Thus it is with entertainment and the arts. It’s all about the choices you make for your mind. -Scott