Following my own vision
“Despite death threats, this woman is challenging perceptions about heavy metal music.”
Certain circumstances in my current world are bringing to me that “stranger in a strange land” feel. I completely understand what Amalie Bruun is going through.
The truly creative act will present a challenge to existing paradigms: it’s the very nature of a creative act, any creative act. As open-minded as I might consider myself, I find myself often enough in the driver’s seat of the “existing paradigm.” Given some input, some experience, I have three choices:
1. Do I like this? Do I agree with it? Is the input consistent with my existing models, my culture? Do I agree with it from a moral, ethical, philosophical viewpoint?
2. Do I not like it? Am I opposed to it (culturally, morally, ethically, philosophically, etc.)?
3. Whether I like it or not is less important than following my own vision, which I am working diligently on making manifest. I intend to bring some light and fresh air into the world. I intend to express my self onto this situation in which I have found myself. I am going to make it different, and possibly better.
“Following my own vision” means that I am NOT following anyone else’s vision. This is a threat to many people, maybe most people. The truly creative act (and, in conjunct, the truly creative person) just doesn’t fit in… because that act has (for all intents and purposes) never been done before.
One does not have to be a Picasso, or Van Gogh, to appreciate this. Consider this: that what is considered “cool” today was considered outrageous just a few decades ago, within my lifetime. Having worked in corporate America (1993-2012) I saw first-hand the transition of the tattoo from a position of “never get a really good job if you have visible tattoos, and certainly not in management” to “my new boss has really cool tats.”
If one doesn’t wish to live creatively, then there are many options available; just sign up. It not just a job, but an adventure. Join up now! Get with the program. Become a team player.
Or, take the Outsider road, the Rebel Path. Wear all black, play screamingly loud and fast music, pierce multiple body parts, write songs with provocative lyrics and titles, push every cultural envelope as far as you can until it rips apart…
wait… unless you’re a blond Danish woman, because that’s just… wrong. Inappropriate.
“Despite her defense of the genre, Bruun herself is under attack from black metal devotees — mostly American men — who base their hate around her gender.”
It’s always the Men. Poor girl.
“She has received death threats and hate videos and has been the subject of hit job pieces claiming she is ruining black metal.”
“Am I really that powerful? Can I ruin a whole genre? I don’t think so,” she says with a laugh.
Yes, Amalie, you can ruin the whole genre. You are that powerful.
To be more precise, you won’t “ruin” the genre; you are transmuting it. Alas, such transformation is an alchemical process, requiring Solve et Coagula: dissolve and congeal – you must first destroy before you can create.
The public, your friends, your mom and dad, those boys in the metal band down the street… probably aren’t going to get it. They will point out your flaws, and possibly suggest that you settle down and get down to Reality. Amalie, you’re a weirdo, a creep, a threat to Black Metal.
Those poor boys.
I say “Keep it up, Amalie Bruun! Work it, refine it, make it your own voice, and make it loud and clear. Sometimes you’ll cry, sometime you’ll try, but trying is the best and only way to make anything happen.”
No truly creative act or person ever goes unpunished. If it were easy to digest, then it’s really not very creative, is it?
Back to Picasso: In 1907, Pablo released his painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” to the unsuspecting public:
“Although Les Demoiselles had an enormous and profound influence on modern art, its impact was not immediate, and the painting stayed in Picasso’s studio for many years. At first, only Picasso’s intimate circle of artists, dealers, collectors and friends were aware of the work. While many were shocked and some outraged, influential people such as Georges Braque and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler were supportive…. Les Demoiselles would not be exhibited until 1916, and not widely recognized as a revolutionary achievement until the early 1920s.”
In 1907, the pinnacle of artistic excellence was, for the broad public and the experts. the painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. He did nice paintings, full of smooth ivory flesh and a professional finish. He made Appropriate Paintings.
Picasso painted Inappropriate Paintings. His group was women were prostitutes in a brothel; Bouguereau painted nymphs cavorting innocently in an Arcadian landscape. A nice painting.
Therefore, let’s assume that Culture is a game, an egregore (look it up), a collective meme by which the Collective makes its judgments. Culture is a lovely bowl of fruit sitting on a lovely kitchen table. It is meant to be appreciated, but not eaten, until of course that day comes when you notice the rotting smell and the horde of fruit flies swirling about it. (We can blame this on either Obama or Bush, depending on your cultural and political bias.)
In ART. as in LIFE – (note the use of caps) – the birth of the New means the Death of the Old.
Go to it, Amalie Bruun! Rip down those black walls covered in anarchic graffiti. Play with more skill and intensity than those poor, unhappy boys in their Doc Martens! It will be on them to catch up to you.
Final note: if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you sense the smell of a decaying fruit bowl in your life, then invent your own life, your own song, and the chips will indeed fall where they may, but By All The Gods and Goddesses, that life you live will be uniquely YOURS!
Safety not guaranteed.