Why the artist is, in fact, essential.

Always have been, always will be.

I saw a list from a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, with the top four essential and non-essential workers. 

Doctors, cleaners and garbage collectors commanded the essential list – no surprises there, as we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. What did frustrate me was what 1,000 respondents supposedly claimed as the #1 non-essential job right now. 

Can you guess what it is? 

The Artist. 

Yep. 71% of people think an Artist’s work is non-essential.

Now, before you go ahead and metaphorically nod your head, thinking ‘yeah I wouldn’t buy art right now’, we need a little refresh of what an Artist does. 

An Artist creates. 

The books you’ve been reading more of in quarantine… 

Those shows and movies you’ve binge-watched on Netflix… 

Those exercise classes you’ve joined… 

The cool ‘in isolation’ packages you’ve had sent to you… 

That music playlist you’ve been rocking to keep your spirits high… 

Heck, even that facemask you’re wearing… 

Yep, all these things have been created by Artists. See, lovely reader, Artists create just about every piece of entertainment you can think of. Yet, most people only attribute the Artist to, say, the ‘painter’ or ‘sculptor.’ 

Now, more than ever, we need Artists. The work Artists do isn’t just entertaining. It gives us hope, bridges different cultures, and inspires new ways of thinking through stories. 

As such, an Artist’s work is timeless, undefinable, and invaluable. Whether you’re an Artist yourself (your own version of it), a consumer of their creations (we all are) or both, we as a society need to not only protect but celebrate the role of an Artist. 

Could you live without music, movies, books, words, vlogs, that bag you bought overseas or your favourite pair of jeans? Well, they’re all Artist creations. 

And if you ask me, Artists are more than essential. They’re what connects us all, as humans.