Artist Profile: Jen Painter – Day Five

Photographer/videographer JEN PAINTER contemplates her role as an artist. See her completed piece this summer at the public art show RACE AND REVOLUTION.

Q: What role does or should an artist have in society?

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A: I believe that when we react to our surroundings we connect directly with the world around us. Our reactions can be strengthening or weakening, but either way they are powerful. Let’s say something happens that affects me, and I feel angry, confused, disgusted, awakened. Where does that energy go? For me that energy almost always wants to turn into art or conversation. Art as a broad medium has created a space where we can speak raw truth, oftentimes without making people feel threatened. By removing a sense of threat or fear, people can absorb a message or a work of art with less bias and resistance. The art world creates a predisposition where we can say or do that would, in any other context, be uncomfortable, inappropriate, or unacceptable. From a social point of view, if an artist aims to please, he or she is missing the point.

 

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