Gatekeeper: a human who controls Access to something, like a city gate. But according to Webster the term is also used metaphorically, referring to people who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium. Like the internet for example.
Gatekeeper is an app that protects your Mac from adverse enemy apps. It is a protector, a barrier, a watcher. It keeps out the enemy and let’s in only friends.
Do you have a Gatekeeper in your art life? That conscious barrier allowing in only supportive art friendly visions and creative inspiration, while keeping out the malware lurking, waiting to intrude and destroy? If you don’t you should, because truth be told, every artist needs one. So easy to be pulled down from your creative high, to the dusty barren humdrum existence most experience, so easy to give up and resist your given road of reward, while tuning into the static, aiming, at you from society’s darts and arrows. KEEP IT OUT!!!!!! It’s mission is to contaminate, wound, and kill. Your dream. Which is YOU.
Your personal Gatekeeper stands alert aware and on guard, to any threat attempting to thwart your creative destiny. Don’t be a sitting duck waiting for the avalanche of naysayers, doubters, and haters praying for you to fail, give up, join the herd, and ride the train into oblivion with those who just don’t GET IT.
Warhol says that art is “anything you can get away with”. He was so right, wasn’t he? But you have to start with that conviction at jump, in order to carry you thru the dangerous gauntlet into success. Your Gatekeeper keeps those Debbie Downers and Doubters out of your Matrix, allowing you to persist and pursue your calling. Cluttering up your flow with the negative crap so many artists deal with from the outside only slows you down, dries up the creative juices, and prevents you from making art, leaving you barren and dry on your own proverbial desert. Which is exactly how they want it.
The Gatekeeper let’s in your support team, your allies, while banning your enemy’s frozen facade of pretend interest. Artists work alone because art is not made in a crowd, with the voice of the multitudes cheering you on. The spirit is the individual creative glue that keeps the artist attached firmly to his/her vision. You are the art and the art is YOU. It’s not part of a crowd. You are not one of the sheep in the herd following the pack off the cliff!
“Make the paintings for yourself and if some one agrees with you it’s a coincidence” Julien Schnabell from his book “C.V.J. It seems like plenty of people weren’t exactly digging his broken plate canvas spectacles. Yet he was his own Gatekeeper and did them anyway until somebody Got It!
You can be your own Gatekeeper. Letting in who you want and banning those you don’t. Those who agree are IN. Those who don’t DON’T matter.
Most of us are in the Approval Admiration Club. The EGO loves to be Loved. It’s a trap for artists who also love to be loved yet being in the creative club of the soul, there is no guarantee that will happen. We may think our paintings are interesting but so what? If we rely on the opinions of Others we may be very disappointed and dismayed. Yet does it Matter? I say NO. IT DOES NOT. Anyone who claims “Artist” as their name does so without the approval or authority of OTHERS. The commercial game is an individual goal, a marketing game, based on the success myth where money is King and popularity is Queen.
How we think about our art gives our personal Gate Keeper power. It can tear it down or build it up. Like the Gatekeepers who serve computers, there purpose is to keep out the hacker, the virus, the poison, and so do we, if we choose, share that purpose, continuing on our creative path preserving and protecting our chosen work.
Shakespeare had this locked down. As did Blake, Miller, O’Keefe, Picasso, Cassatt , Kahlo, ManRay, and today – Steve Jobs, Camille Paglia, Zuckerberg , Sheryl Sandberg, Larry Page, and countless more creatives now thriving and working in a high tech state of the art world the past innovators could only dream of.
So, being a Gatekeeper is serious. It allows you to continue on your artistic journey, keeping out the naysayers, the doubters, and the egomaniacs who can only relate legitimate work to dollars, popularity, and prestige.
Somehow I don’t think Van Gogh was thinking of these concerns while painting his psychedelic vision of Starry Night. Or Munch, expressing on canvas his eternal Scream, or Hopper’s stark scenes of solitude!
From an Arab proverb:
“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”
The genuine substance behind the artistic illustration. Upholding these questions helps the Gatekeeper choose their friends and dismiss their foes. The gate is open to the positive life source pushing and sustaining the artists blood.
Stand guard at the gate! Be your own Gatekeeper!