What is great art?

Tragedy is the greatest art form of all. It gives us the courage to continue with our life by exposing us to the pain of life. It is unsentimental, it takes us seriously as human beings, it is not condescending. Paradoxically, by seeing pain we are made greater, it becomes a need. ~Howard Baker

It has been said, that the best art comes from a place of pain. I believe this is true. Lately though, I have been broadening my view of just what constitutes art and how to best be inspired.

In the midst of the pain of the abuse, drugs, violence, gangs, and a lack of positive models Larry Acosta created Kidworks. Larry is an artist. In the midst of a terrible shooting in the Shalimar neighborhood a group of mothers, Randy Barth and some churches got together to create THINK Together. They are artists. In midst of children walking miles and miles without shoes Blake Mycoskie created Tom’s Shoes. Blake is an artist.

Most of us stop short in the midst of pain. We freeze. We stammer. We don’t know what to do, what to say, how to act. But not the artist. The artist intuitively knows what to do. The artist creates. Whether it is a song, a poem, a dance or a non profit, a church, a business. The artist draws from that pain to create something beautiful. In the midst of all the brokeness and suffering the artist see’s hope for redemption.

How can I draw inspiration from the things that cause others to turn away?

Allow yourself to know on a real and personal level those who are suffering, those who are poor, those who are hurting. Share in their burdens. Take their pain on yourself. Art inspired by this type of pain will be far more beautiful, far more inspiring, far more beneficial to society than all the works of the greats through out history. Use your canvas, your turntables, your dance, your creativity, your business to support, inspire, challenge, educate, enlighten and you can change the world.


About Scott Overpeck

Scott Overpeck is a creative leader with a heart for contextualizing movements of justice, advocacy and compassion to his surroundings. He is the founder of Intersection Creative Strategies, a consultancy advising social enterprises and non profits on communications as it relates to marketing, fund raising and commerce. Additionally he sits on the board of Renewing Hearts; helped found Laundry Love Santa Ana; and leads 511, a small creative community in Santa Ana. Scott lives in Orange County, California with his wife and two sons. He enjoys tacos, unicorns and American Idol.
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