By Alicia Woods
The story of an artist is supposed to be a happy one. One filled with fame, glory, the whole nine yards. The artist is full of talent. Everybody loves and supports everything he does. He has everything you would ever hope for. He is the true embodiment of the phrase “nothing is impossible.” Daniel Johnston, an American artist, shows us a very different side of the life of an artist.
Daniel Johnston is an American singer and songwriter who is known for his pure and childlike view of the world, which is captured in his songs.
Johnston suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and has spent most of his life in psychiatric institutions because of it. Most of his work is composed of his many cassette tapes that he recorded in his home, songs like A Little Story, Life In Vain, Walking the Cow and The Story of an Artist.
In his song, The Story of an Artist, Johnston tells the story of an aspiring artist. That much is obvious. It begins with him saying that there are two types of artists. The ones who are in it for the glory, while others aren’t so bold. He is, surprisingly, the latter. The artist then informs us that his friends and family aren’t the most supportive of his art and way of thinking. They would rather he get a real job than continue his art and they constantly wonder why he is so odd.
They tell him he is not a true artist, that he should just give up and that nobody will ever appreciate his art.
The artist continues, despite the discouragements, and tells us the beauty of the world in his point of view. Even going as far as to state that “the best things in life are truly free.” The others taunt him, saying that he doesn’t know how to have fun. The artist then replies that they are wrong and that “the sun don’t shine in their T. V.” Unconsciously or not symbolizing that they don’t see the world as he does because they are stuck on the more materialistic side of things.
He then repeats the saying of “others would try for fame and glory, others aren’t so bold.” The difference is he then adds that others just like to watch the world, making it clear to us that he never wanted to be famous. He just wanted to do what he loved.
This song is a refreshing piece for those who are tired of the same artist that are just in it for the money. It proves that not all artist want the fame, the money or the glory. Some are artists just because they love the subject itself. I think that we all can relate to that, for there is an artist in all of us, just waiting to be inspired.