Why can’t it be Art if I make it for an audience / by Heather Taylor

I am an artist. There. I said it. But I also make films and write articles for specific audiences. I told that to someone at a SXSW film drinks and they told me that thinking about an audience meant I wasn’t making art. I’m sure she would have also said if I made money, then that also wasn’t art.

This type of attitude makes me want to tear my hair out. It makes no sense to me why something is more worthy of the title of art if its made for your own selfish whim. I want to make something that has strong female characters, that gives an audience that loves sci-fi another good show, or make a documentary that helps people to not feel alone or persuade people to give more. I want to think – hey, what WOULD 17-25 year old females want to see on TV – and I want to know that I’m making something that someone beyond my mom and my Auntie Sue will like cause they are guaranteed to tell me they like everything I make.

I’m tired of people insisting art isn’t made with an audience in mind. Back in the day, way way back before anyone of were even imagined into being, artists had patrons. Yes – the artists had to be good – but they made their art for someone. Michelangelo didn’t just paint the Sistine chapel’s ceiling on a whim, and Shakespeare did a great job of slanting history to keep the royal money flowing in. Do we call either of them sell outs. No.

I want people to enjoy what I make. To laugh, to learn, to cry, to feel or even just to have a break in their day. And why not. Let’s make more art for the people and not convince ourselves we’re selling out. I think those who do may be afraid that if they actually make something for someone and it isn’t successful, that they can’t fall back in the excuse “I’m just misunderstood.”