by T. Perry Bowers
My son is a bass player and also a cello player. He writes songs and sings in a band. He has always had a gift for music. His cello teacher would often tell us (the parents) how well he absorbed the instruction. We encouraged music and music has become the center piece of his life. I hope we (the parents) did the right thing.
My parents did the same for me. I started singing because I got a role in my high school’s musical production. I played Tom Sawyer in the play “Tom Sawyer” in my freshman year. I was in every play that my high school offered throughout my high school career. Most of the time I had a leading role.
Throughout my childhood, I was encouraged to paint, draw and write creatively. My mom was into the new age movement. Because of her, I took an interest in spiritual things. I studied the metaphysical. I started to practice yoga (way before yoga was trendy). I learned to meditate. I experienced shamanic journeying. I spent much of my time thinking about the higher realms.
I also studied languages. I took Spanish and French throughout high school. In the summer I attended month long immersion camps. I went to France and Spain during high school. I loved learning about other cultures. Russian was my major in college. I spent half of my senior year in St. Petersburg.
I didn’t realize that I was an artist until college. It hit me when I was walking across campus from a painting class to a band rehearsal. I was an artist! It shocked me and thrilled me at the same time. All of my heroes were artists. I thought maybe some day I would produce something great!
I was lucky enough to also have a sense for business. That part came from my dad. While he was actively encouraging me to be an artist, he was unknowingly imparting to me his business wisdom.
I tried to impart what I understand about business to my oldest son. I’m not sure how successful I was. Only time will tell.
Art for just art’s sake is wonderful. Art that is worth money is magical. Even though I haven’t sold much more than a thousand records in my life, I’m still an artist. I look at my business as my art. I produce content like videos and music to promote it. Everything in the environment is created by me. I set the tone. If someone feels inspired when they walk into my studio, I have done my job.
My oldest son is out of the house. I still have four children under my roof. I think about how I am raising them on a daily basis. Even though I enjoy the game of money, I still haven’t figured out how to pass that joy down to them in a healthy way.
The game of money is a tricky one. There is a certain pathology to people that like to make money. It can be an obsession.
Sometimes I feel like I’m from another planet. The planet I imagine I come from has a different kind of money. The beings there are benevolent. They do not compete. They care for each other. Power is just an energy to help manifest better things for the society.
That imaginary planet is the kind of world in which I want my children to live. My two oldest daughters go to a Waldorf school. For the first few years in a Waldorf school they live in a little utopia. They play with dolls. They do handwork. They play outside. They make bread together.
Slowly, but surely they add the academics. Eventually they introduce history. By the time eighth grade comes around, the children in a Waldorf school understand that the world is home to a lot of evil people.
This process of disillusionment is hard for all of us and especially for children. The pursuit of money (and power) is a big part of the problems we have on earth. How do we instill ambition in our children without corrupting them? How can I justify teaching my children to be artists when I know the chance of them making a living from their art is slim to none?
The fact is that I don’t have the answer. I just know that without my art, my life wouldn’t be worth living. So, in my household, art still rules. If my children made little money, but were able to foster a passion for some kind of art throughout their whole lives, I would say I was a successful parent.
On the other hand, if they had no art, but a ton of money, would they truly be happy? None of the financial success I have had in my lifetime would be worth anything if I didn’t have the joy of my art.
Art is how I celebrate. Music is the energy of my soul. I judge my own life not only by how many dollars I have in the bank, but by how much I’m improving as a musician.
The other day, I was practicing my guitar and I realized that I was playing a part with much more ease than I usually do. It gave me such a great sense of satisfaction.
So what does a parent say to his/her child? I love and value art, but I also place great importance on my ability to provide for my family.
I boiled down my thoughts to ten things artistic parents can pass down to their artistic children. In a way, each of these ten things is the same thing. Maybe one day I can come up with just one thing that will some it all up.
- Always look for balance between your business and your art.
- Give yourself fully to your art, but don’t neglect your business.
- If you can, make your business your art and your art your business.
- Find meaning at the intersection of your art and your business.
- Always keep part of your art separate from business.
- Give the best part of your art to the people.
- Your business (even if it isn’t your art) is your art.
- Your relationships are art.
- Your children (when you have them) are art.
- Your life is art.