you’re not an artist

I watched this video this morning and I thought, for a moment, “How strange….we do love to pigeonhole people….listen to this guy…..”

“….and he’s not even a singer!”

And he’s not even a singer.

He’s singing….it sounds pretty good…it sounds really good…but it must just be acting, because he’s an actor…he’s not a singer.

Robert Downey Jr is just a man pretending to be a singer. He must just be acting.

If you can do a lot of things…or a couple of things well…but you’re known for doing one thing really well…then everything outside of the thing that you do really well is suspect.

Like if Michelangelo was known for being a great artist…was known for being a great sculptor…and someone said, “You know…he’s a genius with cars. He can fix just about anything. It’s amazing…he really knows his way around an engine….” we’d discount everything he did outside of the thing he was well-known for.

We might say, “Uh…get back on topic.  Did you see that big dude sculpture he did?  Now that was a good big dude sculpture!”

We can’t let anyone be multi-faceted.

If we allow them any of our attention at all, it needs to be on our terms.

We define the parameters…it’s easier to say, “OK, you’re an actor.” or “OK, you’re a dentist.” and stop there.

We can’t allow them any more than that. Our interest doesn’t run that deep, usually.

And if someone seems to have a lot of interests…has a lot of abilities…it can kind of take away from the main talent…like we might say, “Imagine what he could do if he could really apply himself…if he wasn’t screwing around with all this singing stuff…why, he might even win an Oscar if he’d stop screwing around with all this singing stuff.”

From my experience, from what I’ve seen with my talented friends, if they can do one thing well, if they have more than one “creative bone in their bodies”, then they can do a lot of things well.

We still need to figure out what they’re all about.  It’s easier to have a one word description like “songwriter” or “painter” or “writer” or, even, “mother”.

“Mother”…talk about multi-tasking.

But that’s just normal…nothing heroic or strange about that.

Here’s another song by Robert Downey Jr.

I’m not going to champion Robert Downey Jr. as being the greatest singer who ever walked the face of the planet. He’s probably not.

But he’s really pretty good, in a sea of really good singers, he’s pretty good.

And he’s famous already…so he can get his album made.  He doesn’t just get to sing along with the radio while he does the dishes in his apartment kitchen.

He gets to step onstage with Sting and sing for a while.

Now here’s another guy who kind of surprised me.

I like these “Will you look at that?!  Who knew he could do that?” kind of moments.

There are lots of talented people in the world.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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