Friday, May 6, 2016

Stephen Kellogg, artists, and audiences

As I wrote in yesterday's entry, Stephen Kellogg and his band put on a wonderful show at the Back Room at the Cat's Cradle.  His highly personal songs touched everyone in the audience, and the crowd responded to every tune enthusiastically.

Click the image to see a larger version.

The problem is, the audience numbered about fifty people.  Only fifty people showed up to see one of my favorite musicians pour his heart out for nearly ninety minutes.  For my taste, if there was any justice Kellogg would pack huge venues and sell out wherever he played.

My taste, of course, is an extremely unreliable indicator of artistic success.  Josh Ritter would be filling stadiums if my taste ruled, and Ritter is not (though I think he's doing well).  Nick Harkaway would be a bestseller in the U.S.  (My own books would do rather better as well.)  I could go on and on.  I'm sure you could, too.

All any artist can really do is create the best work they can, put it out there, and hope for the best.  I know marketing and social media and all of that can help, but if the work doesn't happen to touch a large audience, then the artist won't sustain such an audience over time.

I find this truth disheartening, but it is the truth.

Nonetheless, I hope one day Stephen Kellogg gets the audiences I believe he deserves.


Mark P said...

I hope that your favourite artists continue to perform.
My own favourites a group called Celtus gave up after about 5 years. They were filling venues to several hundreds but weren't progressing and they decided that family was a more important priority.

Mark said...

Mark, I'm sorry to hear that, but I have to respect their choice.

Mark P said...

True family should come first, but it is sad.

I live in hope that like many artists have come back later in life.

I saw ELO recently having missed them the first time around and it was a truly fantastic show.


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