Alan Moore is a writer and artist famously known for Watchmen, V for Vendetta and other graphic novels.
This video clip hits me in my gut. As an artist myself it is like a war cry into my soul. More than that, the ideas expressed by Alan in this clip, expose the source of the blood in my mouth. The unwelcome taste that comes from fighting the opposing forces of a life in art and surrender to normalcy.
Alan says that on his 40th birthday he would "Terrify my friends by declaring myself to be a magician." That would terrify my friends, family, landlord, and dog.
Alan calls this a logical end step in his career as a writer. He argues that "magic is a science of language and you have to be very careful of what you say." He says modern ideas of magic create "some confusion as to what magic is. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as the art." He believes this to be completely literal,
magic is art.
Art forms like painting, writing, music, and sculpture are literally magic. Because art like magic is the science of manipulating symbols. As a writer you find magic woven into the fabric of language. He points out that, "A grimoire or a book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar."
"An artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world you are likely to see to a shaman." Whereas, in our past, Art was the province of the shaman. The modern users of shamanism and magic are advertisers. Modern writers and artists have sadly accepted that their work is mere entertainment. Instead of knowing their work to be a transformative force that can change a human being or a society,
They are seen as simple entertainment to fill 20 minutes or half an hour while we are waiting to die.
The job of the artist is not give the audience what they want. It is to give the audience what they need.
And I would add that the artist is driven by his own need.