Working for the Greater Good

There are times, hard times, of economic stugggle and critical stagnation, that sometimes leaves artists staring out into space, wondering how to bring the future about. For all of our dreams can only take place either in great austerity, or peaceful rest, often, in this culture, sustained by exploited conditions of work. In this reality, as a director of an arts organization, I have to ask myself: What is a fair wage for working, experimental artists in our culture. I am one, and I have seen many of my friends forced to give up the life of an artist, or not able to explore it fully, due to the stress and daily realities of pure survival.

Amaryllis Recordings mission is to try and change that. So many of us find ourselves compromising, limiting the vastness of our dreams, in order to create a quick, salient end to our stories, music,, and paintings we create. And I am among them. For those of us who have given our lives to our art, it comes at a great cost. How, in this world, for all of the stucture already created, become a place, a garden of hope that can grow and thrive.

As the director of Amaryllis, I feel like my best role, outside of being a forest of the imagination in my own right is to beccome the soil through which the garden can be nourished, and reach the heights for all of our artist to reach high enough that they can touch the dreaming of their unique skies. That means really getting into it, making budgets, high levels of communication, and constant analysis that can sometimes take away from reaching the hieghts of my own dreams.

But many of the artists of Amaryllis have no other place to go, or compacent bastions that serve almost as cultural prisons that only serve the few and not the many. Experimental art is at the forefront of the way we push forward, and this should be fairly compensated. In that sense, I created Amaryllis as a way to try and find that support through other means. In order to make a perfect place to thrive for art and music, I had to buiid it. As with Ferlinghetti, Amaryllis is a paradise for both the artists and myself, as an artist. In this way I do not see the difference.

Every time I help an artist on Amaryllis, I see myself, as myself. I feel what it’s like to have nowhere to go, and the joy of companionship once we have found it. It’s been a hard week setting up the label, and it’s going to get harder, for the short term, until Amaryllis becomes stable and I can safely make work again. I have the gift, if I can assume hubris for a moment, to both dream in the clouds, and also return to ground to once again plow the soil, and bring you this music, this art, this deep joy, reflected across the lives of the poets and artists we represent. I hope we do not fail in this regard, and Amaryllis is the best thing I can hope to do at the moment, and I hope it’s around for years to come. Back to writing poetry later today, but this week has been revelatory.

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