The Wall 
Disclaimer: this'll probably make zero sense if you haven't listened to Pink Floyd's The Wall, so if you haven't, go check it out before you cast your peepers over these self-indulgent rantings. :)

I think I've listened to "The Wall" about 7 times in the last week and a half. Literally every time I sit down at my desk, sling on the headphones and start drawing; I feel like the only appropriate emotional backdrop is: The Wall by Pink Floyd. I don't think I'd ever properly listened to it even a fortnight ago, so that initial loving surge that comes when you pull some precious stone out of the soil could explain a big part of this current fixation, but I dunno, I think there's something deeper going on. 

I keep coming back to that central, supreme metaphor of the album: the titular Wall. Those uniform grey lines carefully marking out those identical, vanilla white bricks in the wall, and Gerald Scarfe's gloriously defiant line slicing like a razor across the oppressive uniformity of its surface. In a way I feel any artist (must every artist be a rebel..?) worth his salt should find this image appealing. Why has this come to me now?

Throughout Roger Waters' intensely personal rock opera, the wall is presented as a quite brilliantly malleable metaphor. Waters' has gone on the record as saying that the album was written largely in response to this existential fear he had about there being an emotional wall between him and his audience. This lack of a positive, reciprocal love between artist and audience is largely signalled in the opening song "In The Flesh" where Waters' sings
So ya
Thought ya
Might like to go to the show
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
That space cadet glow
Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
Is this not what you expected to see?
If you want to find out what's behind these cold eyes
You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise

I often wonder if recognition is so important to artists because we're aware somewhere in the back of our minds that effort=reward is not usually a formula that will apply to us the way it applies to most people. Most of the time we try and we fail (it is after all almost impossible to dependably monetise truly creative efforts), but really I think it's because art - without a hint of hyperbole - can be the most personal/revealing thing a human being can do.
When we seek your judgement of our efforts, we really seek your judgement of ourselves.
We want to hear you cheer when our hearts break down the wall.

Sometimes people do, but usually they don't. Because what the wall really is at its core, is a system. We build systems to keep ourselves secure, the keep everything in its right place. We think in well-rehearsed systems, craving repetitive pattern; the warm fuzzy glow from the fire of familiarity that keeps the darkness of the unknown and unknowable firmly at the door. We build and tear down walls constantly throughout our entire lives, perhaps that is why the album loops back on itself the way it does, with the character destroying his wall at the end of The Trial only to build it again at the beginning of the album.

Is this a behaviour that is true of all human beings? Reflected in the archetype of the phoenix being constantly reborn from the ashes of its former self? Or is this unique to creative people? Certainly it's hard to imagine how or why anyone would dare risk destroying their walls without imagination. Our role in the society is largely to imagine new ways of seeing, thinking and being; is our job only to destroy the wall, while others build higher ones from the rubble?
If the wall is authority, yes. Because art will always prioritise truth over authority, if it doesn't it's propaganda. I think. 

Anyway, it's vital that art does value truth above all else, because left unchecked, too much authority will starve human beings of their souls, subjugate them into living machines, group thinkers; sad victims of their own dependence on rigid systems and dispassionate efficiency. The bleeding hearts and artists are what save people from becoming just another brick in the wall. 

Disclaimer: All images are not mine and are material pertaining to The Wall by Pink Floyd (1980).
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