Edi­tor’s Note

Hello Mr. Magazine - - EDITOR'S NOTE - Ryan Fitzgib­bon

In this is­sue, au­thor Garth Green­well sug­gests that “be­ing an artist means try­ing to tell the truth as much as you can.” This the­ory is pro­posed in con­ver­sa­tion with Hanya Yanag­i­hara, who re­sponds say­ing that their work as artists is “tough work…that it is un­com­pro­mis­ing, not just in its subject mat­ter nec­es­sar­ily, but be­cause you have the sense that the artist is re­ally for­get­ting their au­di­ence.” From the orig­i­nal tran­script of a 19,000-word in­ter­view, I come back to this con­cept most, the idea of for­get­ting your au­di­ence. In one’s work – or in life for that mat­ter – much of what we do and what we take a stand for is so of­ten for an au­di­ence of some kind. It is some­times what gets us out of bed. It is some­times what keeps us awake at night. It is some­times why we per­se­vere. That de­ter­mi­na­tion, as Hanya puts it, “an­nounces you have some­thing to say.” In the wake of the tragedy in Or­lando – and the tu­mult of our po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural land­scape – our work sud­denly takes on a dif­fer­ent mean­ing. Now, the courage to take a stand is weighted heav­ily with ex­pec­ta­tion. Us­ing our stage to ex­press that “truth” Garth was talk­ing about, is no longer op­tional. This is­sue ex­am­ines our lives as artists and the per­for­mances we con­duct, both on and off stage. Con­sider our cover mister, and Hamil­ton’s lead­ing man, Javier Muñoz. Pressed to take roles that felt to­kenis­tic, even stereo­typed, Javi saw no point in ac­cept­ing a gig un­less it meant he could do it with his whole self: “It did not scare me to turn down an act­ing job and go back to my restau­rant or work four other jobs to pay the bills.” While work­ing on Hamil­ton, a show that has su­per­su­perceded all ex­pec­ta­tions with an al­most en­tirely non-white cast – Javi, who has been HIV pos­i­tive since 2002, was di­ag­nosed with can­cer last year. In the worst of the re­mis­sion, he tells us that what pulled him through was the mo­ti­va­tion to get back on stage – not for the au­di­ence, but for the story. Stephen Gal­loway, dancer-chore­og­ra­pher-cre­ative-move­ment-direc­tor, ap­pre­ci­ates the power and the beauty in this re­silience. Where no cre­ative pro­fes­sion is short of ob­sta­cles, his had its do you con­vey to an au­di­ence that it's more than per­for­mance – it's your story. Like how Gal­loway gave the The Rolling Stones front­man “a vo­cab­u­lary of move­ment,” mak­ing Jag­ger move like Jag­ger. Artist, Win­ston Ch­mielin­ski de­scribes the process of invit­ing some­one into his work as “al­chem­iz­ing ap­pre­hen­sion into en­thu­si­asm.” He’s aware that his paint­ings and in­stal­la­tions can be chal­leng­ing, but that the viewer’s ap­pre­hen­sion is nat­u­ral – it is sim­ply not their world. Win­ston’s paint­ings are for Win­ston, that much is true. Tra­di­tion­ally speak­ing, ex­hibit­ing your work re­moves you as per­former. You are back­stage, wait­ing to see if your truth means any­thing to any­one. To me, that is what it means to for­get your au­di­ence. To not be gov­erned by opin­ion. If you’re an au­thor, an ac­tor, a dancer, or a painter, the au­di­ence is an in­evitabil­ity. What’s more im­por­tant is that what you cre­ate has mean­ing to you. And if you’re lucky enough to have that story mean some­thing to some­one else, then keep go­ing. In­vite them back­stage. Let ’em see you.

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