The Starving Artist

August 5, 2011


What will you do when no one else cares to watch you anymore? How will you express yourself then? Or will you even bother to try?

As a young man I read a story called The Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka that seemed to pose this very question. The story is about this dude whose only gift to the world is his ability to starve himself. At first people are very responsive to his talent and they gather around him by the dozens to watch him fast. But eventually they become indifferent. They don’t stop to look at him nor do they acknowledge his existence. In the end the hunger artist decides to keep doing what he does best and ultimately he dies from starvation.

I wonder what sacrifices the actors of today would be willing to make if no one came to the theater. Would the singers still sing if no one listened? Can the pastor still preach the gospel without a congregation? How far would you be willing to go for your craft? Do you do it for yourself or do you do it for the crowd? And are you really sharing a gift if there is no one there to receive it?

Art can be so stimulating when the artist puts his soul into his work. Thank you Franz Kafka for your literary genius.

-Roger Porter

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