Don't Let Me Down- The Importance of Telling the Truth With Your Art

by David Finley
Don't Let Me Down: John Lennon/ Beatles Tribute- by David Finley
"Don't Let Me Down
Don't Let Me Down
Don't Let Me Down
Don't Let Me Down"
-John Lennon

 Don't Let Me Down by the Beatles is one of my favorite songs of all time. It is a song armed with lyrics, both raw and incredibly powerful. The song is a desperate plea for love that won't end, and the naked anguish can be heard throughout the chorus.

  With it's lack of pretense, it penetrates emotional barriers, reaching a part of us that has been terribly hurt before, but took a chance on new love anyway. There's a deep truth that you can feel. For those of us who have been betrayed or hurt by love, we can identify with the pain. We too have been there. It's real.

 It's one of the reasons I am such a big John Lennon fan. Although he was quite controversial as a public figure, Lennon seemed to make himself vulnerable through his music in a way that he never would otherwise. In speaking about his own process as a poet and songwriter he said,

"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all. "

Speak the Truth

 Artists are communicators. We observe the world around us and the life within and document what we see. In this digital age, sometimes being clever or trendy is prized over truth in art, but it doesn't last.

 Admittedly, there's nothing wrong with being clever as long as it's honest. If it's not true and doesn't carry the potential to connect with others, what have you or I as artists really accomplished? How have you reached within yourself to provide a reflection for others to see themselves in? How has your art made a difference in the lives of those who interact with it?

Sometimes What is Fantasy is Actually Reality

 In his book The Things They Carried, a memoir about Vietnam by Tim O'Brien, he often states,
"None of this actually happened, but all of it is true."
  I'm paraphrasing a bit on that quote, but he repeats it several times throughout the story. I was particularly taken with that idea that it would be possible to write something truer that didn't actually happen, than something that did. In O'Brien's case, he experienced the Vietnam war, and instead of describing the actual factual events, he tells us with various accounts what he emotionally experienced, instead. It made a book in a genera as gritty and raw as a war memoir connect that much more.

 Yet, truth is not really about genera, either. Tolkein wrote about genuine hope in the midst of despair in Lord of the Rings, Picasso reflected the horror by depicting bombs dropping on an innocent city with Guernica, and in Harry McClintock's Big Rock Candy Mountain, we see a hobo's desire to escape the hardship of life described in the ideals of a strange fantastic paradise. That's real art.

 It's when we are honest about what is inside us that a true connection begins to form. It's how we, as visual artists, writers, choreographers, musicians, actors and all types of artists make the most impact.

 Artists of all types, let me encourage you to speak your own unique truth. Being vulnerable poses the greatest risk, but yields a greater reward. It takes courage to speak out about something that we so deeply guard within ourselves. Speaking out invites criticism and derision, but it is worth speaking just the same.

 Your voice might be the reflection someone is waiting for to speak to them and heal them in a way nothing else can.

Thanks for reading, Scofflaws!


 Oh yeah, and if you haven't heard the Beatles, Don't Let me Down, you can catch it on Youtube:

About the Art


Title: Don't Let Me Down: A John Lennon/ Beatles Tribute- by David Finley
Medium: Digital- Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop

 Being such a big Beatles fan, I've always wanted to do a piece of art in tribute to their music. This is the first of a series about songs written by the Band. With this song, I wanted to reflect the raw energy that came from his vocals, so I tried to imbue the piece with an active movement.

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