For the love of Art

For the love of Art

“For the love of Art, don’t art for prize!” Three men were chanting by the van andel arena in Grand rapids. We decided to walk up to them to see what he fuss was about. “hey there, my name is Bob, this is Bobby, and this is Robert.” The smell of alcohol lingered when they spoke, you could tell these men haven’t showered in a few days. They went on telling us why they had set up a venue here and what it was about. They had cardboard boxes in front of them with the words “keep positive” and small inspirational quotes. “Its here for others to make art without being judged on it, to many artists sell them selves short and think that their art has to be perfect for the judges and not for them.” What Bobby had said made a lot of sense, although most of these artists made the art because they loved it and wanted to show the locals what they can do. Artist struggle today with doing art for money and fame rather than doing it for the love of it. Its a lot of pressure to have.They had invited us to write our own words of inspiration for others to see when they stopped by.  While my friends and I started jotting down positive quotes, Robert starts singing and playing guitar, and hes not bad. Listening to Santeria, by Sublime, while writing down positive things to share with the next group of people who will walk by was the highlight of my day. Even though these guys seemed like total nut jobs, they still made sense in what they had to say. Bob came from the Netherlands, and train hopped the rest of the way here when he landed in the states. You could hear his accent when he spoke,”I went all over and one day I ended up here in Grand Rapids. We are staying in tent city for now, but hopefully with enough gigs we can get and apartment.” Tent city was a place under the radar in Grand rapids that very few people knew about where people with now where to go had stayed in tents. I only knew it from the mission trips I had went on there. Robert and my friend Lindsay were talking, and he came over to me and hands me the guitar and says “play a song!” Of course I am nervous, even when the crowd is three drunk guys and 3 of my friends, it was still terrifying. I grabbed the guitar and started playing Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, trying to stay in the alternative genre that they had on their “set list”. After I had finished playing we decided it was time to head back home. Before we left Robert handed me his pick, and wrote his real initials on it and said “when i become famous this will be worth some money.” We both laughed knowing it was a joke, I took the gift and we were on our way. On our way back to the car I couldn’t help but worry about them, I know to some people they seem like washed up alcoholics. To me they were just like everyone else. Maybe a little more broken than others, but they were more kind than a lot of people who had more than they did.


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