Consumption is a dirty word. Sounds a little too close to 'dump' for my liking. Dump is a dirty, dirty word.
But consuming is a vital part of existing in any particular ecology. A teacher wouldn't teach without first going to school. A server wouldn't hock a menu without first trying the items being served. Ok, maybe these are bad examples but often we create whatever it is we artists create - music, theatre, film, comedy - so doggedly that we neglect to continue to consume. We are SO diligent and SO determined and SO used to hocking our own artistic wares we forget to see the forest for the trees.
It's easy to say that living in LA or NYC or whatever metropolis you moved to in order to pursue your art is SO expensive that it is hard to get out. That is a lame excuse, and any artist worth his or her salt can find ways to thriftily take in their surroundings. Unless we're talking about getting tickets to Book of Mormon.
In LA, it is easy to say it was SO hard to get to this or that side of the 405, or out of your bedroom for that matter. This is also a lame excuse. You know why.
You may try to say you are too busy to get out + see other peoples art. In some instances, this is a valid argument, but if you are not on tour, doing 16 hour days on set, or parent of a newborn child, I'm not buying it. Schedules can be built, time can be made, and chances are there is some nonsense which you regularly partake in which will not help you as an artist as much as getting out and seeing other artists' work. Firsthand.
When's the last time you allowed something to touch you deeply and then followed the rabbit hole to see where it led to next? When is the last time you experienced something brilliant and instead of sharing it, meditated on it? When is the last time you stepped outside of your chosen medium and took in a poem, a clown show, an art film, a piece of interactive theatre, an orchestra?
It is hard to see everyone's everything - I'm vague-blogging towards you, Friend who does a different play every single month - and certainly that is a vain pursuit, but I hope this little pep talk inspires you, Friend who says They are uninspired/exhausted/broke/stuck on the other side of the 405, to get out and scare yourself a bit. Get intimidated. Become a fan of other artists. Stop ramming your head into the same exact spot in the wall and scoot over an inch.
And let me know how it goes!