Went on 17 feb 22 to see a private screening of ‘Tick Tick…Boom!’ the new film by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the star of the film,Andrew Garfield, attended a Q&A.
Garfield gave another great performance at the Q&A. Full of life and fire. However there is a dark side to all this. This film presents the romantic image of the starving artistic genius who struggles to achieve fame and dies young.
I have never had any attachment to the image of the starving poet. Hunger is never much of a boost to creativity, Picasso and many of the impressionists were quite wealthy in mid to later life. Rilke had a marvellous sponsor. I used to believe that no great poet lacked the ability to entice someone to support their existence. However, the artistic community needs support and much of it. There must be legitimate easy for creatives to live while working.
What is so wrong with the film and Garfields’ presentation? We have to think of lotteries. A lottery works by paying one person a fortune and taking lots (more) of money from the losers. So for every artists who eventually makes it hundreds struggle for no real return. With the dominance of the neo-liberal paradigm, society may feel no obligation to create a better environment. Success for one justifies the penury of the many.
In the UK, there is an eco-system that encourages creative production which is also under attack. These eco-systems need defending and the underlying message of ‘Tick Tick ..Boom!’ is fundamentally reactionary. If it encourages any young creative to commit to penury in pursuit of fame it should be condemned.
John Milton had it correct. Creativity is ‘that one Talent which is death to hide’. A true artist will produce or seek to produce what he must, not just for fame. Fame for a true artist is such a small matter. For most creatives food and shelter are a legitimate requirement.