Artists death’s should not be glamorized, appreciate them when living


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Miller passed away on Sept. 7 of this year.

Kelly Salinas, Designer

Kurt Cobain. Selena. Amy Winehouse. Artists known for being gone far too soon, their personas living in the prospect of what could’ve been. It is this wonder and mystery that allows artists to rise from famous to iconic.

Their legacy is romanticized, painted as a tragedy that deprived us from experiencing the art that was never delivered. The sensationalism of lost artists is less about the artists than it is about the craving of things we can’t have, a greed brewed with self pity.

Don’t get me wrong- icons become icons for a reason. The incredible work and ideas of these artists must have an importance if they continue on. It is a shame, however, that art is only recognized when tragedy is paired with it.

I’d never dismiss someone’s love for an artist because connection to an art form is a pure, beautiful thing. I find it important, however, to acknowledge that if part of the connection is rooted in the death of the artist, it is doing a disservice to the art. The artist gaining traction after their death can be normal, but the reasons behind the phenomenon are a little insulting.

Some people outright associate the artist with their death, lamenting over how incredibly gutted they are that they will never see Nirvana live, or how Lil Peep couldn’t release more music- valid, but shallow.

Why demand more? Why not appreciate the art for what it is, finding deeper analysis within the confines of what was already created. Greed supersedes legitimate appreciation of art- wanting more and more without considering the source. Stop the pretentious entitlement.

The artist is dead, yes, but the legacy lives on, their creations a gravestone marking a certain genius. Imagine producing work so incredible that it transcended the lifetime of its creator. The work should be appreciated as a stand alone entity, not an excuse to whine about how there could have been more. To be frank: stop whining about how you miss an artist and appreciate the joy they brought within their life.

The sadness of loss should not go unnoticed- there is no shame in feeling upset that an artist died, and feeling like a small part of yourself was lost as well. We identify with the art we enjoy. But just as the art stands alone from the artist, the artist stands alone from their death.

Moving on from tragedy helps us appreciate not only the artist, but the art itself, pulling the life and thoughts of the artist from behind the shadows of what could have been. When we stop focusing on death, we find beauty in what happened in the artist’s life- their formative thoughts and creations and how they transcend to modern times.

Death is not a character trait, nor is it an adjective to describe art. It is a natural occurrence, nothing out of the ordinary. Art should exist outside the ordinary, and not be pinned by the death of the artist.

Below is a playlist of artists whose art you can appreciate even after their passing.