Not long ago acclaimed director Miyazaki Hayao announced his retirement. It was not long after this that I came across someone expressing surprise that Mr. Miyazaki respected also-acclaimed director Anno Hideaki…or anyone, for that matter.
This couldn’t be more wrong.
Mr. Miyazaki stood at the top of his industry, and was widely (and deservedly, I think) considered a master director and artist. It’s easy to assume that he knows of his own fame and skill, and thinks (perhaps even rightfully) that no one else can match him. That no one is as good as him. That he’s the best, forever.
This could not be more wrong.
Artists don’t hate other artists. We – yes, I include myself in this – may not like the result, we may not particularly enjoy the stories they have chosen to tell, but we don’t hate those who create them. It’s too easy to see ourselves in their shoes, because they are the same shoes.
I’m not talking about the blustering blowhards who sometimes manage to put out a book or a movie. They don’t count. I’m talking about true artists, those who create with passion and conviction and make real mistakes that lead to real art. Those who have vision, the will to chase after it, and the kindness to share it with the world.
It comes down to empathy. Mr. Miyazaki knows better than almost anybody else the trials, difficulties, and insecurities that his fellow directors struggle with. How could he possibly hate someone who struggles with and endures everything that he has – and perhaps even more – even if the result doesn’t happen to be as good?
Hate the art, not the artist. Better yet, hate that which impugns upon art, the soulless, money-grubbing, artistically-void tripe that forces good artists onto the sidelines and adds nothing to the world. For true art, feel free to not like it, but don’t hate.
Or do. You can do what you like. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that artists will feel the same.