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Why John Lennon hated being an Artist

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John Lennon didn’t stay on Earth for long, but he left an everlasting impression on millions of people around the world with his soul-touching music. His art not only helped him express himself and his love for peace, but it also revolutionized music for all times to come. But, one of the greatest artists ever to be born actually hated being an artist himself. That’s true, John Lennon detested being an artist.

The Beatles saw unprecedented success and fame that had never been seen or has ever been seen ever since. But, such popularity has its own pitfalls. And those pitfalls were something John Lennon could never come into terms with. As part of the fab four, he couldn’t run away from that attention that came with fame. But, as soon as the band split, he got his chance to finally escape that attention. What brought Lennon down was the weight of expectations that rested on his shoulder as an artist towards his audience.

The pressure that came with fame was too much for John Lennon

Why John Lennon hated being an Artist
Wikimedia Commons

His fans just never wanted to be starved of his incredible music. And though it’s great for the fans, creating such intimate art in such huge amounts takes its toll on any person. Apart from John Lennon’s unquestionable talent, he also had an incredible work ethic that allowed him to roll out song after song for years. And the songs in which he didn’t pour out his heart and soul were mostly quite forgettable. But, so much hard work and creativity did not come easy to the troubled Beatle. While talking to the Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, he said he would never have become an artist if he knew any other trait, saying:

If I could be a f**kin’ fisherman I would. If I had the capabilities of being something other than I am, I would. It’s no fun being an artist. You know what it’s like, writing, it’s torture. I read about Van Gogh, Beethoven, any of the fuckers. If they had psychiatrists, we wouldn’t have had Gauguin’s great pictures. These b*stards are just sucking us to death; that’s about all that we can do, is do it like circus animals.

He felt that fans didn’t see him as a human

This shows the amount of pressure that was on John Lennon to constantly produce magic after magic. And it took its toll on him. He felt as if fans viewed him as a commodity rather than a human being, saying:

I resent being an artist, in that respect, I resent performing for f**king idiots who don’t know anything. They can’t feel. I’m the one that’s feeling because I’m the one that is expressing. They live vicariously through me and other artists, and we are the ones even with the boxers— when Oscar comes in the ring, they’re booing the shit out of him, he only hits Clay once and they’re all cheering him. I’d sooner be in the audience, really, but I’m not capable of it.

He hated being an artist and would have preferred being a fisherman

Lennon further emphasized his love for fishing rather than art, saying:

One of my big things is that I wish to be a fisherman. I know it sounds silly— and I’d sooner be rich than poor, and all the rest of that shit— but I wish the pain was ignorance or bliss or something. If you don’t know, man, then there’s no pain; that’s how I express it.

This shows the discomfort Lennon felt against the music industry and the fame and success that comes along with it. But, when he left that world for a short while, became a family man, and focused on Yoko and Sean, that was when Lennon was happiest. The riches that came with John Lennon’s music helped him a lot, but all that was snatched away from him too soon.

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