Q Magazine

'Art Is the Noble and Necessary Rejoinder to the Sins of the World': Nick Cave Shares Advice With Creatives on His Website

'[T]he space we occupy depends upon our participation and breaks down if we don’t,' Cave wrote.

Source: MAR/Capital Pictures/ MEGA

Nick Cave makes a point in Croyden, September 2021.

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

In recent years, Australian rock icon and author Nick Cave has posted regularly on his website, The Red Hand Files, fielding questions from fans. At times, Cave's oft-philosophical answers have site gotten into heady territory, discussing issues of mortality after the deaths of two of his sons in 2015 and 2022, with one of Cave's particularly insightful epistles shared widely in 2018.

Recently, Cave has drawn attention for his responses to two letters about creative struggles, with reader Tam in Capetown, South Africa writing Cave to say that his "muses have left me," while Dan in Sydney, Australia lamented: "Every time I set foot in my studio, intentions blazing, I crumble with pathetic and flaccid paralysis."

Article continues below advertisement
qnickcavebadseedsall points eastlondon
Source: MEGA

Nick Cave sweats it out at All Points East Festival, London, August 2022.

Never miss a story — sign up for the Q newsletter for the latest music news on all your favorite artists, all in one place.

Article continues below advertisement

Cave responded: "Does an ordinary adult go to work only if they feel in the mood? Do doctors? Do labourers? Do teachers? Do taxi drivers? We are duty-bound to do our job, like everyone else, because the space we occupy depends upon our participation and breaks down if we don’t." He further added, "The idea that you can’t paint because the world is 'made of war and cruelty’'has to be the lamest and most faint-hearted excuse not to work I have ever heard, Dan. How will painting a f***ing picture help? — it will help because art is the noble and necessary rejoinder to the sins of the world."

He also opined at length: "If we are to call ourselves artists then we must avoid the myriad excuses that present themselves and do our job. Yes, the world is sick, and yes it can be cruel, but it would be a whole lot sicker and a whole lot crueler if it were not for painters and filmmakers and songwriters – the beauty-makers – wading through the blood and muck of things, whilst reaching skyward to draw down the very heavens themselves."

Article continues below advertisement
Source: NADYA MURILLO / GDA Photo Service/Newscom/The Mega Agency

Cave onstage in Mexico, 2018.

Cave's recent endeavors have swung in wildly, fantastic directions. From his recent cover of Edith Piaf's "La Vie en rose" for Jack Antonoff's soundtrack for AppleTV+'s drama series The New Look, to composing a score with Warren Ellis for the Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black and producing an adaptation of his 2009 novel for Sky, The Death of Bunny Munro, starring Matt Smith.

His most recent studio album was 2021's Carnage, a collaboration with longtime bandmate Warren Ellis recorded during the Covid lockdowns.

Cave will also be playing live in his native Australia in April and May. Tickets for a limited number of dates are available here.


Subscribe to our newsletter

your info will be used in accordance with our privacy policy

Read More