When I started out as a writer, it was as a lyricist and melody writer. Well, not quite accurate. I wrote and performed my first play when I was in fourth grade and I made $3.00. (10 cents a kid!) I had a couple of English teachers throughout the years who encouraged me to be a writer for a living, but my family hated the idea. How would I survive financially? Of course that is always the question – yawn! But really it is not the statement. The statement is: "Do your art!"
For many years I have interviewed musicians and artists for various San Francisco Bay Area papers as well as a number of online media websites. I've also done CD liner notes as well as theater and concert reviews. The guy whose photo is featured on this page – singer and rhythm guitarist Arlis Tyner – was busking at a downtown San Francisco BART station when I met him and he was and is good. He put out a couple of CDs, one which I wrote some liner notes for back at the end of 2003. I've just added something to those notes, a link to Arlis singing in 2017. That voice of his still sends me and what I am getting at is sometimes real talent comes in under the radar. That doesn't make it any less extraordinary.
As a professional writer, I think of all of this as my roots. I've always loved it. I meet really interesting personalities with serious talent. Some are world famous, some are famous in their communities and circles, and some could be famous, if fame is what they want. But they are all working at it: sculptors, fine artists, novelists, poets, photographers, dancers, theater techies, actors, musicians, singers, composers, clowns, standup comics, and this creative list which also includes inventors, designers and entrepreneurs, goes on and on. Not a one of them is dreaming about doing art. They are actually fully involved in their art with professional credentials. They have multiple gigs, poetry readings, exhibits, strong theater résumés, CDs for sale, book signings, film credits, or sell their wares in shops – and they consistently remind their viewers, listeners, participants and/or readers why the arts are, why creative thinking is, so important to mind, body and soul.
The portraits on this website are about creative professionals.
Jean Bartlett ~ longtime arts and features writer, Pacifica Tribune, San Jose Mercury, Oakland Tribune and now Portraits & Roots, www.bartlettbiographies.com.
Singer and rhythm guitarist Arlis Tyner.