I'm totally diggin' this lecture on the artist stereotype and artist's responsibility by Sam Andreades at the 2007 IAM Conference. He also makes a strong argument about where artistic genius comes from. It's worth listening to.
"The artist queries the last privacies of our existence and tells us to change our life"
— George Steiner
Cool bits from lecture:
The artist is made to influence others. Artists desire increased exposure and increased influence. The greater the influence, the greater the responsibility. Speaking for those who cannot speak, is taking responsibility for them. Art as a gift of influence, a responsibility to speak truth and change lives.