I don’t know about anyone else, but my road to creative success, even just personally, has been one riddled with the doubts, compromises and all out stop gaps of what I’ve come to label -not affectionately mind you – the “convention panics”.
I’ve never been one to fold or fall easily to the whims of others, generally what people think does not concern me, I just try to live by the philosophy that sees me doing me and connecting to the things and those that I help and who in turn help me to thrive. I would never label myself a trailblazer, I am simply someone living their life as and for just that: their life.
It seems a simple and happy thing to be and do yet how often things on paper look better than their application to real life!
We seem to live in a society that functions on the concept of “normal” something that simply has no actual definition when taking into consideration a group of individuals, but that’s just it the standards of society aren’t based on the individual and therefore is quite skewed and misrepresented.
Still these standards are instilled in us from a young age and one can’t – no matter how independent, open or even tempered – help but feel the pressure. I can’t help but turn my mind to the concept of the “tortured artist” a stereotype that comes from something. How many creatives truly suffered with their creations, with their talents and doing that which was and is so uniquely them? Suffering because they felt isolated because of their creative, different and alien, considered weird or crazy because of how they thought or dared look at things, called bums for what they chose to dedicate their lives to and the pressure of making something of themselves to prove that how they were was not a waste and going truly mad as a result?
Dedication often leading to self destruction.
How often are we made to wonder if what we do and have chosen to dedicate ourselves to is a waste of time, is a worthless investment of time, life, and commitment? We regulate it to the darkness, to a hobby, to something secret we do when we are alone as not to be judge for how we spend our passion. We downplay and down talk our talents because this is not a society that would see us thrive.
Arts are one of the first things on the chopping block when it comes to funding and exposure, they are fringe and something only a certain type tends to touch or be interested in.
Sure there are those who do just dabble, who play with the creative and good for them! Creative is not something that should be regulated to the serious, to the “professional” and “educated”. Creative cannot be taught it must be experienced, felt and expressed to truly be understood.
What I’m really talking about though are those who would choose to make it their life’s work, their times consumption and true focus. Yet how many – myself included – waste some of that precious time worrying as they desperately search for ways to make it fit into a “standard” life. Alongside a real job/career that will pay the bills and support you? That will see you set up in the “real world” and in a “real life”?
It can be a stressful thing to feel so drawn to a path that has no decided path, no standard of practice, no guidelines and no definite. In art, in the creative, their are no standards! There are no real precedents! It is a path one has to follow by heart and through feeling alone. Things that can wear thin against all the opposition of convention that pressure and press in the form of family and friends, in the forms of everyday things be it bills, forms, resumes, or insurance! If you don’t fit into a tiny box that society deems “correct” deems worthy of calling you a “real person” it can leave you feeling isolated and like a dead beat suckling off the fringes of society and the acceptable.
Perhaps I am being dramatic here, but you have to remember I’m a creative myself. Why should we have to be distracted from what we love with shame that we are not good enough, with the fear and doubt that who we are was never meant to be, that we are in fact wasting time and perhaps just wastes of time? Why should we have to start and stop trying to reach a compromise between the creative and the conventional?
Why are we so liner in our ways of thinking and seeing the world? Why can’t we accept talent based on results, on endeavor, on individual?
I am not afraid to work, to work hard and long and intensely, but creative is so often not considered work at all. We say it is but only when one is connected and successful. Creative is okay as long as you are those things but you only become those things when you put in the time, work and commitment when you are not those things!
Still with me?
They say its okay if you do it their way as if creative is something that can be regulated to a degree! Wasn’t it Picasso who said:
“It took me four years to paint like a Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
( And for all you smart asses out there who might come back with “But he also said:”
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can beat them like an artist”
(You know who you are Alex! ;))
Yes, yes he did, but again I don’t agree that the interpretation of that implies standardized learning. One must expand their knowledge, yes. One must learn about the greats, about the differentiating techniques and styles – this goes for all types and forms of creative – in order to expand their own concepts, but not in a regulated one size fits all way. Again creative is best when it can be done with the untainted excitement of a child; when it can be seen, touched, felt, experienced, tried and failed at, so it can be tried again!
In creative individuality is everything! It might have been said before, done before etc but not by you! Therefore it is so important that you keep the you in tact!
That can be hard to do when beaten down by this is how it should be done, this is how it is done, this is how it is kind of world we live in.
Creative is work, creative is real, creative is a lifestyle. Don’t fall to the standards of conventional thinking and living, because in the end you will waste more time distracted by fear then coming alive with the love of what you’re truly passionate about. So stick to it no matter how tough or isolating it might seem because in the end you’d rather be seen for it then forgotten by it.