Report of our EXpedition

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why is it so hard for creative people to succeed?

I ask this question, after I've seen so many creative people struggling, and I dare say suffering, in order to to fulfill their creative dreams. Suffering, although a harsh word, describes a daily ritual to to maintain a roof over your head, eat, pay for transportation, pay bills, hopefully sleep, and finally find the resources and time to work on their creative craft.

These are not hobbies for which someone might do to consume their free time. Most of the creative endeavors that these individuals pursue, have required years of training, education, and tremendous financial resources. The time, effort, and talent put into creative work is no less than that which a doctor, lawyer, engineer or any other professional has put into their careers. But creative people do not garner the direct admiration and praise for their struggles.

Just imagine hearing we love your work but we don't have anything for you, come back with something new, or your style doesn't fit, only to have to go to work at a clothing store, restaurant or bookstore in order to make ends meet. I know that there are those who would say that it is your fault for choosing such an unstable profession. It's your fault for not going into a field with a good salary.

To be honest, creative people could have just graduated high school and gotten a basic job for thirty years. Creative people could have gotten training in construction, became plummers or electricians. Creative people could have majored in law, medicine or engineering in college. Creative people have the same multitude of career choices as all people, but chose to do something that not only moves themselves, but enhances and even enlightens the lives of others.

Without creative people we wouldn't have films like Wall-E, Star Wars, or 2001. Without creative people there would be no To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, or Watership Down. Without creative people there would not be a Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, or Harlem Boys Choir. Without creative people there would not be an Alvin Ailey Dance Company or New York City Ballet. We would not know people like Picasso, Miles Davis, Mozart, Frank Lloyd Wright and many others. Creative people design the cars we drive, the homes we live in, and the chairs we sit on. Creative people make the games that we play and the movies we watch. Creative people are responsible for the clothes we wear and even the containers for our food.

Creative people are responsible for the look, sound, taste, and feel of most things that surround an make-up our lives.

So why aren't creative people given the respect and oportunity to make a living enriching everyone's lives?

This question is open to everyone.


Anonymous said...

Provocative piece. Maybe when more people provoke this kind of thought. Maybe when someone makes a film from my screenplay about what happens when all the creativity is sucked out of the world due to misconceived thoughts and misdirected actions, some of this could turn around.

What struck me this a.m. before I read your piece, however, was that what we so often continue to do is to focus on the problem(s) instead of the solutions.

Creative process is about solutions--new and unusual ones--that sometimes take years. Art, music, dancing, entertainment of any kind makes us feel good - inspired - joyful. Let's keep directing our creativity toward such wondrous solutions, toward the infinite possibility with which our arts reward us, and we will find new approaches, and maybe sooner rather than later, we will learn how to co-create a brand new world of wonder.

Focus on what you know you want and go for it, discover it and how to get it.

The Artists also known as The Artists said...

I agree with you Melanie creativity in many cases is about finding a solution. You are indeed correct we must persevere on to create our own paths.
Unfortunately our society prescribes to fixed forms or commercialized "things". We as people like familiarity. Marketing people don't seem to look for what's original but what looks like the original. "Boy this movie looks like the matrix!" or "Man this looks like Japanese Animation!". 3D animation became hot ever since Pixar stepped on the scene as if that's the secret to their success. Other 3D animated movies tell us that's definietly not the case. So yes it does become difficult for the artist to find a job if they are not fitting into the styles that supposedly make money or what is hot for the moment (FADs). The artists that have the "Courage" to create are those that will break molds and create new ones. It's not about jumping on the bandwagons that are already there it's about creating a new bandwagon that everyone wants to jump on.

The Artifact said...

I agree with both of you on all points. The situation, at least here in America, is simply about making a profit. Whether it's within the arts or in any other field, the bottom line is how much money can be made, without regard for the welfare of those who are a part of that profession.

It just amazes me how governments and private entities in Europe and in Canada, pay people simply to create films, artwork, writings, dances, etc. I know that all artists aren't being financed in these nations, but at least a sorted effort and respect is given to the welfare of those with creative talent.

The point here in America is to convince the masses of the importance of those with creative talent.


I think that creative types do get labeled as the ones who have no solid goals or careers. It's simply not enough to be an artist anymore. Most employers don't seem to understand that us creative types need day jobs while pursuing our art. It's difficult to get a better paying job without a history in a particular industry. In that case, we might have to start off at the bottom and work our way up. With that said, I think that we need to continue making, living, breathing and exploring our art regardless of what others think or assume. It's something that no one can take away from us. You can tell when an artist is passionate about his/her work. If we want to appeal to others, we might have to adapt and be more open about our work, while maintaining some individuality in creative expression. Get your name out there. Network, network, network. A lot of it is who you know. It will happen if you want it badly enough and work towards it.