I must have had ½ dozen conversations with musicians, photographers and designers in the last week about artistic soul searching. Perhaps we’re looking for meaning, or overcoming creative block, or simply have too much free time, yet my wager is on the speed of which our cultural environment is changing. We simply can’t keep up so we are gradually choosing an alternative: finding a place to plant our flag.
When asked about including fret tapping in his playing, one of my guitar heroes answered, “I don’t like the sound enough to spend the time necessary to master it”. To help me out, immediately following my question, I watch as he fret tapped a solo only to abandon the sound in seconds. Message received: “I’m willing to try anything but I’ve got to have it inside me if it’s going to have meaning”.
The choices are so vast; the horizon is expanding at such a rate it’s as though we are pioneers racing west to find the most fertile land to which we can lay claim. We can only sprint for so long before every square mile passes in hopes of something better around the corner. At the end of the day, we’re still homeless and looking.
We, the more experienced folks (please accept my generosity), get fooled into thinking our legacy habits are getting in the way of younger seemingly more agile talents. I’ve watched vigilantly with the wisdom that human capacities don’t change all that much; human is human, look for the patterns they’re consistent through history.
Probing for artistic soul can make an agile impression but experience easily keeps pace with enthusiasm by avoiding needless wholesale experimentation. Edginess is commonly a dormant tradition, like 80’s fashion, tweaked then labeled fresh.
What I see is an increasingly large group of creatives probing deeper inside to find what they own; what unique individual value can inform their work. In spite of that, we make comparisons to a growing creative class: we see things, hear things, and witness ideas that shake our confidence.
“I would never have thought of doing that.”
Of course not, because it’s not you; why do you expect any “other” to be something you could have done? Look inside, plant the flag and do what’s authentic.
The boss is the problem; the puzzle to solve, the idea to create, the crowd to excite, or your soul to satisfy. Don’t piss off the boss.
Seth Godin had a great post last week about adding value, avoiding factory work, and staying true to your art:
A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.
Go Here for more: Seth Godin – The Sugar Cane Machine