As artists and creatives, we have a strange burden to wrestle with. The desire to create freely and expressively is the innate driver that propels the work we do. After laboring over a project, having broken through our fear and self-doubt we are justly proud and want to share the work with as many as possible. This is where the problems start. “As man people as possible.” This is such a conditional phrase and left alone can be the very thing that destroys your creative fire.
From time to time we see major artists criticize the music or entertainment industry as cut-throat. It takes people that have a genuine desire to share their message and makes them into polished and pristine shells of who they were. When you ask an artist, before they have ‘made it’ what would make them happy as a career artist they often say things like, “I just want to put a roof over my head and raise a family doing what I love.” I don’t remember hearing many artists say they want a jet or a yacht and a life of luxury.
Once these young artists ‘make it’ into the core of the industry, they become more of a director of product development and less of artist. They work for a company that sells things, the things the company sells are things that resemble art but have been refined and streamlined to be quickly produced, broadly distributed, and highly profitable. The question changes from “How can I create freely and expressively?” to something like “How can I create expressively and make a money?” and for a sad few it becomes, ” How can I make money?”
It may be possible to share a project with every person on this planet, Coca Cola nearly has, Microsoft nearly has. But these are not artists, these are companies. We need to make this distinction clear in our minds. The distinction between organic creation for a community and market driven creation for a customer base must be highlighted. As an artist you may feel that you want as many people as possible to experience your work. But I think what actually going on is a desire to share the experience with as many people as will value it.
As creatives we need to step away from the concept of being famous, fame is incredibly lonely. Acceptance on the other hand is is the most enriching feeling one can have. It is the acknowledgement of our oneness. To be accepted by even a small group is not lonely, but fulfilling. The irony is that the path to acceptance is not very easy, it requires trust, time,appraisal, and validation and can not be streamlined past a certain point. The path to fame conversely, is very easy. It requires only recognition and has nothing to do with appraisal.
The path to fame dilutes integrity of expression and is the direct opponent of acceptance. An industry will sell your product through a company and will make you famous and possibly rich. A community will support you , they will accept you and you will definitely be fulfilled.