There are so many of us that have sacrificed the security of routine income, a strong social network, and general financial regularity. Why? Most, will tell you that it is because, they desire a little bit more flexibility. These people don’t want to get caught in the mundane habits of the daily grind. They will tell you they want flexibility in their schedule. And, they will tell you they want freedom.
Freedom does not come without the cost of some isolation. If you want a flexible schedule, the cost will be some flexibility in your pay. Since you don’t have the obligation to go to work at the same time everyday you afford that by having to work when you need to, whenever that is. It may mean staying up 20 hours just to finish client work on a deadline and taking the next 3 days off. This is not uncommon for creatives, the reality is that every one has to work, but creatives see it as a positive to be able to work, when and how they choose.
But even in the work of a creatives we have constraints, the person who writes your check is often the one with final approval over your creative decisions. So there is perhaps, more flexibility in being a freelancer, or entrepreneur but inevitably, there will always be a client, or investor, that you will have to please before the job is considered complete. This is the core difference between being an artist and a creative professional.
In art, your soul responsibility is to be self serving. Before you get picked up by a residency, or sign to a record label, or pitch your solution to a board it is just a feeling or an idea that you need to express. The moments of creation are the most liberated we can be as human beings. No where else can we design a word of melting clocks and swirling desserts like Dali. No where else can we bend and manipulate sounds like Skrillex. No where else is it acceptable to grab and thrust your groin like Micheal Jackson. Art is the only place where you can bend and break all of societies rules with out restraint. Not only is it acceptable but it is necessary. Even technology at its core, can be joined with art. It is creation without limit, invention, innovation, problem solving, and expression. It is in the mind of the creative that the future is born. Art is the product of our soul’s exhale.
When we bring our creations to commerce we add an additional set of parameters. We create a new context for our ideas that can change how we perceive and share them. There is an inherent obligation in commerce to communicate and quantify value. The most basic and simplest is time. How long did this take to create? And from there we begin to layer additional criteria to help us measure the immeasurable. We measure popularity, impact, and recognition all to attribute a value to something that it does not inherently hold.
A work of art as it is completed is priceless not only because it is unique but because it is still free from all context except the mind of its creator. If the artist perceives it to be perfect, it is perfect. If the artist perceives it to be flawed it is flawed. And when we bring that second set of eyes we begin to see its value change as it is amplified by those that agree with the artist or those that do not. As creatives, we subject ourselves and our art to this value system by sharing it. We release it to be judged, bargained for, qualified, and in some cases reproduced. This is the choice we make just as we have made the choice to live a flexible lifestyle.
It can be important in this way to keep some work, that is not brought to commerce. So that we can be reminded of why we create and how it feels to do so with out any other intent but expression. Within this expression is an exploration of our true selves and identity, what we find, can be unsettling or even a little scary. But it is a risk we must take to truly know ourselves in a full way and holding to tight to safety is the same as holding your breath. We should be careful with our work as creatives just as are cautious with our liberty, to not over extend it to a place where we are confined by the context in which it is presented.
Art is a place for freedom.