The artist struggles through the world based on a differing value system which, in many ways, may be under-appreciated in mainstream society. Those who go to college and study a field in the arts – be writing, acting, or painting – are taught passionately about craft, and nothing about the business aspect of it.
In the classroom, the whole craft process of a project is important. Take creative writing, for example. All of parts of the storytelling craft are important. Story structure is important, as well as plot and setting, and of course, Point of View. In art classes such as painting or drawing, students are taught colors which can denote certain emotions, and they are also taught differing line structures. Also, in painting, the subject matter is important. There is usually some emotional intention behind the piece as well.
Anyone who takes art classes will likely hear, ‘Practice the craft.’ Practice becomes essential. The value to the artist is in this process. Revising and making their work as polished as possible is important. The beginning is as important as the end. How they begin to paint, what colors they choose. When actors rehearse, it is the process of rehearsing that becomes important. Actors learn how their characters relate to each other through this essential process.
What makes the corporate world different? Companies tend to think Skills and Credentials. Everything is about what skills you have, that can help the company. Credentials is even a better word to describe what they are after. Many employees understand this, and build their credentials to move up the ladder.
The reason why artists struggle is because of the value in contemporary society itself. Value is essential and, in this case, the difference is worlds apart. The Value between the concepts of craft and credential becomes readily apparent.
Another way of looking at it is Process vs. End Result. Companies tend to think statistics. Artists revel in the process itself; when a writer shares their story it is about the whole story. How the main character was in the beginning of the journey may not matter as much as the main character’s growth. There is an appreciation for the entire story. Not just the ending. Companies may be interested in the process itself, but they usually believe there must be some measured end result.
Why is this important: Companies usually sign checks and pay people. Individual artists do not. Places that value craft are far fewer than the places that value credentials. An artist may struggle because what they value may have no value to those around. And their internal way of thinking does not translate to the external world.
So artists usually have two options.
Some artist move to places where craft is valued. Hollywood is a place that believes in storytelling. Actors, scriptwriters and other creative types flock there because there is a chance that their creative work will be recognized.
Artists also can move to other places like Berkeley or Greenwich village. However, they must fight through the line of other artists who go there to live their creative dream. It can be a tough road but some do accomplish their mission and start making a living, without compromising their artistic integrity.
Other solutions may require some rethinking.
Some may call this selling out. This is not necessary true, for the artist should determine their own reasons. Some have commercial intentions that fit their artistic goals, and the subject matter they want to explore has universally relatable themes. So another solution is that artists turn their creativity into a skill that companies see value in.
They begin to think that their creativity is a skill. Writing ability is a skill. Everything they do is a skill and or aforementioned credential. Credentials become an important way to sell their artistry. As stated before, but cannot be overemphasized, most companies need to see it as a skill that can help them .
What is the purpose of your art?
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