[Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona]

Imagine a world where only a select few are allowed to live creative lives, unapologetically. Conversely, I see it too often in the real world; fellow creatives, disheartened by the lack of ‘success’. As each year passes, these ‘creatives’ drop like flies. And if you’ve been around the traps like I have, you’ll see waves of barren-wastelands where only a few of us remain.

Where did everyone go? Were they even genuinely creative to begin with? Surely, creativity is a journey, not a destination. It seems as though too many people see themselves as failures.

It may be largely due to how we define success. Not just creative success, but success in general. Why do you think people give up? Well, usually when they fail to see results, when their expectations aren’t met.

How many times in life have you decided to pursue something else because the thing you were working on, didn’t work out? Could it be, that having #goals is actually a fool’s errand?

Being handsomely paid to be creative seems like such a far out dream to most. Why does it seem as though this doesn’t apply to other disciplines and industries? Why creativity? Why are we living in a world where an artist is expected to be more than just a creative human being? And anything less than that, they’re often seen as unproductive and/or inferior.

Imagine for a moment, what it would look like if money wasn’t an object and everyone who decided, were able to live creative lives; creating things for others to consume.

I’ve got an idea of what that’d look like.

I’m seeing a sustainable future. The more creative artisans we have across the board, the more suppliers we have to meet existing and growing demand. We would no longer have a handful of organisations monopolising creative industries. And you’ll still be rewarded accordingly, should you create a product or service that outperforms the rest.

For example, if you made the best artisanal knives, your product would be desired in kitchens the world over. You’d be inundated with orders. You may have to intro manufacturing investors to supply the demand, even if it meant diluting the original, one-guy-hand-made process. You might shut competition down and end up being the majority supplier of artisanal (if you could still call it that) knives in the world.

Sound familiar?

At first glance you’d think there’s no way to escape capitalist growth. I guess… not everybody creates, and there are those who seek to benefit off creativity. Those who aren’t creative, but have that cash money. So they invest in creativity in order to seek a return on their investment, and make more money.

Still sound familiar?

This is where it gets shit. The moment we include others, whose purpose isn’t and was never about the act of creating, we shoot ourselves by shifting the goalposts of what it means to ‘make it’.

Just moments ago we envisaged a great sustainable society that trades with one another, most probably within their immediate vicinity, and almost every artist worth their weight in practice would earn an honest income. You’ll have no trouble finding a musician or a furniture designer in your city or town. Then in almost a blink of an eye, all it took was the promise of fame and fortune to virtually ruin the economic landscape of self-sufficient creativity for everyone.

We’ve seen policy being used to favour certain industries, yet nobody bats an eyelid when it comes to nurturing grassroots creativity; the very essence that fertilises the mainstream. Some may argue that stimulated growth encourages innovation through competitive markets. What they’re really saying is, growth through competitive investing. Major labels don’t want your creativity, because it threatens the foundations it was built on.

You know what else breeds innovation? Community and collaboration. And we’re seeing that manifest in online communities. Soundcloud being one for musicians and producers. Come to think of it, what’s one of the first things you notice about Soundcloud and the abundance of amazing music and artists just waiting to be discovered?

None of them are getting paid.

—————————
Written by Night Palms of BNE producer collective SHOKU