I read something today on Seth Godin’s blog that really resonated with me:
“…vemödalen. The fear that you’re doing something that’s already been done before, that everything that can be done has been done.
But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. We’re asking you to step up and take responsibility for the work you do, and to add more value than a mere cut and paste. Give credit, definitely, but reject vemödalen.”
And, yes I do see the irony of cutting and pasting that particular quote here. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Before I left my job, I created art simply for art’s sake. Now, however, the urgency of financial support sometimes supersedes and often rides shotgun with the urgency of creativity. So, I still make art that I am proud of and feel strongly about, but often I have an underlying focus to make sure it is marketable to a general audience.
Am I creating art that is true to me and authentic to my narrative? Surely. Am I thinking of art as a business and considering what might or might not sell? Indeed I am. Can these two things coexist peacefully? Of course they can.
We are all artists in one way or another in our lives. This automagically makes us explorers and adventurers and shamans. We connect people with ideas and concepts and imagery that often makes them feel in visceral ways. This does not preclude us from also being here now and showing things in simple terms that may have been visualized a million times before by a million different artists. So what prevents vemödalen?
Your perspective. Your style. Your brand. Your personality.
You are the fairy dust that allows earth-bound people to imagine a world in which they can fly.