Warning:Deep thoughts by Sarah Jane...nothing too funny or catchy today. Just thinking outloud:
So, if you know me well, you'll know I'm a thinker. I'd like to consider myself a thinker and a doer, but I come from a family of great minds. I think about my place in this universe, and why I do what I do. From mothering to house hold chores, I am the kind of person who thinks about the purpose behind most of what I do! To me, everything fits together in a perfect eternal dance. Boring? Maybe. But it's how I tick.
Which is why I'm sharing this Picture Book Proclamation that has been circling the WWW. It's been food for thought. This idea of originality, creativity and innovation on the platform of business: i.e. the platform that shares your art with the world.
While I'm not stirring up the same argument they are, which I think is a good one, I've been reading this over, and thinking a lot of innovation and creation in business in general. Originally, I created a business from the need to earn a pay check. But after a while (a very SHORT while) that motive didn't last. It's too hard. It's too stressful. You have to do it because you are fulfilled by creating something original and beautiful. At least for me.
I've been asking the question "Why does the world need more art? Why do we need more stories? Isn't there enough already? I mean, we could have capped it at Monet and Victor Hugo, right?"
I haven't been asking this in regards to me personally, cause I know I have art I HAVE to share. And I know creatives will always need to express their own story. But why do we share it? Is it for the artist's need to express? Or do we create for a better world? And why does the world need your piece of it?
It's an interesting thought. And while I'm talking about the WHO we create for and WHY, it leads me to the topic of BUSINESS and the space that is available for work. This economy is hard. It's tough. And while we need to create in order to express ourselves, ultimately someone needs to buy it. And sometimes, that can conflict with the values for the WHY we create. If it's for making a better world, how do we do that with limited space available to us?
I personally believe there is space for everyone, and I have often said in conferences I've spoken at that "There are enough walls in the world for everyone's art." But while that is true, it's an interesting concept to consider: Why DO you create? Really? Why are you motivated to share your art and creativity with the world? When you know that answer, and REALLY know it, possibilities are endless.
And in regards to that inner answer you come to, this proclamation, while geared at children's books, reaffirms the idea that while jobs are limited, and often tell us what we need to create to get the job done, it's ultimately the job of the creator to know what it is they were meant to create. When those two things go hand in hand, it's a very powerful and beautiful thing. The job of the artist is a tricky one. Often we are compelled to create based on how we see the world, and not everyone sees things that same way. And when you are trying to earn a living, producing something that just a few people resonate with can make it hard to put food on the table. Yet, to create something that doesn't resonate with you, often leads to mediocrity.
I'm not producing answers today...I only post the questions. It's good to ask those questions, and revisit them from time to time. I have a lot of answers...my own personal answers...and I am sure you have your own as well. In a world of overstimulated outward awareness every where you go (you can't get on the internet without seeing someone else's creative idea at every turn) it's so important to know why YOU create. And while the topic of staying original and innovative is with the picture book industry, I think we could safely say it's a topic that could be had with any creative industry today: Making what you think people want to see and what ultimately "sells" vs. making what you are motivated to share, all in the midst of a challenging economy.
I personally believe that when you know the reason why you are motivated to create in the first place, there is no paradox.
Sorry for the long post today. The truth is, I'm supposed to be packing for a long trip, and quite frankly, I hate packing. And so I guess you could now safely say I'm a thinker and procrastinator!