When you’re employed in a creative field, be it as a painter, an actor, a writer or even a musician, you face a unique obstacle in career progression – subjectivity. Art is subjective. Back in the 90s, Tracey Emin didn’t make her bed for six months, then she decided it was art and exhibited it at The Tate Gallery. Three years ago, her unmade bed sold for £2.5 million. Seriously, Google it.
When training to become an engineer, it is undoubtedly a challenging process, and yet the results are definitive. If you design a piece of machinery and it works, you’ve succeeded – you are essentially ‘good’ at your job. If you paint or write for a living, and your client doesn’t like what you produce – are you ‘bad’ at your job? What if you showed it to someone else? What if they love it? Are you suddenly a ‘good’ artist? If you asked Tracey Emin to design a piece of art for your hallway, and she turned up with her bed, would you applaud the Turner Prize nominated exhibit, or tell her to fuck off? Probably the latter…
Creativity in any capacity is a challenge – it demands self-expression, to produce in words or images what exists within yourself. To aspire to a creative career is to surrender yourself to subjectivity, to be judged, critiqued and priced. Every rejection will land like a lash, and there is no guarantee your time is coming – but, what if? What keeps you motivated?
Answers on a postcard – or below.