The world beyond art

2011-01-14 08:32

The artist is a fascinating creature who, to a certain extent, must live outside the “normal” world to truly be creative. To rebel against the status quo, stretch the imagination and push boundaries, the artist must, in a way, operate outside the system. Yet it is those within the system who support the artist and enable them to live the lives they lead.

Growing up, I was often reprimanded for trying to “reinvent the wheel”. There are processes already in place that have been developed through an extensive period of ­trial and error by many, and so my attempts to go through those processes of “development” were deemed a waste of time. Was it a waste of time? Yes and no.

It was a waste because my ­conclusions were the same. Had I simply accepted that certain things operate a certain way, I could have gone further down the path and dedicated my youthful exuberance to things of greater importance.

It wasn’t a waste because I gained an understanding of the journey and that experience has served me well in later years.

As I’ve grown older, I have found myself at a strange and wonderfully challenging place. I have learned that sometimes you work within the system, and sometimes you work to change the system.

It is a simple concept. Standing on the other side of the moat, throwing stones at the castle walls can leave you with nothing but sore arms. When that happens, like the Trojans, you find a way to ­enter the castle walls and do battle from within.

I have many friends who are artists, actors, singers, painters, etc. I have, on occasion, dabbled within that world and have, infrequently, considered myself a bit of an artist myself.

Yet, having been given the opportunity to study both ­Economics and Marketing, as well as having worked in various business industries, I am constantly alarmed by how ­artists often view anything not part of their lives as inferior and sad.

An artist will look at someone who sits in traffic and goes to an office all day, every day, and consider them unfortunate and ­less than themselves.

Because they have no understanding of the creativity and even joy one gains from being involved in something you excel at, and are passionate about that isn’t a song or dance – accounting, law, medicine, administration, engineering and the like. They assume that one is doing this simply for money.

And to do anything simply to ­acquire the means of enjoying your life and looking after your family is not right, unless there is this greater artistic ideal to it.

The “corporate” person looks at the artist and believes they live a charmed life. The artist looks at the corporate and thinks they live a depressed life. Yet, there is much to be learned from both sides.

Often it seems we seek to divide in everything we do.

» Baffoe is the editor of Destiny Man

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